Maria Chatzistavrou: Designing Experiences
Crystal clear waters, blue rooves, white walls and cliff side homes. It’s hard to find a more aesthetic place on Earth than Greece. With so much beauty comes opportunities but also challenges. Greece, with its distinct architecture, is an endless well of inspiration, yet there also comes a tremendous legacy that every aspiring architect or interior designer must live up to. For that reason, we wanted to pick the mind of Greek interior architect: Maria Chatzistavrou.
Maria, did not come from a family of traditional artists as one might expect given her talents. Her Father worked for the Hellenic Navy as a technician but spent also his life making small- scale metal and stone sculptures. Her Mother was involved in trade for some years but she was still a typical housewife.
Though Maria described both her parents as artists in a non-traditional sense and said she owes her creative talents to them. While describing her childhood she recalled not fully recognizing that her father was an immensely creative man, a kind of sculpture though not in the way you might think, more like a hobby of his. Maria also fondly reminisced about her mother’s cooking and the care and love she put into taking care of others and Maria also described that as a kind of art. Seeing art in not just what you do, but in what the people around you do, even in the most unexpected places, can be a great source of inspiration.
When asked whether this was the reason for the pursuit of her current career path she responded by saying she wasn’t sure, because she knew that she wanted to be an interior architect from the age of 8. So, when she told that to her parents, they gave her one piece of advice: “You know what’s best for you”. Maria took that advice to heart; she wasted no time pursuing her dream already taking jobs designing store displays and interiors when she began university. Maria always kept an eye out for opportunities right from the beginning of her studies and of course to this day. Today Maria runs her very own award-winning interior design firm Lime Deco continuing to make spaces that take inspiration from classical Greek simplicity with her own unique modern flavor. As Maria describes it: “Often, less is more, my work is usually on the minimalist end of the spectrum, I always try to make every one of my designs unique”. She goes on to say: “There’s not only one place I draw inspiration from, I take it from anywhere.”. It is clear that keeping an eye out for inspiration in places you might not expect has been a key to Maria’s success, whether that be a piece of fine art in a museum, a traditional technique in an old building or just from her father’s metal work. However, Maria describes that the most important part of her creative process is understanding her customer as that is the first step to understanding the experience she seeks to create with her spaces.
In her words: “It’s not only about the design, it’s mostly about the experience, and that’s why I love hospitality, because I love to give experiences to people”.
Maria has a great deal to teach us when it comes to finding our inner creativity. There are so many unexpected places to find artistry, so we always have to keep an open eye for untapped sources of creativity or opportunities. That would definitely give an infinite number of unexplored ideas.
In addition, never do it for the money, do it with love. Everything else will follow.
Contributor: Kean Ooi