SHE' S GOT AN EYE FOR DESIGN - INTERVIEW WITH ALEXANDRA KOUMBA

by Alexandra Koumba | February 10, 2015

http://patchworkcompass.com/post/5534488639/shes-got-an-eye-for-design-an-interview-with

SHE' S GOT AN EYE FOR DESIGN

INTERVIEW WITH ALEXANDRA KOUMBA 

by Nora Walsh

 

After opening up Greece’s first ever Decorative Arts gallery focused on 21st century pieces, Greek designer Alexandra Koumba has expanded her interior design firm and art gallery into a thriving jewelry and home collection, is sourcing furniture for New York’s top antique galleries, and has been chosen as the accessories designer for The Special Olympics 2011 World Summer Games in Athens, Greece. Alexandra shares with Patchwork Compass how she got here and why she’s decided to make the move to New York City.

PC: Your company is called i4d, which stands for “Eye for Design”, what is the symbolism behind the “eye” found in your logo and many of your accessory collections?

AK: The “eye” is the Greek and Middle Eastern symbol that protects you against other’s negative intentions. It is a strong cultural symbol that I believe in, so I incorporated it into my logo and applied it to my design collections.

PC: How did you end up opening Greece’s first decorative arts gallery?

AK: I have been designing for almost a decade. I started as an interior designer in 2003, designing mostly residences. I was consistently sourcing decorative furniture pieces and decided to open up a gallery to house these feature pieces, which I intended to use in future interior design projects. The pieces I collected are from top designers of each decade from the 30s to the 70s.


PC: Where do you find your antiques?

AK: I find them all over the world at auctions, top galleries, even flea markets.

PC: Some of your furniture pieces are being exhibited at Newel Gallery in the Upper East Side correct?

AK: Yes! I am thrilled that one of the world’s top antique dealers is exhibiting my post-war furniture collection. Some of my favorites pieces they’re showcasing include a set of 6 “Gazelle” 1950s verdigris patinated bronze chairs that have been voted in the top 50 chairs of the century, a set of monumental doors with a sunburst design from Mohammed Ali’s estate, and also, one of my personal favorites, a 1969 German designed “Sunball” loveseat-cascade made out of yellow fiberglass. It is a spherical shaped adjustable chaise lounge with brown cushions, a pivoting tray and a backlight. There were only 11 made in the world and it is so cool. It was a hard piece to give up!

PC: Can anyone walk into Newel and see the furniture, or is it a private gallery that you need an appointment?

AK: Saturday is the only day you need an appointment, but Monday through Friday anyone can walk in from 8:30am-5:00pm. The gallery is located on East 53rd Street between 1st Avenue and Sutton Place. You can also see the furniture online at www.newel.com and search KOU, and all my pieces will come up.

PC: What inspired to launch a jewelry and home accessories collection?

AK: As an evolution of i4d’s interior design services, I really wanted to create a collection that could be applied to everyday personal objects. I also do custom gifts. I have designed bespoke pieces for weddings, anniversaries, and corporate gifts. I am very thrilled because I launched my line in 2009, and one month later I was invited to show at Henri Bendel and was picked up by Anik boutique in the Upper East Side. Demand has been increasing, which is always a positive sign. The evil eye must be working [she laughs].

PC: With the success of your accessories line have you decided to focus more this area than interior design?

AK: I have moved to New York City because it allows me the opportunity to design in many forms. I think of design as an overall perspective where I can work with function, scale, and materials in a creative way. I don’t want to narrow myself down to one form, I would rather explore them all.

PC: Tell us about your Special Olympics Summer Games 2011 collection.

AK: I was chosen to design the official jewelry and accessories for the Special Olympics Summer Games taking place this June. The line is sold on the Special Olympics website and 10% of all the jewelry sales will be donated to the cause. I was so excited create a line that would raise awareness for this special event.

PC: What’s next Alexandra Koumba and “Eye for Design”?

AK: Right now I am designing my spring 2012 jewelry and home collection, which I am hoping to distribute worldwide next year, and continue to challenge my creativity with interesting interior design projects.

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