Irene Ferri was born in Cambridge, when her father came to study Architecture at MIT, while her mother worked as a photographer and fabric artist, creating quilts and tapestry. Her family which is mostly Roman Italian comes from a long lineage of artists and architects. She grew up traveling between her native Rome, London, and Cambridge. In Italy, Ferri’s grandfather, Lorenzo Ferri, a famous sculptor in Rome, mentored her from a very young age in his studio. Irene grew up surrounded by arts and culture, having her first encounter with woodworking at the age of 13, when her father would let her use the bandsaw to make dollhouse furniture. She studied Graphic Design at the Istituto Europeo di Design working as a freelance layout editor and Graphic Designer at the FAO United Nations in Rome.
In her mid-twenties, she returned to work at her father’s wood shop, in the countryside of Rome where she learned her design skills, creating project drawings for clients, and working with a team in the fabrication process. During her stay in her father’s workshop, Ferri discovered and fell in love with the work of Judy Kensley McKie.