This Blue Hills Staple Keeps It Global: Giana Allen Believes in a Whole World of Design
It would be accurate to say this design force is a jetsetter — but it’s not quite that glamorous.
It would be accurate to say that design force Giana Allen is a jetsetter — but it’s not quite that glamorous. It’s a lot of work actually to keep a design business thriving when antique shows in Europe have been closed so much during COVID, and just shipping containers filled with antiques is no simple matter.
The Round Top regular splits her time between Austin and Montpellier, France, with frequent stops in Belgium, Italy, Indonesia and Turkey, where her furniture and lighting lines are produced.
Allen had just landed in Texas four days before our call, and was delivering new pieces to Round Top’s Blue Hills venue as we spoke.
“Running containers between countries right now is insane,” says Allen, the owner of Giana Allen Design.
The former interior designer has built nine houses and furnished them top to bottom during her career. Her work has been featured in such notable magazines as Robb Report, Luxe Magazine, Freshhome and Palm Beach Illustrated. In a former life, Allen even opened a shooting club in Palm Beach.
“I no longer do design, but with my masters in psychology and design background, I shop for designers in Europe,” Allen tells RoundTop.com. “I know what they are looking for. And because every person is different, every design project is different.”
She describes herself as always on the move. A builder, furniture designer, decorator, world traveler, writer and lecturer seamlessly blending her expertise in psychology and design to create “a unique approach to imaginative living and working spaces.”
“In the end, I ship containers,” Giana Allen says. “It’s all about logistics. And the clients need to understand what dealers are up against right now. Our container prices are up four to five times what they were prior to COVID. That’s why pricing is all over the place, and some things seem high, while other items are a real deal.”
Closed shows in Europe and even in Round Top last year, made making payroll a real challenge, with overhead costs — including two packed warehouses in two different countries — plus trucking and shipping costs, not to mention the delays, making it nearly impossible to choreograph anything reasonably. For art and antique dealers worldwide, just staying afloat after last year’s chaos is a success.
Giana Allen’s furniture line has a definite modern Italian-maker feel, with clean lines and the ability to appeal to many design tastes. It blends seamlessly with both contemporary and collected pieces.
Allen also has a popular jewelry line of beaded malas which are both prayerful and meditative, set with Buddhas, skulls or horns. You find the Giana Allen Collection in her Blue Hills space as well.
“I’m kind of a Rock and Roll Yogi,” Allen laughs. “People always wanted to buy whatever I was wearing, so I came out with my own line.”
Allen is frenetic, a ball of energy, always on the move. She is engaged to be married and plans to live in France on a more full-time basis in the near future, while maintaining her import and design business, which includes her own showroom in Blue Hills.
During the Round Top antique shows you’ll find Giana Allen at Blue Hills in Barn F. She will arrange to meet customers or their designers at her Blue Hills showroom by appointment only in-between shows. After all, she is global citizen on the move, designing a better way.
Fall Antique & Design Show October 14-31