Meet Ignacio Pistone, founder and creative director behind the esteemed brand ADHOC. With a mission dedicated to fostering cultural connections between Argentina and Australia, ADHOC achieves this through their ethically sourced and carefully curated collection of art, fashion, ceramics, rugs and homewares. Affectionately known as Iggy, he possesses not only remarkable creativity but also an extraordinary charm that leaves a lasting impression on all who meet him. We are thrilled and honoured to have the opportunity to share his profoundly inspiring story with you.
Could you share with us a little bit about your upbringing in Argentina?
My roots are in Argentina, and I come from a big family of mainly Italian and a little bit of Spanish descent as well. I grew up surrounded by a large number of cousins, aunties, and uncles, always immersed in the warm embrace of our close-knit community.
Being the youngest of 5 in my family, I was lucky to grow up in an environment brimming with creativity. My mother and sister were constantly engaged in making something new, whether it was sewing and knitting beautiful creations or concocting delicious meals in the kitchen. Weekends were always packed with exciting activities, such as my sister's entrepreneurial ventures of selling baked goods, where I played the role of the delivery boy, earning a small commission from our kind neighbours. As time went on, we ventured into small seasonal businesses, selling knitted scarves or handmade towels crafted by my talented mother – the projects never seemed to end, and the sense of fulfilment and accomplishment was unparalleled.
Observing my family's creative endeavours, I quickly discovered that I, too, possessed a deep love for the design process and a keen interest in the business side of things. It was evident to me from a young age that I had a calling in the realm of creativity.
As the years passed, I pursued my passion and ultimately became an architect. For the past 10 years, this career path has been the cornerstone of my life, filling it with immense satisfaction and purpose. Designing and shaping spaces that harmoniously blend functionality and aesthetics has become more than just a profession; it's a true vocation that continues to ignite my passion every day.
What led you to move to Australia and make it your home?
Australia, believe it or not, was never in my plans. After graduating, I spent some time in the US, where I interned as a junior architect. However, I quickly realised that obtaining working rights at the time was rather impossible and expensive.
Consequently, I returned to Argentina and began exploring other avenues. For a year, I pursued a scholarship to study a postmaster's degree in London, going through several stages and feeling optimistic about my chances. During this time, I made the decision to plan my next move. I quit my job, packed away all my belongings, and embarked on a journey to travel around Southeast Asia for a couple of months.
Somewhere amidst this adventure, I received the disappointing news that I was not selected for the scholarship. It was a tough moment, but fate had other plans. While staying at a hostel in the Philippines, someone suggested considering Australia as an alternative.
When I arrived in this beautiful country, I was immediately impressed by the abundance of opportunities it offered. Something about Australia's charm and allure settled the matter for me. Remarkably, within just two weeks of my arrival, I secured a job as an architect—an opportunity that seemed almost too good to be true.
The serendipitous turn of events led me to Australia, and I have never looked back since. The dynamic professional landscape and the warm welcome I received exceeded my expectations. Australia has become my home, a place of growth, both personally and professionally, and it has provided me with the chance to flourish in ways I could not have foreseen.
We'd love to hear about the creative process behind ADHOC…
My creative process with adhoc is not different from my creative process as an architect. I love nurturing my creativity, and I'm constantly researching and seeking inspiration from various sources. Wherever I go, I observe my surroundings keenly, capturing moments that catch my eye through pictures or notes. I'm drawn to names, colour combinations, fabric designs and patterns, fashion, interior design, architecture details, music, film, and television – all of which fuel my creative endeavors.
Creativity, in my view, permeates everything around me. When it comes to adhoc, a particular challenge I encountered was blending my Argentinian traditions with the laid-back and beachy Australian lifestyle. That served as the starting point of my creative journey.
I found inspiration in the vibrant colours of the mountains and landscapes of northern Argentina, where I grew up. Translating those captivating colours into palettes and combinations, I delved into extensive research to find skilled artisans capable of bringing my vision to life. This process took nearly a year, and I can proudly say that I now have an impressive team supporting me. Yet, the creative journey doesn't end there – it continues to evolve and grow, leading to the development of different products that will soon see the light of day.
In what ways did you approach the making process differently from local weavers, and how did they embrace this new challenge?
I approached them with the idea of bringing our cultural heritage to Australia, but I knew it needed adaptation. The traditional techniques applied to my products mostly involved wool, which wouldn't be suitable for the Australian climate. The challenge, then, was to recreate these techniques using cotton instead. When I presented this concept to them, they eagerly embraced the opportunity to embark on this journey of adaptation. They were thrilled to take on the challenge.
To make this idea a reality, they had to reengineer all their looms, and we went through several sample tests until we achieved the desired results.
This particular phase of the process proved to be incredibly fulfilling for both parties. Personally, I was elated to have conceived something entirely new that didn't exist before, and they, in turn, relished the opportunity to create this innovative product, which they absolutely nailed.
What sets our collaboration apart is the equal partnership and mutual respect we share. It's this spirit of collaboration that contributes to the exceptional quality of our product.
What exciting developments or projects can we expect from ADHOC in the future?
In addition to the collection of cotton throw blankets, beach towels, and cushions, we now have a small collection of wool cushions that complement the other products beautifully.
During the design and sampling phase, we are also producing handwoven wool rugs that will be available in the next couple of months.
Furthermore, we have a few ceramic pieces, art prints, and fashion accessories coming up. And for the summer, we will be launching additional fashion accessories to complement the beach towels.
How would you describe your personal home aesthetic?
I think you can see all the elements that define my life in my home. The modern and minimal approach that I apply to the architecture I design is reflected in the furniture, which has a classic, minimal, and functional style. Living in Bondi Beach, my love for the ocean is evident, and I strive to create a beachy, relaxed aesthetic. Additionally, I make an effort to incorporate pieces of my culture, such as wool cushions and rugs, landscape prints, and ceramic pieces. Each item holds its own meaning and purpose.
Could you share some stories about your most cherished pieces in your home?
I have traveled on many occasions with some meaningful pieces that add meaning to my home away from home. For instance, A set of cups I acquired from the Guggenheim Museum in NYC, and though I worried about their fragility, I carefully carried some handmade ceramic vases that almost consumed all the space in my carry-on. These items hold sentimental value, reminding me of cherished memories and the places I've explored.
Additionally, there's a large painting from an artist friend that endured a 20-hour journey rolled up between my legs on my return from Argentina. The effort was well worth it, as the artwork adds a personal touch to my bedroom and obviously reminds me of my friend.
A prominent print capturing a beautiful sunset at Bondi Beach, taken by a close friend, proudly adorns my living room. This piece brings the beauty of nature into my home, and it's a tribute to cherished moments shared with loved ones.
Among these treasures is also a knitted blanket lovingly crafted by my mum years ago. This handmade blanket, filled with warmth and love, holds a special place in my heart, symbolizing the bond between family and the comfort of home.
These items, while they may not hold significant financial value, possess immense emotional worth to me. They infuse my living space with a sense of personal history.
What does the concept of "home" mean to you?
A quote by the Dalai Lama comes to mind for this “Wherever you have friends that’s your country, and wherever you receive love, that’s your home.”