Behind the Design with K-Studio’s Dimitris Karampatakis

My love for K-Studio’s Dexamenes project is no secret.  From the first time that I saw pictures of it I was hooked, and it remains one of my favourite hotel projects to date.  So when K-Studios co-founder and creative director Dimitris Karampatakis agreed to be a part of my Behind the Design series, I was thrilled.  It was clear from the beginning of our conversation that Dimitris is just as cool as the projects that his studio designs.  His outlook and approach to design is thoughtful and exciting and I can’t wait to see what wonderful projects K-Studio develop in the future.  Here is my interview with K-Studio’s Dimitris Karampatakis:

Has architecture and design always been your passion?

Yes, my dad is an architect and as we were growing up he would take my brother and I with him to visit the construction sites.  It was very exciting to be exposed to the ethos of making things, different materials and construction techniques.

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How would you design your design aesthetic?

We have an contextural approach to design.  We feel a responsibility to understand the place where we are designing, to use local technologies and echo local culture so that we are respecting where we are designing.

Where do you find your design inspiration?

The starting point is the location and then we figure out how we can best meet the needs and aspirations of the project

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What has been your most challenging project to date?  Why?

Any project that involves different typologies – the more complex the typologies are the needs of the project become more complex.

You have designed an airport, restaurants, hotels and private residences, do you have a favourite type of project to work on?

I like complex projects that combine different uses.  We recently designed a marina in Crete that combines many different leisure activities and includes a hotel and boutiques.  

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Do you have a favourite project that you have worked on?

We have worked on 200 projects over the past 15 years and it is difficult to pick a favourite.  We tend to reflect back on certain projects such as the Plane house, Alemagou in Mykonos, Dexamenes and Burboni beach restaurant in the Costa Navarino part of the Dunes hotel resort.

How long does it normally take for you to complete a project?

It depends on the project.  A 500 square metres villa could take one year for design and two years for construction.  Our recent airport project though was fast tracked as the airport was still in use as construction was being done, so it was two years from start to finish.

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Any favourite travel destinations that you like to escape to?

My house because I travel so much for work.  We have a holiday home in Mykonos that I like to escape to as well.  I also enjoy travelling to London, Salzburg Mountains and my favourite destination is Tokyo.

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What wellness practices have you incorporated into your life to help you to deliver such wonderful projects?

My daughter helps to balance me out.  I really enjoy cooking as a way to understand how to design and to coordinate things in design. With cooking you have control over the process.  I also enjoy running and meditation.

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Any words of wisdom for someone just starting out their design career?

Design is a vast workplace so don’t limit yourself.  Don’t worry what type of designer you are

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You can see more of K-Studio’s project at http://www.k-studio.gr or on Instagram @k_studio_gr. Special thanks to Dimitris Karampatakis for taking the time to speak with me and Joanna Burtenshaw for arranging this interview.  All images courtesy of K-Studios and http://www.k-studio.gr

I hope that you have a beautiful day!  XXS

 

Behind the Design with Ahmed Hussein

 

Hi Everyone!

I had the pleasure of interviewing the incredibly talented Egyptian designer Ahmed Hussein for this month’s Behind the Design. I first discovered Ahmed on Instagram when I came across a stunning marble bathroom that he designed, and I have been hooked on his work ever since. His clever use of luxurious materials, texture, colour and art demonstrate a talent  for design that most people can only hope to have. If you are looking for a talented designer to follow then look no further as Ahmed delivers projects that are nothing short of fabulous every single time.  Without further adieu, here is my interview with Ahmed Hussein:

  • Did you always know that you wanted to work in architecture and design?  Has it always been your passion?

In the beginning, I decided to go to the faculty of engineering to become a chemical engineer like my cousin, to get big salary.

But at the end of the first year, in the engineering drawing class, one of the teachers noticed that my drawing was very different and distinctive, 

Then asked me, which department you will join?

I answered chemical.

He asked me do you love chemistry.

I answered no. 

Then he smiled and starts talking about architecture.

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  • How would you describe your design esthetic?

Design as a musical melody has to touch your feelings

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  • Where do you find your inspiration from?

From everything and everywhere 

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  • What has been your most challenging project so far?  Why was it so challenging?

El Merghany apartment because of the painted 2 ceilings 7m x 4m and 3m x 4m

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  • What has been your favourite project to date?

Every project I did has something in my heart 

  • How long does it take for you to normally complete a project? 

