Behind the Design with Carola Vannini

Carola Vannini is a talented Rome based architect whose designs are the true definition of timeless sophistication.  With a minimalistic yet elevated aesthetic, Carola has the ability to transform worn and dated interiors into timeless, elegant, dream worthy spaces.  Since discovering her work, I have spent a lot of time admiring her designs both on Instagram and on her own website.  I absolutely love how she uses backlighting to create beautiful lit from within interiors in a variety of spaces.  As an admirer of her work, I was very excited when she agreed to be a part of Stylishly Zen’s Behind the Design series:

  1. Did you always know that you wanted to work in architecture? Has it always been your passion?

I actually didn’t.  I never thought of being an architect before signing into my university classes.  It was a surprise for me to find out such an interesting world.
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  1. How would you describe your design esthetic?

I would describe it as a balance between ancient and contemporary minimalism.  My motto is “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” and I totally believe so.

  1. Where do you find your inspiration from?

It depends on every peculiar case. I always adjust my taste to the environment I have to deal with and, of course, with the clients’ taste and needs.
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  1. What has been your most challenging project so far? Why was it so challenging?

It is definitely the one I am still working on at the moment. It is a new construction Barn House in Tuscany. A very big project that I had to design from scratch.  Now it is almost completed even though I am still working on the garden and landscape design of it.

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  1. What is your favourite project to date?

Among the completed ones, it is Navona Penthouse. I am very attached to that project because I had a great feeling with my clients and brought me a  lot of satisfaction when it got published on last April issue of AD Italia.

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

From the design to the final step, I would say one year. But then, again, it depend on the case.
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  1. What is your favourite part about working in architecture?

The design part, where creativity can flow out of my head. Afterwords, the works themselves can get pretty stressing and tiring. Less creative and more practical.

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

I really enjoy Greece, especially the small islands. But my heart is actually in Thailand. A little too far from me to escape there only for a few days though.
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  1. How would you describe the design style/esthetic in Italy?

There is always a cassic and elegant touch. No matter what, if you were born in Italy, you breath beauty since your first day of life and I truly believe that this effects us all. Not  only architects.

  1. Do you have a favourite type of project to work on (private/public)? Why?

 I mainly work on residential and I like it very much. I would really to go back to some public space design though, such as restaurants or hotels.
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  1. 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 am a pilates and yoga fanatic. I really think that my daily workout is the best moment of my day; so useful for me to take a break and go back into myself. It helps me to face the rest of may time with much more energy and positive attitude.
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  1. Any words of wisdom for someone who is just starting out their design career?

Don’t give up your ideas for your clients’ ones. If you are really convinced that something is right that way, try to take them by hand and gently make them understand  your point.  You are the architect, right?
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Thank you for stopping by and special thanks to Carola for taking the time to participate in this month’s Behind the Design.  To see more of Carola’s work you can visit her website at http://www.carolavannini.com or check her out on Instagram @carolavannini

I hope that you have a beautiful day!  XXS

All images courtesy of Carola Vannini

Behind the Design with Gori & Yoon

Gori & Yoon is a young design studio that I discovered on Instagram earlier this year.  Founded in 2018 and based in Florence, Italian architect Elisa Gori and South Korean interior designer Jaehyun Yoon have combined  their diverse experience and backgrounds to design modern, elegant and functional spaces for both private residences and public spaces.  I have been a fan of their work from the moment that I first saw it, and I especially love how they use distinct shapes and materials to create timeless and refined spaces.  Needless to say I was very excited when they agreed to be interviewed for the Behind the Design series.  Here is my interview with Elisa Gori and Jaehyun Yoon:

  1. Did you always know that you wanted to work in interior design?Has it always been your passion?

JAE – When I was a child, I always liked doing something with my hands, for example painting or modeling something with clay. I remember above all that I spent so much time playing with lego block. Perhaps it was a sign that I was doing something creative in the future, that is, becoming an interior designer.

ELISA – Since I was a child I wanted to become a fashion designer. I have always been a creative person and fascinated by fashion, art and architecture, that is, everything that is aesthetically beautiful. For this reason I wanted to work in a sector that could express it.
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  1. How would you describe your design esthetic?

JAE and ELISA – We prefer simple, clean, minimal shapes that can be easily understood. This always shows our personality, especially through the use of color, light and furnishings and decorative objects, also taken from different eras and styles, but always finding a common line, so that they can be combined perfectly with each other.

