Spyros moved to London in 2011 and by 2019 he found himself surrounded by high-end fashion and world class designers but, he was frustrated. He was in a stock management role and all his creative energy was bursting to get out. One day fate knocked on his door and he answered, it told him life was too short and he needs to get out there and do what he loves.
So, that’s exactly what he did!
Image: Concrete Eden project, Spyridon Giannakos.
All or Nothing
Spyros has always had an interest in Interior design but when you have bills to pay and responsibilities, it can be hard to make that leap and just dive into something new. Spyros found the British Academy of Interior Design (BAID) and it was perfect! He could keep his job and split his time between work and studies.
Image: Guest room Victoria Flat, material board, Spyridon Giannakos.
The only problem was, Spyros hadn’t considered that he was dealing with Spyros, and he doesn’t do things by halves.
He was almost immediately consumed by the course and when he realised that this is an in-depth comprehensive study of interior design, he knew something had to give.
People find the three-year course a brilliant way to balance their work life and personal life with their studies, but many people are not Spyros. He is an all-or-nothing individual who wanted to swim at the deep end.
In order to produce a capable and informed interior designer, the BAID sets high expectations on the students and if like Spyros, you want to graduate before the maximum 3 years, the workload is intense. Although he says he ‘forgot the colour of Netflix’ he was surprised and delighted to discover how thorough and deeply insightful his education was.
Image: Victoria Flat, Guest room, Spyridon Giannakos.
When Spyros graduated with Distinction in Jan 2020, Covid had other plans and soon the world was shutting down. Spyros describes the timing as a ‘calamity’, but he did not allow it to derail his trajectory. One of the tutors in the BAID offered him an internship with a design studio and although the frustration of working from home denied him studio and client experience, it was an excellent opportunity for him to sample a real-world situation in Interior Design.
Image: Victoria Flat, Guest room, Spyridon Giannakos.
It was then he began to appreciate the tough challenges of the course work. In the real world, there is no room for shortcuts and Spyros found that the proposals he was presenting to clients were just like the assignments he had sweated over during his learning.
As the world began to reopen Spyros applied for an Account Manager job at the esteemed furniture design company, Ligne Roset. The owner of the company, himself an ex-designer, saw the passion and potential in Spyros and after only six weeks of a six-month probation period, Spyros was hired as an in-house designer and 3D visualiser. He still considers himself a ‘baby designer’ but his work is already surpassing him with recommendations being passed around between clients.
Image: Verde Olympus project, General Penthouse view, Spyridon Giannakos.
Spyros possesses a unique combination of skills and personality type. He is a passionate designer who believes that ‘everyone, whatever the budget, deserves to live in a beautiful house’ and he values the positive energy of surrounding yourself with creative and interesting things. He embraces the whimsy of creativity and the anarchy of an artist, but he also operates with a strong pragmatic no-nonsense approach.
Spyros cuts through the fluff of chatter to get to the point and this is reflected in his work. It is then no surprise that he favours a maximalist approach where he combines textures, geometry and colour.
A balanced mix of contrasting elements brought together in an interesting way, just like Spyros himself. He is a solution orientated person and coupled with that big creative brain of his, imagination is the solution to any problem. His mantra is ‘be yourself, don’t pretend’ and this is how he approaches his work.
Image: Verde Olympus project, entrance, Spyridon Giannakos.
His experience in the corporate side of design has taught him to deal with the business and with clients but the BAID has ‘changed the layout’ of his brain. Although he has the advantage of knowing the business world he is not interested in sales, he is interested in creating a beautiful space. But Spyros is not unaware of the subjectivity of beauty. When it comes to interior design, it is not a matter of taste, it is a case of a successful design that enhances a space.
Spyros’ creative pragmatism is gold when dealing with a client who has unrealistic expectations. He is so passionate about his work that even though he respects the client's wishes and will always deliver their ideal, he still leaves ‘a little bit of his soul’ in every design, therefore he cannot work with a person he gets a bad feeling from.
Tutors in BAID also believe that if you have a bad relationship with a client, it will be reflected in your design. Luckily this has not happened yet as Spyros is wise enough to know the difference between liking a person and respecting a person. He is not making new friends; he is creating dreams for other people.
Image: Verde Olympus project, Living room balcony, Spyridon Giannakos.
While the client is integral to the work, Spyros had some interesting insights into who you work for, who is your boss, particularly when starting out. When on the lookout for his first designer job, Spyros endured a job interview with a man who had no understanding of Spyros' vision and didn’t respect the work he had done. Spyros knew they could never work together. This kind of relationship stunts creativity and can damage a designer’s confidence.
Designers need a support network who have faith in their talent and trust in their vision.
Image: Verde Olympus project, kitchen from record with magenta, Spyridon Giannakos.
He loves where he is now and Ligne Roset are brilliantly supportive and encouraging. Spyros is never not learning and his appetite for design is insatiable.
Eventually he would like to run his own studio where he can pick and choose his clients and make dreams come true on his own terms. The only thing he asks for is trust, just give him a little faith and he promises to bring the magic.
Inspired by Spyridon's story? Want to pursue a career in interior design? Let's start your learning journey together!