8 to 12 months 

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  • Any favourite travel destinations that you like to escape too?  Why?

Paris, Rome, Athens & Barcelona 

Historical cities, I love old stories  20A6462A-6717-4646-AADC-B2D478EB5FB3

 

  • Describe your perfect day in Cairo – what would you do?  Where would you go?

The week days I start my day at 10 am go to my office and finish at 7pm 

Then I go back home to see my family 

The weekend I try to relax and do something new and different with my friends and my family

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  • What wellness practices do you incorporate into your lifestyle to help you deliver such beautiful projects? (This can range from workouts, nutrition, meditation practice, etc)

I take my bike at the night with my headphones for one hour before I sleep 

(Workout and music give me the power)

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  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

            I hope to become one of the most famous designers in the world

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  • Any words of wisdom for someone who is just starting out their design career?

Follow your passion, be prepared to work hard and sacrifice, and above all don’t let anyone limit your dreams 

Thank you Ahmed for taking the time for this interview!

If you would like to see more of Ahmed’s work you can find him on Instagram @ahmedhusseindesigns

All pictures in this post were provided by Ahmed Hussein Designs.

I hope that you have a fabulous day! XXS

Behind the Design with Guilherme Torres

Hi Everyone!

As you know architecture and design are huge passions of mine and while I love looking at and learning about new projects and spaces, lately I have found myself wanting to know more about the people behind my favourite projects and designs.  Today I am so excited (you have no idea just how excited) to introduce a new series to Stylishly Zen called “Behind the Design” featuring the designers and architects behind some of my favourite projects.

Today’s featured architect is Guilherme Torres.  Based in Sao Paolo, Brazil Guilherme’s work is absolutely beautiful and unique.  With clean lines, uncluttered aesthetic and natural materials, I would best describe his work as elevated natural luxury with a twist.  Without further adieu, here is my interview with Guilherme Torres:

>     Did you always know that you wanted to work in architecture and design?  Has it always been your passion?

Always, ever since I was a child. Actually, I’ve always known I wanted to be an architect, and design was something that came later, to complement my creative process. If I weren’t an architect I’d be an astronaut. 

>     How would you describe your design aesthetic?

I like to think that I have an antenna in my head that can be directed at several sources. Now I see a common syntax in everything I do. I try to be prudent with my lines, maximising the effects whilst using very little.

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>      Where do you find your inspiration from?

The day to day that I create for myself is my source of inspiration. I’m very curious, and I love music, cinema and visual arts. I just absorb everything that is in my reach and let my subconscious work it out. I don’t research anything on Pinterest, for instance. 

>     What has been your most, challenging project so far?  Why was it so challenging?

Designing furniture is always a big challenge for me. In part, almost everything has already been designed, because we have several rules to follow. In Brazil, for instance, we don’t have a greatly developed industry in this field, so the aesthetics repertoire is somewhat limited. There’s also the ergonomics factor, that defines a lot of the standards that have to be followed. The space to create, using the same materials and technology is then reduced, so I need a lot of time to research to mature my ideas.

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>     What has been your favourite project to date?

I have many, but I guess I would say Mangue Groove, which I did for Swarovski, and Tree House, my last house design, still unpublished. 

>     How long does it take for you to normally complete a project? 

It depends on the project. Designing a house, for instance, takes me about 15 minutes, and a chair, about 5 years!

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>     Any favourite travel destinations that you like to escape too? Why?

I love exotic and nature-filled places. Places that are wild and that have new cultures, smells and experiences. Yet, there’s a lot more “mainstream” places that I don’t know yet. I guess the top three destinations on my wishlist are Japan, Egypt and Russia. 

>     How would you describe the design style in Brazil?

Tricky. We’ve had a golden period after the Second World War, born out of the migrants that came to Brazil to rebuild their lives. Brazilian design made in the 50s and 60s was brilliant. Ever since that our production’s been shyer and less representative. The world has also become too “pasteurised”.

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>     Describe your perfect day in São Paulo – what would you do?  Where would you go?

My perfect day starts in my house, the best place in the world, with my dog, a Jack Russel called Bolt. But of course I’d want to go out to do something. That’s the fun of living in São Paulo: there’s anything you want! Also, I don’t really like planning. 

>     Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Younger, richer and humbler. 

>     Any words of wisdom for someone who is considering becoming an architect or designer?

Don’t!

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Special thanks to Guilherme Torres and his colleague Renato Freddi for participating in this interview.  All images courtesy of Studio Guilherme Torres.