  1. Where do you find your inspiration from?

JAE and ELISA – We like to take inspiration from the things we observe and that happen in everyday life. For example, we find inspiration from travel and from observing what surrounds us.
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  1. What has been your most challenging project so far? Why was it so challenging?

JAE and ELISA – All the projects we do are challenges.  We must always achieve a result that is the best possible to satisfy our customers and at the same time ourselves. Surely, in a project the most difficult part is to create a dialogue with what already exists.

  1. What is your favourite project to date?

JAE and ELISA – Our latest project, “via Lovanio” is a project that reflects a lot our identity and our style. Furthermore, the Sarnese project in Tuscany was interesting, because the villa was on several levels and the rooms were very small but we managed to create open spaces and hide the pillars that were in the middle of the rooms through the use of furniture . Now, If we look at the old pictures of the house, it is unrecognizable.
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  1. How long does it take for you to normally complete a project?

Jae and Elisa – It depends on the size of the project and on what we are asked for, on average it takes about 3 to 6 months.

  1. What is your favourite part about working in interior design?

JAE – My favorite part is to create a new concept. I find it very satisfying to carry out a drawing with initial inspiration at the end of the project concept.

ELISA – The creative part and the human part, that is the relationship established with the customer.
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  1. Any favourite travel destinations that you like to escape too?  Why?

JAE – Every once in a while I would like to leave for some place where there is nobody to disconnect from the tiring life of the city. Where could it be? Perhaps an island half of the ocean? If I found a place like this, one day I’d like to go there.

ELISA – Whenever I can, I like to make short trips to Italy or Europe. I need to get away from the routine and to visit the cities where I haven’t been.

  1. How would you describe the design style/esthetic in Italy (more specifically in Florence)?

JAE – I like the style of design in Italy, especially in Tuscany, because they use colors taking inspiration from nature. For example, dark brown, beige, lightgray, desaturated green, all these neutral colors give me a feeling of calm, warmth and tranquility. They are also found in the facades of buildings and in the interiors of houses. It seems to me a good example of designing architecture, which fits well with the surrounding landscape.

ELISA – Florence and many Italian cities are historical, so the modern style is not very visible, perhaps only in the suburbs. To respect the historical pre-existences, in Florence there is a tendency to design in a classic or modern-classic style, especially in architecture.
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  1. Do you have a favourite type of project to work on (private/public)? Why?

JAE – I like both. But above all, I really like designing residences and restaurants / bars.

ELISA – I like more to design for the public, because I like the idea that my project can be lived by more people.

  1. 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)

JAE – Actually I don’t practice a lot of wellness activities, but every once in a while, when I have to create a new concept andI don’t have ideas, I close everything and go driving around Tuscany where I work and live. Sometimes I like to walk around with headphones listening to the music on my playlist. So I can take the stress out and get the energy back on with my work.

ELISA – I like reading fashion and design magazines and I really like practicing pilates, as a method of relaxation.
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  1. Any words of wisdom for someone who is just starting out their design career?

JAE – Travel to many places to feel, see, try and touch new things by coming into contact with different cultures, so you will see that your inspiration will be enriched a lot and help create your identity in design.

ELISA – Always believe in it. Even if the desired result does not arrive immediately.

Special thanks to Elisa and Jaehyun for taking the time for this interview.  All images courtesy of Gori & Yoon.  You can see more of Gori & Yoon’s beautiful work on their website http://www.goriyoon.com or on Instagram @goriyoon_archtecture

Thank you for visiting Stylishly Zen and I hope that you have a beautiful day!  XXS

Inspring Interior

Hi Everyone!

Maybe it’s the season, but lately I have really been feeling the need to nest and get my home comfortably decorated for the winter.  My winter plans include spending a lot of time hibernating indoors and I want to make sure that my place is warm, welcoming and comfortable.  I was scouring magazines and online sites looking for inspiration when I came across today’s Inspiring Interior.

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Actress Lea Michele is well known for her role on Glee and her gorgeous voice.  Her recently listed LA home is just as stunning as the actress herself.  With four bedrooms and four bathrooms this light and spacious home is both welcoming and chic.

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Just under 3200 square feet, this home would be perfect for all types of residents including families, couples or even a solo dweller like me.

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Marble countertops, stainless steel appliances, a pivoting glass door, light colour palette, textured accents and large fireplace all help to give this home a charming yet modern vibe.

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The outdoor area features a pool and a covered area to relax and enjoy the beautiful LA weather.  Overall this house is warm, welcoming, spacious and chic which is exactly the vibe that I would like to bring into my own home.

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I hope that you have a beautiful day!  XXS

Photo Credit:www.dwell.com

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