The Design Questionnaire with Giusi Mastro of ORA studio NYC

ora studio by giusi mastro living room long island luxury interior design

In this edition of Love Happens’ Proust-style Design Questionnaire, join us for a peek inside the creative design mind of Giusi Mastro founder of the full-service architectural and design firm ORA studio NYC. Merging harmony, timelessness, and functionality, Giusi Mastro’s designs are informed by her Italian roots and defined by attention to detail from planning to completion.

Giusi Mastro, Founder of Ora Studio NYC
Giusi Mastro, Founder of ORA studio NYC (Photo by Yvonne Allaway)

Giusi Mastro, Boldidismo, and ORA studio NYC

Born in Southern Italy into a family of ceramists and artists, Giusi Mastro earned a degree in Architecture from the University of Florence. She began her career teaching Interior Architecture while simultaneously working as a lighting designer at Targetti and founding Giusi Mastro Architecture. During this time in the late 1980s, a magical time for Italian Design, she became one of the founding members of the Bolidismo. This movement was born from the desire to incorporate the feeling of movement inside design to emphasize the dynamism of organic forms. In short, Bolidismo embodies the concept of electronic action, speed, and light from the fascination of Futurism and the American streamline.

In 1995 Giusi moved to NYC where she worked as a senior designer at Sanba Design + Development. Then in 2001, she founded ORA studio NYC. Today her firm specializes in contemporary high-end interiors, space planning, lighting, design, and product design for residential, commercial, and hospitality projects. Known for her impeccable taste and equally matched technical knowledge, Giusi’s work has been exhibited and collected by galleries and museums around the world. In addition, her keen awareness of the ever-changing lifestyles of her discerning clientele places her at the forefront of what is NOW, ORA studio’s namesake.

ora studio nyc sutton place south staircase hallway photo richard cadan
Design by ORA studio NYC (Photo by Richard Cadan)

Now for a Peek Inside the Fabulous and Inspiring Mind of Giusi Mastro with the Lh Design Questionnaire

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

For me, happiness is the sum of many happy moments that create an overall state of happiness in life. I believe that more than achieving happiness, it is about the pursuit of harmony and balance. Things that are joyful to me are golfing, getting lost in the labyrinth of art in a museum, or walking on a wintry beach.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

To become an Architect at a time when the Architectural world was a male-dominated field. In the process of becoming an Architect, learning that the only way to pursue your vision is to establish your own firm that allows you to create freely without boundaries or restrictions.

ora studio nyc by giusi mastro kitchen and living room lexington avenue photo richard cadan
Design by ORA studio NYC (Photo by Richard Cadan)

What profession does your alter ego have?

My alter ego would be an archaeologist. I love discovering the history and past civilizations where you many find everything that can ignite your creativity.

The project you will never forget.

Every project is special as every client is unique. I love all my projects, but in the end, the most memorable ones are the projects where my clients and I have a constructive, shared experience working together. Our Grand Residence project in Long Island is a beautiful example of this. A satisfied client and a truly majestic property—embodying the balance between the classical Architecture and contemporary interiors that the client had always dreamed of—is the grand finale to a wonderful production.

Your favorite business tool or resource.

There are many tools out there to streamline an Architect’s work. For me, the most resourceful one is visiting showrooms with luxury materials and high-end craftsmanship. I am attracted to art galleries, such as Milano Salone del Mobile (Milan Furniture Fair) and contemporary shows. These places allow me to see, touch, and feel colors, shapes, lines, textures, and the intangible, to stay up to date with contemporary design.

Social media is an interesting medium for artists and creative professionals to display their work, and it contributes to educating the masses; but often when a client finds images on Pinterest or Instagram, they believe it will work in the same way in their space; however, that couch, color, or kitchen island, may not physically fit in their space.

The most timeless design.

Any design that can remain relevant at any period.

timeless living room Design by Ora Studio NYC by giusi mastro
Design by ORA studio NYC (Photo by Richard Cadan)

The biggest design faux pas.

Too many ideas in one space. Or a design that is not functional, useful. Or an overload of elements that are trendy at the moment.

Your design motto.

To make my clients dream beyond their expectations and create a space that is harmonious, serene, and intimate.

blue couches ora studio nyc living room
Design by ORA studio NYC (Photo by Richard Cadan)

If you were to design a room around one KOKET piece, which would it be, and why?

It would be the Gold Heive Armoire. Even though the armoire is rich and bold in material, the design is minimal in shape. Further, it creates an interesting balance with something classic like gold and clean lines of minimal design. This is what I strive to do when I create Interior Architecture. To create environments that are contemporary with the needs and wants of the present. Also, including materials and details that are a nod to the classics. This product is an honest product for me that can easily be integrated into a classic environment or an extremely modern one.

heive armoire koket gold cabinet luxury furniture

Love happens when…

You love and accept yourself.

Explore more beautiful work by ORA studio NYC by Giusi Mastro at

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