Designer in Profile- Gracinha Viterbo Creative Director/ Partner of Viterbo Interior Design

. Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)_MG_0561-14

I had a French education growing up , then was trained in Saint Martins college of Art, London for a Foundation Yea. I chose Interior and Spatial design BA at Chelsea College of Art and Design both part of the UNIVERSITY OF THE ARTS in London. After my degree I specialized in Interior Design at the renowned London school INCHBALD school of Design. I started my career in London as a junior assistant at Kelly Hoppen Studio,and returned to Portugal some time after to join my family business. I joined as head of our beautiful showroom in Lisbon, I was head buyer, creative director and managed all of the shops Projects and clients along with a small team. Later I joined the headquarters as an intermediate Assistant and worked my way to senior managing large hotel chain projects , and residential projects abroad mainly in Europe , Africa and Asia . 9 years ago, my Mother retired and I was appointed President and partner of the company.

. How would you describe your personal interior design style?

Ecclectic. But I don’t stick to that style, I am quite interchangeable and like interpreting the brief, the client, the location and evolving from there. I love classical and traditional designs and am also very much seduced by minimalistic and more modern approaches.

. Where does your design inspiration come from?
In st martins we learn that the words of another Alumni, Sir Paul Smith “WE CAN FIND INSPIRATION EVERYWHERE; AND IF YOU CAN’T LOOK AGAIN!”

. In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?

Design is clearly moving back to basics in terms of Artisans being appreciated again, crafts being sustained by projects and coming back to life sometimes with modern interpretations but still keeping the poetry that only crafted arts have. Design is getting very tailor-made and personalized, in comparison to the 80ºs, 90ºs or beginning 2000 where it was all about mass produced, industrialized Design.

. Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2015 and beyond.

1)Decorative Painting / it is being brought back in to Interiors, with Faux Marbles in furniture, handmade wallpapers, and fabrics.
2)Kitchens and Bathrooms are the luxuries at home, more and more detailed in design and approach. We want to design homes you do not need a vacation from and all commodities are getting more and more detailed.
3)Collecting– Art, design, antiques are again top of the list to construct a coherent design that is not just about aesthetics but also sets a mood , a story.
4)Mad Man Mood – the 40ºs and 50ºs moods are still very much in tune with the moods clients are looking for in 2015 but are acquiring a certain futuristic line .
5)ceci n´est pas une pipe mood – the painting by Magritte suggests that a pipe he has drawn is not a pipe after all , and Design is going in that direction. Spaces are acquiring new senses and purposes and the Home is more and more looked at the full circle of the 5 senses. Clients are living the Home again, hosting more and more, and investing in personalized moods that set their identity.

. If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to interior design schemes, what would it be?

Hire a Professional! If you think it s expensive to hire a professional…try hiring an amateur!! Now seriously, my four must do questions when approaching any decision from A to Z in a design scheme are, What? HOW? For Where? With what intention? Without these questions answered it might not fit, might not work in the scheme, etc, etc, etc. What we love in a website, a magazine, a commercial, might not work the same way in our home.

. How important are The International Design and Architecture Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?

IT is an honour to be shortlisted and Winning them is the recognition of the everyday effort and dedication of myself and the whole team that supports me day and night if necessary throughout the year to make happen amazing projects , in special places to special clients. The International Design and Architecture Awards are a stamp of Talent and professionalism I would be honoured to pass on to the future projects I have in hand.

. What projects are you currently working on?

Many residential projects from Apartments to Landed Homes in Europe, Luanda and Asia , and 2 hotels.

. What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?

We celebrate 45 years of existence this year, so it is a good year for us! I have been gathering a multi cultural team in the last 2 years we have 7 different nationalities and this has strengthened our full scope of projects. Our aims and goals are to keep on growing our presence in Asia and show all the crafts and Art expertise we have been gathering in the last 45 years as a great added value to any project in Europe, Asia or Africa through a new Marketing and press department. We are intending to establish a new office in London and Dubai to be closer to our clients in these countries

. Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself
Your most treasured possession? My family, husband and 4 children from 5 to 11
Your favourite holiday destination? This planet. I am a globe trotter, travel a lot of the months of the year and anywhere I will get inspired. Now places I ALWAYS go back to are Lisbon, Paris, London, Venice and New York.
Your favourite hotel / restaurant / bar? Mmm difficult question I have many depending on the mood and place I am in ! all SOho Houses are brilliant and I identify a lot with the whole SOHO HOUSE mission and projects. I also go back to one of my last designs which is the First Portuguese Restaurant in Singapore called BOCA with amazing fresh authentic Portuguese cuisine with a twist set in a three floor restaurant painted in a very traditional Farrow and Ball blue and 750 ceramic swallows flying around.
Your favourite book / film / song? Book , film all woddy allens movies, I don t have a favourite music, I have a favourite Play list – from David Bowie, to the Rolling stones , guns and roses or Maria Callas , Ella Fitzgerald, and Cold play, I go full circle in genres depending on my mood and setting
Your favourite food and drink? Could not live without soup, and very much into fruit and veggie juices.
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon? (in no more than 25 words)
My Favourite way to spend an afternoon, would be walking in the Streets of St. Germain in Paris and visiting all my favourite antique shops and galleries as also in fabric and lifestyle shops where I get lost in Beautiful objects and get Inspired by the impeccable taste.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?

For one day I would like to work in the Cirque du Soleil ….but then I would go into being a Designer!!

Anything else interesting?

I have just launched a Head Couture Site , as my signature is always these head pieces I design with accessories I find in antique shops and vintage fabric, this has evolved naturally and between clients and friends I have come to start designing for others, with a big surprising response, this on the side project has evolved into a real online store and after designing my own furniture, upholstery, carpets , kitchens, paint collection and toilet furniture design, I head on the side towards Life After Design, with accents that can empower my clients to be unique too. It all comes together under this movement towards IDENTITY, which I think is a big step into fulfilment to someone’s life.