Debbie’s interview on her success after winning The Battersea Competition !
- You are originally from Greece. What drew you to London, and when did you get started here?
I moved to England straight after finishing school for university studies. The plan was to finish studying in England and then start my own practice in the States. However, the plan changed; because by the time I finished my Part2, I already had my “dream job” with a star architect’s practice, so my stay was extended. A couple of years later, I was elected as the chairlady of the South London RIBA Branch so when I decided to start my own practice, I already had very good contacts and potential clients and it was a much more reasonable move, to start my practice here. Furthermore, I absolutely love London!
- Was it difficult to get started in London?
Not at all! We have been lucky enough to win the first prize in a competition during the first year of trading and since then we have never been out of work!
I also consider important the fact that starting during a financial crisis is a great asset, because when the market is at the bottom, it can only get better!
- Which do you prefer – commercial or residential clients?
Is difficult to say, as commercial and residential clients are completely different. What I usually find with the residential clients is that we get to know them better. We meet their spouses, kids and pets. Visit their houses, see the way the live etc. So, their cultural, religious and family beliefs are the centre of our design development. We create solutions tailored to their lifestyle and our architects are determined to find the unique and individual solution for their perfect house. Generally speaking, is a much more personalised service, quite different by presenting in a boardroom to a board of directors?
- Some clients have very strong ideas about what they want – others just want to write the cheque and leave the design to the architect. Which client do you prefer?
We are not working as the rest of the architectural practices, giving two proposed options to our clients. We give those 10, 20, 30 different design options- according to the size of the development. So, we try to explore all options and possibilities. What I usually find is that during the meetings, the clients love the process of picking the right options for them and mix & match different options together. Even the clients who claimed that they don’t want an involvement, in most of the cases, they do get involved.
- You have built up a very successful practise. As the leader, you must be constantly inspiring your employees and designers. Do they inspire you?
Everybody is taking part in the design process. I always encourage my employees to draw the discussed options and the options they prefer. Design is a very democratic process, a good idea may come from anyone, even people who are not in the industry, so inspiration comes from everywhere!
- What are the current trends in London residential design that you like? Which ones do you dislike?
What I am not very keen on are all these box shape – glass rear extensions with white wall. They all look exactly the same! Full glazed outside and a minimalistic kitchen inside. Diversity is the key factor in architecture and I believe residential design should be much more interesting and fun.
- What type of design does your practice like?
Our design concepts are driven by aesthetic forms found in the natural environment. The complex structures of a sea shell, sea waves, or trees can give the design freedom to explore new forms and ideas. Cosmogenetic design aims to be dynamic, opulent, comfortable and having creative spaces where the inhabitants feel interrelated with nature. Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the best architect in the course of history and a leading figure in organic-form architecture quoted: “Every tree is different from each other; heaven can’t be more beautiful than nature on earth”.
- How are you dealing with the councils? Is it difficult to deal with them on a daily basis?
As a practice up until this moment, we have 97% of planning success. The reason we are so lucky is because we are always consulting the planners from the outset and try to find some common ground with them. Pre-planning meetings are quite common for us even for the smallest of the project. The planners always have in mind the best endeavour for their area, so consulting them is never a bad move!
- What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your work? What do you want to be remembered for?
The ultimate goal is to move architecture and design forward. Architecture should have a poetic dimension (irrelevant from proportions and scales) in order to contribute to peoples’ well-being, teach new generations about this point in time and develop a potential social agenda. It should contribute to a better environment. As Aristotle said:. ??? ????? ?? ???? ???? ?? ?? ???? Is not about living, is about well being!
Debbie Flevotomou Architects has recently won a competition in China to design the interior of 66 Villas. The competition brief was asking for 12 European Interior Design Styles. The Debbie Flevotomou Architects approach was deconstructing the traditional architectural style with the insertion of harmonious organic lines. The idea was to create a very contemporary design, […]
10 January, 2013 | By Richard Waite London-based Debbie Flevotomou Architects has won the £1,250 first prize in an ideas competition organised by JB Builders to design a spiritual centre in Battersea. The practice, formerly EfZin Architecture, beat emerging outfit One-world Design and a bid by part II architectural assistant Jimmy Chan with its Centre […]
Home Improvement Projects That Provide Great Return On Investment Even if you don’t plan to sell your house for another 10 or 20 years, you are bound to still want to find effective ways of adding value to the property. Adding value to your home has more to do than just increasing your home’s resale […]
Work by Debbie Flevotomou Arrchitects Here are some of the services we can offer you: New Build We can provide you with contractor advice from the outset and support from conception to completion. Loft Conversions The majority of lofts can be converted and is an excellent way to provide you with an extra bedroom or two, […]
Here are some of the team’s projects Here are some of the services we can offer you: Detailed planning applications and presentations to Local Authorities. Monitoring of construction works, implementation of building contracts, liaising with contractors including specialists, snagging and valuations. Project management. Experienced negotiation in order to achieve the desired outcome. Production of comprehensive […]
Home Improvement Ideas You Should Use To Add Value To Your Home Whether you’re planning on moving soon or would like to remain in your home for many years, it’s a good idea to increase its overall value. Improvements aren’t just about selling the home, however. Adding value to your home improves the collateral you […]