Designer Profile: Gracinha Viterbo of Viterbo Interior Design

gracinha_01Name: Gracinha Viterbo
Company: Viterbo Interior Design
Position within company: Leading Designer, Head of the Project Department and Managing Partner

Tell us about your background in design (education, experience, etc)

After a full French Education and Baccalaureate at the end of High School, I headed to London where I first did the Foundation course at central Saint Martins College of Art And Design, there I clearly was engaged in Interior Design but had an amazing year of motivation towards many kinds of artistic paths. I applied to Chelsea College of Art and Design also part of the University of the Arts as was St. Martin s and did my BA in Interior and spatial Design.During my Degree I enrolled in many extra curricular courses that completed my curiosities and added on later as Design tools such as photography night course in St. Martin s , nude painting for proportions at St. Martin s, Art History and furniture design summer courses at Victoria and Albert Museum, and book binding. After I graduated from Chelsea, I enrolled in a decorative Arts specialization course at the reknowned Inchbald school of Design where a lot of loose ends were polished, I really think it closed the circle on a memorable time of my Design education that were my London years. In those years I found my creative processes, learned to go outside my own boundaries and think outside the box, but also to respect space and Architecture . I started my career also in London at Kelly Hoppen. And after many years in London , a few reasons made me go back to Portugal and join the Family company that my Mother founded 43 years ago today. My position grew Naturally within the company. I first was assigned responsibilities in our showroom , in that time Hermes also asked me to be their Portugal Window Designer , so I was mainly dealing with commercial. Slowly I progressed into the project department, has residential projects and started to be assigned to hospitality design teams, one very strong arm of our business. Some of my Hotels became international award winning hotels, and in 2005 , at a quite young age in my career I won a 61 Hotel design project in Africa. Our Company continued its path through going global with my Husband, Miguel Stucky, also managing partner leading the company s business side. We opened a showroom and office in Angola Africa 8 years ago, and concentrated mainly in projects in Europe and Africa for a while. Then a client took us to Asia , more specifically Singapore , where we did her third project with Viterbo id. We had had opportunity to work in Asia before, but they were occasional projects. Here, not long after we had more requests for projects , what led to opening officially a branch there 4 years ago. we were working mainly in Singapore, and Bangkok. Today, Viterbo id is present in 3 continents and works all over the world. My Mother retired 7 years ago but as founder remains a Mentor and part of the Creative Council of the Company.

How would you describe your personal interior design style?

I am quite chameleonic. I usually say that I am not a furniture seller I Like to Interpret Lives. My Repertoire in Design History, furniture and culture makes it a challenge to tell a story through the projects I do, and that is my motivation. Every space is a moment, every project tells a story. Of course I am not alone, we are 80 around the world, my team is multicultural and specialized in a variety of different artistic talents .I define the concept and mood of the project, work through all the Interior Architecture and full on Design but compose individually each team for each project within our collaborators at Viterbo id in order to make the project happen. So I am mainly a story teller, a professionalized Artist, and a Globber trotter , an Interpreter of Lives through my projects and Designs.

Where does your design inspiration come from?

One path St Martin s set me on is that of “you can get inspiration in everything. I guess life is made of Layers and I have had the opportunity from my childhood , from a Writer and Glamorous Grandmother, from another side of Artists in the Family, from a career fore Frontier of Interior Design in Portugal as My Mother, to surpass various situations from childhood that have structured my creative process , so I guess my inspiration comes from all these poetic layers I have had the opportunity to set within me , and also a bit of a rebellious temper that make me be a dash fearless in thinking outside the box, in breaking some Design rules in order to make my own. Maybe because I was born into it and feel Design and aesthetics in my blood from morning to night.

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

The one good side is that from an era of “Fashionable” , I see more and more Design heading into individuality, in a sense that it is starting to stand as an identity of an individual rather than just a status. In another hand, I feel that the massification of Design might be a suspension of Disbelief injected in society to blur some frontiers on Quality and artistic merit.

Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2014 and beyond.

  • The road less travelled
  • Connecting emptiness
  • Light as the soul of a moment
  • The power of detail
  • Back to the Future

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

Curate, don t try to show all the ideas that pop into your head .

Select and define.

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

Our profession has a lot of amateurs in the field, that sometimes make it look like an expensive hobby. When amazing professionalized Artist make a true investment of a client s briefing and interpret and deliver with mastery, International Awards, come solidify  the dedication and professionalism of these Artist Designers. The International design and Architecture Awards it is a true step of empowering our profession.

What projects are you currently working on?

I am working mainly in residential projects right now. Viterbo id´s last boutique Hotel has been largely acclaimed by the International press and public ( Hotel Bela Vista & Spa), and I am designing beautiful Homes right now in Brazil, London, Paris, Portugal,  Luanda, Singapore and Thailand.

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

To train our Asian team to grow and solidify our Asian office, as our Head Quarters and African office are very structured already.

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself…

Your most treasured possession?

My 4 Children

Your favourite holiday destination?

I am a Natural born globe trotter so my favourite is always the Last > Cambodja, and the Next > Namibia.

Your favourite hotel / restaurant / bar?

Bela Vista Hotel e Spa the last one that Viterbo id Design is on my mind constantly right now, Hakkasan in London and LA societe in Paris are always  two that I go back to as these 2 cities are like second Homes to me, and Park Bar on top of a garage with one of the most beautiful views of Lisbon would be my choice of Bar right now , trendy and relaxed.

Your favourite book / film / song?

I am a List kind of person so I have a list of each to tell you about, but I shall choose one of each not thinking they are my favourite, but are in my favourite list. Book witters = letters to a young poet= . film= the tango lesson, metropolis, inception . song/ my ipod list depends on my mood and location and activity at the moment.

Your favourite food and drink?

Even though I love many kinds of different food, my cravings through my 4 pregnancies were 100 percent Japanese.

Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?

With no shoes, by the beach, hearing my children]s laughter and the sound of the waves on the background. As I travel a lot, this moment is a luxury, a memory of the heart.

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
I wouldn’t mind trying the cirque du Soleil for a day…

Anything else interesting?

My favourite word is EMPTINESS… because it’s the beginning of everything.