Tell us about the name of your business
MERAKI is a Greek word with no direct English translation. It means to do something with soul, creativity and love. It is a word that is exclusively used when referring to one’s own creations. That piece of you that is left in your work after completion? That is when you do something with Meraki. We feel that with most of our work, I suppose most designers do. The name also happens to be a combination of both mine and Marias names, which makes it even more sentimental to us
What inspires you?
We are inspired by our everyday experiences, our travels, lifestyle, art and the natural world! Living in London is extremely inspirational on so many levels. From the alternative grunge vibe in Camden, industrial art scene in Shoreditch to the sophisticated elegance in Mayfair and the timeless glamour of Chelsea. Not to mention Notting Hill, the beautiful parks, and the people! London is a great place to push boundaries in design and fashion, because there are simply no boundaries. Each project has a unique set of challenges, which help us draw inspiration from many places including its context and client brief.
Tell us about your partnership with Maria
Maria and I both moved to Greece from South Africa in 1997. My family moved to Thessaloniki and hers to Athens. We both completed high school there and then landed up in London together many years later both having had studied Interior Design. We have had such similar experiences in life we understand each other very well so we speak the same language. Figuratively and literally. We switch from Greek to English in a matter of seconds and we don’t even realise that we do it. Our partnership just works as we our strengths and weaknesses compliment each other.
How do you feel living in London
Grateful and lucky
Tell us about your projects in Greece
I hold Greece very close to my heart and having the opportunity to work on projects on the islands is a true blessing. At the moment we are working on a new built villa in Chania, Crete and a refurbishment in Adamanta, Milos. Our client in Crete is Brazilian and based in London. Our client in Milos is Greek and based in Los Angeles. We are inspired by local architecture while introducing in a contemporary twist.
The Cretan villa is for a bachelor. Traditional stonewalls, shutters and architecture feature throughout, in line with the local demographics but we have added some ‘meraki’ to the mood, giving it quite a minimal and masculine look.
Dark grey polished concrete grace the floors and walls as well as a beautifully sculptured flouting staircase. We have used industrial elements alongside plush and comfy furniture. The Cretan sun is so beautiful and warm you can get away with this sort of look in a home without the slightest fear it will appear cold. We have also taken to local rug weavers and are creating some custom rugs that also are a twist on the traditional. We can’t wait to show them to you!
Our project in Milos is a lot softer. It is white washed throughout with bleached woods and linens. We have sourced beautifully handcrafted wooden furniture and have incorporated Greek island style built-in furnishings throughout. Simplicity is key when doing Greek Island home as the views do all the talking and we don’t want to compete.
Greece or London?
With Europe being so continental and London so easy to travel to and from, we both think there is not such a big difference. Of course the sunny weather in Greece beats the greyness of London, but the vibe that central London has is out of this world.
White or black?
Black! It’s our favourite colour….If there is something you need to know about us is that our wardrobe is black and we love skulls.
Favourite Interior Designer?
David Collins-we love and admire his work and legacy.
Favourite piece of furniture
Cherner Armchair designed by Norman Cherner. If ever you could call a piece of furniture sexy, this would be it.
Best Hotel and why
Hmmmm too many that I adore!
I love the St Pancras renaissance hotel; it feels like you are stepping back in time, like a set from Harry Potter (I think they actually did use it).
Me hotel rooftop terrace in the summer. High tea at Claridge’s.. Drinks at the Connaught Bar. And that’s just London….
Tell us something we don’t know about you
I have a secret obsession with old school cult horror and science fiction movies. Give me star wars any day….
Coffee or Tea?
I am an avid coffee drinker. It is my brain fuel…. But I do enjoy tea in the afternoon, especially the seasonal teas from Fortum and Maison’s.
Best restaurant in London
Coya Restaurant in Mayfair
Your favourite hang out in London
I love Jaks on king’s road in Chelsea. For one I can just walk there which is already a bonus and it just has this relaxed homely atmosphere so it’s easy to unwind.
Jeux d'enfants by Yann Samuell
If you could invite 4 people in history to dinner who would you have and why?
Frank Lloyd Wright – the man was a pioneer of organic architecture and a visionary who didn’t care what other people thought. I admire his passion, determination and self-belief.
Alexander McQueen – a fragile soul that he so willfully dove into the depths of his own dreams and nightmares and created pieces of worn art. The darkness sadly got the better of him but I still find his work fascinating!
Odysseas Elytis – because his use of language is so beautifully descriptive, I wonder what a discussion with him would be like.
Coco Chanel – A dynamite of a lady, she was a woman in the 1900’s and nothing could stop her. She was a visionary that empowered woman with her style sense and by showing them what could be achieved. I am in awe.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now
We hope to complete many more beautiful projects and establish a presence in the UK, Greece and South Africa and to lead a design team that can work in all three countries.
Project in London:
Cafe Bar / 125 Church Street / London, United Kingdom
Facebook : www.facebook.com/merakidesignltd
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