Design and creativity are resolutely at the core of the Cuckooz brand. Each of our seven locations have been distinctively designed by established names in the interiors field. Once we have sourced the right designer for the project location, we empower them to take creative control, but ask that their design process takes a nod to the site's heritage - something which is integral to our 'Live Local' brand ethos.
Cuckooz work with Conran for each of our design projects. This has allowed us to strengthen our professional relationship with the brand, as a team of designers work alongside our chosen overarching designer to place furniture of the highest quality and durability in our apartments. As for the finishing touches - it has been a great pleasure of Cuckooz to support local artists and designers when and where we can. Past projects have seen us work with printmaker Libby Needham, artist Joe Gamble, artist and furniture maker Graham Sayle and art network Creative Debut (supporting emerging artists) to create unique pieces for our homes which help promote local talent.
Our goal when designing apartments has always been to create an authentic home from home. Environment can have a powerful impact on our spiritual and mental wellbeing. We create homes which offer much more than a hotel room.
This week we had the pleasure of catching up with Natalie Papageorgiadis, designer of our beautiful Shoreditch apartments; to discuss her inspiration for the project, past work and plans for the future...
Talk to us a bit about your inspiration for the Shoreditch Cuckooz design project – did you have a clear idea about what you wanted to achieve before you started the project , or did it evolve as you went along?
Part of the brief from the Cuckooz team for the Shoreditch project was to create something "specific" to that block of apartments. I began with the historical context of the building itself and was amazed to find that I had hit a goldmine of site specific characteristics and heritage. The building "Hudson's Yard" is a former industrial warehouse of furniture and brassware manufacture. The original entry doors were painted blue on the exterior and so I used blue and gold / yellow tones (to represent brass) as a basis for the colour scheme. This was approved pretty early on. Then the design was developed with customised wallpaper; featuring illustrations of vintage advertisements of the various factories and their trade, that had been based in the local area of the project in Shoreditch, about a hundred years or so ago. I always want to achieve a fresh and fun design. It's the twist, that makes it interesting and sometimes that doesn't come until the final stages.
What are you working on at the moment?
A large five bedroom property in Hertfordshire, where we're looking to specify some statement pieces like this amazing lounge chair by Gufram, a spectacular mirror from Galerie Herve van der Straeten and these really cool resin tables supplied by Ammann Gallery. Also the conversion of an old disused bank into a bar in East Berlin, which I am really excited about..!
Which other designers or artists influence your work?
I am hugely influenced and a great admirer of the designers Patricia Urquiola, India Mahdavi and Ilse Crawford. Patricia for her amazing use of colour and form, her contemporary edge, and the fact that her projects incorporate such a wide span of design disciplines; India for her curvaceous shapes and pastel palette and Ilse for her continued search for well-being through conscientious design. I only discovered these heroines in my early twenties when I started working as a designer in London. The artists that have (and still) influence my work, ever since a young child, are Gerhard Richter and Anselm Kiefer. I think this is probably to do with my German heritage (my mother is from Germany) and having come across their work as a kid. The subjects of their storytelling are stepped in history, which was always fascinating to me, as well as the tactile textures and a sense of destruction which seems to lie at the core of their work. The eminent passion expressed in their art, struck a chord with me as a child and there is no doubt that when working as a creative, you must always remain passionate. There are also so many other contemporary designers out there whose work I think is amazing and continue to inspire me, such as Faye Toogood, the duo behind Studiopepe, the amazing craftsmanship of the artists at Carpenters Workshop Gallery and I love going to trade shows like PAD, Saloni del Mobile and Maison Objet, which are always so spectacular.
You created some fabulous original artwork for the Shoreditch project – is this something you’ve been doing for a while or something new you wanted to try out?
When possible I always like to make artwork specifically for a project. Whenever I have suggested it, I've had a very positive response from clients, which is great. People like having something made especially for them. It adds a very personal layer to the experience of a space as well as giving it a unique and autonomous feel. I've been doing this now for a few projects now since Studionatalie started and is definitely something I seek to continue to do - client willing of course!
Your career has seen you delve into the world of film and set design – what have been your most memorable projects to work on and why?
I absolutely loved working on The Crown, Series 2. It's fascinating and so much fun putting together a period set and then seeing the actors bring it to life. I learnt a lot about the royal family too, especially the members whose plot-lines I worked on in more detail; Princess Margaret, Antony Armstrong Jones and King Edward VIII. You don't always know exactly what's going to make the final cut during filming, so every detail has to be on point. It's a privilege to work around a set the night before shooting and to see it in all it's glory and richness.
You set up studionatalie in 2017 – what are your ambitions for the future?
This year I began brand styling for commercial use. I love putting together a surreal, still life composition and exploring the art of creative storytelling that becomes integral to the image and what draws the audience in. Moving forward with Studionatalie, I'd love to do more art direction like this.
For more information on Natalie's fabulous work, click here.