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She Believes in Beauty

Maddalena Fanconi lives to magnify nature’s splendor through her extraordinary surface design and wide-ranging expertise in decorative restoration.

Maddalena Fanconi sees every surface through an artist’s lens: as a blank canvas. An award-winning decorative artist and restoration specialist, she culls inspiration from a lifelong affinity with natural world elements to deftly transform walls, ceilings, floors, furniture and other decor surfaces into uncommon works of art. 

It’s in her DNA

Born in Milano, Maddalena was reared in a family of fine craftspeople. Her mother enjoyed creating exquisite needlework, including crochet curtains and table linens that were in Maddalena’s words “worthy of Buckingham Palace”. A beloved aunt worked as a seamstress to high-end Italian ready-to-wear labels Manuel Facchini and Luisa Beccaria, among others. Just recently, she discovered that even her great-great grandparents did decorative painting for local theaters in Italy. Maddalena would begin her own love affair with design before she was a teenager.  She excelled in art and architecture classes in high school and went on to earn an undergraduate degree in decorative painting as well as a master’s degree in interior design. For a time, she taught art and lectured at The Academy of Fine Arts Santa Giulia in Brescia in northern Italy, where she trained aspiring professionals in the use and application of various architectural coatings. The intrepid artisan has been featured in several solo and collective fine art exhibitions throughout Europe and regularly travels the world lending her expertise to many large-scale construction and restoration projects.

FARROW & BALL - Handpainted geometric motif on wood floor for Farrow & Ball showroom in Milano, Italy

Maddalena sought to further hone her skills and sate her passion for discovery with a move to New York in 2016. Practically overnight, she became a highly sought-after talent among leading interior designers, architects and design brands across the country, known for bringing to life ingenious patterns and textures on virtually any decorative surface. Notable feats include painting a bold geometric floor for a Farrow & Ball flagship; fashioning a stunningly realistic “lace” border on a parquet floor in a modern duplex; creating vibrant wall murals for an auditorium at the American Red Cross headquarters in Washington, D.C. and even helming the effort to restore the vaulted ceilings of the New York Public Library.

NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY - Detail of gilding restoration on vaulted ceiling of historic New York Public Library, NYC

LOUIS VUITTON, COSTA MESA, CA - Handmade textured wallcoverings for the South Coast Plaza outpost for the luxury brand

In 2018, she was called upon to lead a team of artists in refurbishing the dome at the historic Vermont State House in Montpelier - a processed that would ultimately require nearly a quarter of a million dollars in gold leaf! That same year, she was also tapped to help shape the Mediterranean-inspired interiors of Estiatoro Milos, a fine Greek restaurant at Hudson Yards, the ambitious new luxury residential/commercial enclave on New York City’s west side. In 2017, she traveled to South Florida to oversee the hand-painting of the two hundred columns surrounding the famed Le Palais Royal Mansion (now Chateau de Honu), one of the priciest properties ever sold in the U.S.  For her most recently completed project at the Louis Vuitton boutique at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, CA, Maddalena was commissioned to produce handcrafted textured wallcoverings inspired by the tawny shades of a sandy beach.

From creation to preservation, nature inspires her technique.

CHATEAU DE HONU - View within the colonnade at Château de Honu showing detail of handpainted columns

From creation to preservation, nature inspires her technique.

With her namesake studio now based in South Florida, Maddalena continues to travel when and wherever creative opportunity beckons. Her approach typically involves exploring a wide range of materials that add both visual and tactile interest. Says the artist: “Texture is the unsung hero of successful interior design. Whether natural or artificial in origin, to me they are a source of limitless inspiration for a variety of applications - from textiles and furnishings to solid surfaces like walls and floors.” Stone, tree bark and shells are some of her favorite earthly textures. Through the years, her technique has seen an evolution from classic frescos, gilding, patinas and trompe l’oeil effects to creating seamless, monolithic coatings made from Italian stucco, stone and even metal components. The digital age has even further broadened the design possibilities, where-in large wall panels and other architectural elements can be created in her studio and shipped virtually anywhere for on-site assembly and installation.

“GROTESQUE” HANDPAINTED PANEL - Detail of painted renaissance grotesque on canvas for private residence in Palm Beach, FL.

She’s at it again - historic restoration in Jacksonville.

As of this writing, the Maddalena is busy leading a crew of painters in the next phase in a major restoration at Jacksonville’s landmark Florida Theatre.  There, they are using the original color palette from 1927 as a guide to repaint the walls, ceilings and proscenium ornamentation as part of the theatre’s Centennial Campaign - an ongoing renovation set to be completed in time for its 100th anniversary in 2027.

Find out more about the work of Maddalena Fanconi and her custom design services by visiting


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