I hope that all of you have a beautiful day! XXS

Inspiring Interior

Hi Everyone!

I don’t know what has been going on, but these past few months have just flown right by!  A part of me still thinks that it is March, but the fact that I am currently writing this blog post while sitting on my balcony, enjoying the warm weather and sipping on an Aperol Spritz implies that we are much further into 2019 then I care to admit to myself.  This means that I have now been living in my new place for over six months and I have barely scratched the decorating surface!  It is about time that I kick things into gear and give myself a deadline.

The biggest challenge that I am currently facing in terms of decorating, is that I can’t seem to decide what I like, and when I do decide I can’t seem to find it OR it is completely out of my budget!  What is a girl to do???

Having said all of this, I think that I have narrowed it down and in my head things are finally starting to come together (or so I hope).  I finally painted my living room – I went for a pure white colour which I absolutely love, and now time for the fun part…decorating!  To find inspiration I have been doing A LOT of research and today I am sharing with you a project that I recently stumbled across from a studio who’s work I have admired for a few years now.

Bao Proyectos is a Madrid based firm who’s work is clean, fresh and absolutely gorgeous!  Their projects include the One Shot Hotel in Saville along with countless private residences and restaurants.  Today’s Inspiring Interior is a private residence in Madrid that really captured the mood that I would love to achieve within my own home.

This light filled residence has a clean aesthetic thanks to countless windows, bright white walls and minimal furnishings.  Despite the minimal aesthetic, the home still looks lived in and welcoming – this is often challenging to achieve, yet the team at Bao Proyectos has achieved it beautifully.  Built in book cases and storage along with intelligent furniture choices helps to achieve a clean, sleek yet inviting look that I absolutely love.  Playful accents such as the yellow couch against a mint green wall and the geometric designed storage in the bedroom and rugs throughout the home, help to infuse some fun into the overall clean aesthetic.  The icing on the proverbial cake of this stunning apartment is the gorgeous bathroom with marble and matte black hardware – heaven!  Bao Proyectos did a wonderful job on this project and I can’t wait to see what they achieve in the future!  Take a look:

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All images from http://www.baoproyectos.com

I hope that you have a beautiful day! XXS

Dream Design – Dexamenes, Kourouta Greece

I have always been a believer in love at first sight, and while I have yet to experience the type of happily ever after that we often see in the movies, the design projects that have stolen my  heart in an instant remain there for many many years.  Today’s Dream Design is one such design project.  The first picture that I saw of it grabbed my attention and my love continued to grow with every further picture of it that I saw, and every story that I read about it – needless to say, it is a architectural love story for the modern age.

K-studio_Dexamenes-0851Dexamenes is located on Kourouta Beach which is a beautiful stretch of coastline in the western Peloponnese.  Its history dates back to the “Era of Currents”, although it was left relatively untouched since the 1920’s.  Athen’s based K-Studio created a design that successfully respected its strong history and beauty of the site while breathing new life into the space.  The result is a modern, elegant and minimalist hotel with a raw, brutal and industrial aesthetic.  Respecting the existing buildings by leaving them relatively untouched, K-Studio updated the site using concrete, steel, timber and glass.

K-studio_Dexamenes-0529K-studio_Dexamenes-0461K-studio_Dexamenes-showerThe hotel rooms were built within two concrete blocks that are divided length wise into two rows of ten storage tanks.  The rooms are identical with the openings facing towards the beach.  Everything is connected by a raised promenade walkway that leads towards the water.  Each room has a double bed, an open wardrobe and a large double shower which adds to the sense of luxury within the minimal aesthetic.  The bathroom is separated by the rest of the room by a wall of textured glass which allows the light from the large sliding windows at the front to reach the back of the tank.

K-studio_Dexamenes-0491K-studio_Dexamenes-0145K-studio_Dexamenes-0754The entry to the hotel is from behind the tanks.  Concrete, glass partitions and a louvered plywood canopy provide a warm welcome along with the guests first view of the sea.

Phase two which will see further extensions and a garden are planned along with the addition of extra amenities such as a taverna, boutique selling local wares and a history room are planned for 2019.

K-studio_Dexamenes-0295-1The design of Dexamenes is both thoughtful and intelligent.  With a strong minimalistic design aesthetic, this hotel is a study in respecting history, restraint and brutal beauty that is often difficult to achieve.

All images via http://www.k-studi.gr

I hope that you have a beautiful day!  XXS