Designer Profile: Stefano Koukas – Director & Chief Designer at Squaredmk

Name: Stefano Koukas Squared MK
Company: Squared MK
Position within company: Director – Chief Designer

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

I graduated with a MSc in Yacht Design at the European Institute of Design after completing my studies in Naval Design and Architecture at the University of Genoa (Italy).

Since then, I have been working for world famous design offices and styling studios, such as Quartostile and Tony Castro Yacht Design, where I was an integral part of the award winning design team, collaborating at the development, styling and management of several projects.

A few years ago I started my own company, SquaredMK. My determination and creativity led me towards the business and marketing side of the luxury market, but the essence of all of my works remains my passion for design and styling.

What direction do you feel design is moving towards in general terms?

Design is substantially moving in two directions. The first is quite eccentric, made up of singular projects extremely luxurious and usually kept very private.

On the other hand, a wider public is choosing the branded luxury and, by doing so, buying the name of the brand, more than looking for quality, performance and durability – values that define what luxury really is. In this way, the image and the influence of the brand has become synonymous of quality and trust. And in many cases, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2018 and beyond.

– Image
– Brand
– Style
– Influence
– Network.

Where do you feel yacht and aviation design is going in terms of schemes?

I reckon design is moving towards the same direction mentioned above and distancing itself from high standards and quality.

What projects are you currently working on?

I am currently developing some yachts projects, including explorer vessels, tenders, and furniture design.

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

Do it for yourself. If you love your design, others will do too.

Creating only following other’s ideas and judgements usually leads to weak designs, especially if you deal with people who often change their minds about what they are looking for or don’t have strong starting points. Good designers have vision and gut. They only have to be lucky and meet the right clients.

What products/services could you not live without when designing?

Paper, my pen and my note pad.

How important are The International Yacht and Aviation Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?

As a young professional, they are quite important to me and they are definitely another opportunity to show the industry what design means for me.

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

Design is my starting point and my goal. It is the passion and the dedication I put into every single project. It is the obsession every creative mind has for its work and through it to challenge itself.

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself:

I believe I belong to a different breed of designers. I pursue values and morals that have been lost through the years and this might be why I connect better with older designers and more experienced clients.

Not very often have I had the opportunity to meet young creatives or clients who feel and chase the same things in their work and dreams. And it is definitely a shame to see many talented professionals focusing on appearing rather than being.

Your favourite place to travel to in the world?
Your most treasured possession?
Your favourite hotel, restaurant and bar?
Your favourite food and drink?
The place that enables you to totally relax?
The place that gives you most inspiration?
Any final thoughts?

You wouldn’t read a book if you already knew it cover to cover!