The Design Process

Interview with Alex Labridis, Founder & Managing Director at OWN LONDON.

OWN London Managing Director, Alex Labridis.

OWN LONDON offers a unique proposition: a full-service multidisciplinary studio which covers every aspect from initial consultation to installation. How does this collaborative approach affect your design process?


Here at OWN LONDON, we are a team of individuals. Everyone has their own specialist discipline which we integrate to deliver a streamlined and highly efficient result for our clients. This start-to-finish collaboration means that delivery is considered far earlier in the process than usual. If the construction team identifies any potential restrictions or opportunities they will inform the design team, and vice versa. Our approach means that our clients only need to deal with one party, ensuring they receive a high and consistent level of service across all fronts.


What sets your design process apart from other studios?


We are a very international and diverse studio and the backgrounds of each team member contributes towards creating a unique environment. This leads us to consider our designs from different angles and perspectives. From spatial planning and architecture through to interior design, each individual contributes their own point of view. Our holistic, collaborative approach means that the team can focus on the details which will ultimately influence the successful delivery of the project.


How do your interior design and architecture teams interpret your clients’ needs, tastes, and aspirations?


It all starts with the client brief. Through this, we will gather as much information as possible to understand their goals and needs. During this stage, we will test their style and taste by presenting them with various design options which are driven by the team but influenced by the client’s personality, lifestyle, and personal psychology. We then move onto design in the home, providing ideas for fully utilising the space and functionality, as well as the details which will finish the room. Walk throughs via headsets – the next big thing in the industry – help the client to envisage navigating and living in the property.

How does your interior design team portray their visions and ideas?


It is almost impossible for clients to visualise plans, so we utilise digital tools such as CGI, renders, and 3D, as well as hand-drawn and watercolour sketches. Clients can sometimes find CGIs intimidating as they appear to be the finished article rather than part of an ongoing dialogue, so hand sketches and watercolours come into their own. That human, artistic element makes them feel more like a work in progress and has the effect of simultaneously inspiring and reassuring the client.


What do hand sketches and watercolours capture that computer drawings cannot?


Hand sketches and watercolours are sensorial in a way that CGI is not. We find that our clients really love this medium, and it helps them to think in a different way – it is a fantastic tool for getting feedback during the design process. While CGI works brilliantly for modern or contemporary designs, hand sketching captures an eclectic style in a far more evocative and impactful way. Design technology is developing exponentially but hand sketches will never disappear.

What role does art play in OWN LONDON’s design process?


More and more we find that our clients have a passion and a need for art. By the same token, our design team is very inspired by art and sculpture, and helping clients to choose personal pieces which they love then informs the rest of the space. Ensuring there is the perfect place to display the art is a key driver in the design process. We want to create spaces which have an ambience and atmosphere and that provoke a response from our client, just like a piece of art would.


How does the multidisciplinary nature of OWN LONDON help you to successfully deliver your designs?


Because our designs are informed at the earliest stages by the expertise of the construction team, we can efficiently deliver exactly what we design. There is a huge amount of educational flow throughout the business, for example the construction team learning about the client’s needs and desires, and our craftsmen working with the design team to push the boundaries and create ever more challenging designs. While some new studios are looking to integrate a wider spectrum of services, OWN LONDON is the only design studio which has construction in house.