Bureau de Change
We set up Bureau de Change architects about six years ago and it’s been a very intense journey since. We have completed over 30 projects ranging from furniture and installations to residential and commercial refurbishments, retrofits and new-builds to retail and cultural buildings. Even though all of our projects look different (as we try to make them site and client specific) our design methodology is consistent throughout.
Research, material interrogation, innovation and the element of surprise are at the core of our design process. That is something both of us wanted to focus on from the very beginning – we are very aligned in the way we see architecture/design and the way we approach our work.
I went to school in Athens and then came to London to do my architectural degree at University of East London. It was still under Peter Salter at the time and there was a strong focus on materiality, atmosphere and design.
Being the ‘era of starchitects’ I wanted to do my year out in a big practice and got a place at Foster+partners. Working there was one of the most incredible experiences in my career. It was invaluable and shaped my approach to the profession and all the career decisions I made afterwards.
I was exposed to amazing projects and people – that’s where I met Katerina – and got a very good sense of how organization can help optimize efficiency in an architectural environment. I then left and decided to do my masters at the Royal College of Art. I wanted a different kind of experience, one that I was hoping would be less ‘architectural’ and more broad in design terms.
While studying there I somehow found myself in the vehicle design and fashion accessories workshops; making models and working with the communication design students putting together branding strategies for my projects – it was the most diversely creative time of my architectural training.
At the RCA graduation show I was fortunate enough to be asked to design Tate Modern’s 10th anniversary product range and so I quickly set up my own design agency working on projects ranging from a pair of new shops for Tate Britain, products for cultural institutions like the National Theatre, a temporary museum for Selfridges, prints and accessories for fashion designers to exhibitions and marketing material for Art funds.
After two years of doing this the right opportunity came by and we decided with Katerina that it was time to start Bureau de Change.
I went to school in Athens and completed my architectural studies in the University of Thessaloniki, in the north of Greece – a school renowned for its artistic approach to architecture.
I then came to London to do my Masters at the Bartlett under Peter Cook’s guidance – it was his penultimate year at the school. Immediately afterwards, I started working at Foster+Partners where I stayed for almost 5 years.
That is where I met with Billy – he was doing his year out between degree and masters. We became really good friends and very quickly started talking about how one day we could work together. Foster was an amazing environment to get experience, to meet incredible people and learn about architecture not just as a creative outlet but also as a business.
I left Fosters as I wanted a change in the scale of projects and the process overall, so I moved to Heatherwick studio which at the time was only 25 people. I lead the UK Pavilion for the Shanghai Expo 2010 – which was a life changing experience – followed by the Cauldron for the London Olympics 2012 and the Bombay Sapphire distillery in Hampshire.
I worked with incredible makers, fabricators, curators, costume designers, politicians etc, which gave a different dimension to what architecture could be. It was definitely a complementing experience to my time at Fosters.
I really felt at the end of it that I had an all-round experience and was somehow ready to embark on a different journey. Our timing with Billy was perfect and it kind of all fell into place organically.
You can read more about Bureau de Change on their website HERE