Interview with John Stefanidis : design elements


Interview with John Stefanidis

categories Designer, Interviews    

“Style is not merely a method or theme but the intrinsic and instinctive manifestation of the makers spirit and nature.”

John Stefanidis

John Stefanidis is acknowledged as one of the world’s leading interior designers. If there is such a thing as a John Stefanidis “look” it would combine a bold and original use of vibrant color, an eclectic and cosmopolitan aesthetic and, above all, great comfort with style. Born in pre-war Alexandria and educated in Egypt, John moved to the UK to study at Oxford University. After several years in advertising both in London and Milan he began a career in interior design after he renovated a 16th century house on the Greek island of Patmos. In 1967 he established an interior design practice in London. John Stefanidis Brands Limited specialises in the architectural and interior design of both residential properties and hotels across the globe. In the course of designing the interiors of his clients’ houses, John has also created original fabric and furniture ranges which have been influenced by his many travels and his renowned eye for ergonomic design and bold colors. He is also author of 4 books. Reading his book “An Island Sanctuary: A House in Greece” some months ago I ‘d actually felt the breezes blowing through the pages.

How would you describe your own style?

Modern Classicism.

You began a career in advertising first. How did you decide to become a designer?

After leaving Oxford University I worked for CVP (Coleman, Prentice & Varley) advertising agency;  first in London then in Milan.  This taught me about deadlines, efficiency and how to delegate.  Italy also improved my eye and helped me not only to look but to see.  During a holiday in Greece I visited Patmos and so began my career in interior design as friends, some from my Oxford days, bought houses on the island and asked me to restore and upgrade them.  When I returned to London in 1967 I knew I could design and a series of design commissions established my career in interior design.

Is there a designer that has influenced you?

There are no better proportions than those of ancient Greece and designers return to them time-and-time again – the influence of which can be seen in the work of Palladio and Schinkel.

What do you enjoy most in your work?

The endless variation and possibilities.

Which project have you been most proud of?

It is very difficult to choose between a house in Colorado and a ‘yali’ bang on the Bosphorus in Istanbul.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

To have created designs which are still as relevant today as when I first developed them.  My Cloud Tables in brass or chrome have not dated and are still in great demand.

What inspires your creativity?

Travel trains the eye to develop a renew a visual vocabulary, this,  and a discerning eye have been a great source of inspiration.

What is your idea of what a beautiful home should feel like?

Maximum luxury in simple surroundings, not grand surroundings with little luxury.

I’ve read all of your books. ‘An Island Sanctuary: A House in Greece’ is my favourite.  You designed your house on the island of Patmos in the Dodecanese with such bold simplicity and allure.  How do you achieve this?

Practice, experience, skill and constant refinement over time.

What is your advice to upcoming designers?

It is often argued that possessing an eye is a gift.  Whatever the talent is has to be acknowledged, nurtured and trained.  Sensibility must be cultivated, questioned, defined and revised to avoid atrophy. Keep to ‘drop dead’ dates and pay attention to detail.

What does success mean to you?

My work is very gratifying and I enjoy meeting new clients from all over the world.

My Signature Design Elements question – what are the most important design elements?

My design watchwords are light and colour, comfort and practicality, beauty and elegance, conviviality and seduction and, of course, classicism with a touch of the eclectic.

In my profession, rooms may have to be stripped, reassembled or reinvented depending on the type of building – old or new, rustic or urban, by the sea or in the hills.  All this and more must be taken into account and last, but not least, the wishes, aspirations and fantasies (both known and unknown) of the future occupants carefully considered.

photo credit: John Stefanidis Brands Limited and desire to inspire


23 Kommentare zu “Interview with John Stefanidis”

  1. mada am 09.02.2011 um 08:58 Uhr 

    the instinctive manifestation of the makers spirit and nature has to be on the same page with the persons’ spirit and nature that leave there

  2. Cez am 09.02.2011 um 13:20 Uhr 

    great interview….so british; his work too!!! he’s a great person

  3. Susan am 09.02.2011 um 13:28 Uhr 

    Thanks for sharing – I love those rooms, especially the bathroom at the end!

