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Now, George Papadopoulos on How Important Strategy is for Your Design Firm

Architect George Papadopoulos, the former of Skinotechniki, talks about what it takes to run a design firm and what an exceptionally important part strategy plays.

Strategy is of primary importance because it helps you to state your own beliefs and objectives, study the market, and then concentrate on creating something unique. My strategy is my philosophy. I need a philosophy so that my clients always know what to expect from me. This is the only way to build trust.

MBA
You don’t need to be “business savvy” but you need to market yourself and what you stand for. I am always trying to put out a message that my firm stands out for certain values –such as bringing people back to nature and closer together, and creating environments where people can express themselves. I do this in practically the same way, as a company will market a consumer product.

Analyzing Projects
I usually take quite a long time analyzing a project. At the beginning of my career as an architect it was taking even longer. I once lost a very important and desperately needed client, because she could not see that we had to spend many meetings talking and analyzing her requirements, before even producing a single drawing.

Inspiration
I spent my childhood summers living in a house next to a stream, in an idyllic landscape covered with pine and plane trees, on the top of Troodos Mountain in Cyprus. The beauty of the landscape filled me with the passion that could only be expressed by attempting to recreate the beauty of nature and at the same time satisfy our basic human needs of living in comfort and safety.

Process
The working process of each project I design is practically the same. Of course there are different requirements, after all an architect serves different clients and works on different building sizes and types. But, I always design as if I am the client. As if the building will be occupied by myself. The design process I went through when I was designing “My house in Lemesos”, I use in all my projects.

It has been challenging to work on different disciplines (architecture, exhibition and museum design, stage and TV design, interactive sculpture and installations) and always attempting to draw from one and bring the lessons learned into the other. Designers should express themselves by introducing principles from other disciplines and cultures into their designs to assist them in producing original solutions. At the same time, I would urge them to concentrate on constantly testing new ways of doing things, and take risks.

Culture
Different cultures have different values and beliefs and they do things in different ways. In each culture I work in, I have to accommodate for those values and beliefs. I discovered that there is no right and wrong way of doing things. There is only a different way. In other words a different strategy based on those beliefs. Working in a culture different than mine, gives me an edge, because I bring with me a unique set of ways from my own culture that can produce original solutions to problems in another culture.


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