  4. maureen lynne am 09.02.2011 um 14:58 Uhr 

    I like his comments on training the eye to seee details and that travel has enhanced his design abilities… it’s so true…
    lovely interview..

  5. ahhhlala am 09.02.2011 um 16:54 Uhr 

    I love the picture of the bath it,s so gorgeus.
    have a nice day

  6. quintessence am 09.02.2011 um 17:45 Uhr 

    Terrific interview with one of the all time design GREATS. Love everything he does – “light and colour, comfort and practicality, beauty and elegance, conviviality and seduction and, of course, classicism with a touch of the eclectic. Doesn’t get any better than this!!

  7. FAY HART FLORENCE ITALY am 09.02.2011 um 18:22 Uhr 

    hi love the rooms especially the coral mirror

    im off to London tomorrow for 2 weeks fay xx

  8. Priscilla Joy am 09.02.2011 um 18:37 Uhr 

    The red mirror in the bathroom is amazing.

  9. George am 09.02.2011 um 19:20 Uhr 

    Thanks for an interesting interview. I also like the interiors you showed.

  10. Tereza am 09.02.2011 um 20:40 Uhr 

    Maria, thanks for sharing this interview, I like Stefanidis’s work very much.
    What a gorgeous red mirror, looks like a coral.
    I can picture this mirror in a beautiful beach house, wouldn’t be perfect?

  11. florence am 09.02.2011 um 21:32 Uhr 

    me encantan los sillones anaranjados del salón de tonos amarillos, qué gustazo pegarse una siesta en uno de ellos!!

  12. design traveller am 09.02.2011 um 22:33 Uhr 

    Conviviality and seduction, I like that… a lot :)
    I have to read “An Island Sanctuary”!

  13. Ingrid am 09.02.2011 um 22:40 Uhr 

    Thanks! Another great interview, they are so interesting…I love his quote.

    You have to look under my last post, we are some girls dreaming of a “blogvacation”, wanna join?

    Hugs, Ingrid :)

  14. Kathy am 10.02.2011 um 15:31 Uhr 

    An inspirational interview….”classicism with a touch of the eclectic”…I love his style sensibility…Thank you for sharing this interview… k

  15. mary jo am 10.02.2011 um 18:50 Uhr 

    When I look at his work what strikes me is the elegance and the use of light. He’s truly a master of his craft. Thank you Maria for another fab interview!

    xo Mary Jo

  16. Stephie am 10.02.2011 um 22:10 Uhr 

    I love this interview. He is so inspirational! The only thing I like more than the interview is the red coral mirror – love it! Hope the week has been good to you, Stephie x

  17. maureen lynne am 11.02.2011 um 23:53 Uhr 

    that’s so true…
    and we remember with whom too…

  18. Splendid Willow am 12.02.2011 um 00:33 Uhr 

    I would love to spend some time in Mr. Stefanidis head! He knows what he is talking about and look at his stunning rooms! And so true that ancient Greek style is timeless and always perfect in its proportions.

    Good job, Maria!


  19. Splendid Willow am 12.02.2011 um 00:33 Uhr 

    I would love to spend some time in Mr. Stefanidis head! He knows what he is talking about and look at his stunning rooms! And so true that ancient Greek style is timeless and always perfect in its proportions.

    Warm hugs to you both,


  20. Wendy Altschuler am 12.02.2011 um 03:21 Uhr 

    beautiful designs. I love that pink bathroom!

  21. La sonrisa de Hiperión am 12.02.2011 um 09:27 Uhr 

    Hoy paso a cierta velocidad… Ando de tiempo como de títulos nobiliarios, vamos ninguno. Sólo decirte que es un placer verte de vez en cuando por mi espacio, y te doy las gracias por ello.

    Saludos y un abrazo.

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    Set your life more easy take the personal loans and everything you require.

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