The Sybarite sat down with Lucy Savanis, Head of Design for private clients at top London-based interior-design firm, Finchatton.
Lucy has more than 10 years experience working with some of the world’s top designers including Philippe Starck, Jade Jagger and Kelly Hoppen.
Born in Canada but brought up in Corfu, Lucy Savanis got a taste for interior design early in life, spending her teenage years rearranging the interior of her parents’ villa. “It kind of became a game” she said, as she details all of the beautiful, ornate furniture that filled her house from around the world. Lucy would surprise her parents with a new composition when they would return from their travels; “I think that’s where the interior design seed was first planted” she says.
Savanis also credits the sleek cafes she visited in New York and Canada as a young adult for her early design inspiration, but will always have a particular penchant for handcrafted pieces. “There are so many things that excite my imagination” she says; “there are so many new materials coming out and old traditions being reinterpreted - the industry is always progressing.”
Having studied architecture at Toronto University, Lucy’s career in the design of luxury property went from strength to strength. In Canada she worked for international designers Yabu Pushelberg before moving to London – which she describes as “a haven for design”– to work for award winning architectural firm WATG. Following this, Savanis worked at Philippe Starck’s Yoo with Jade Jagger on homes and hotels in Bangalore, Moscow and Bali before moving to Finchatton.
Speaking of why she decided to move to the London-based interior design company, Lucy said: “Working at Yoo, almost all of my commissions were all over the world, which was very exciting, but I was longing for a project that would be walking distance so I could be more in control during the realisation process.” Alongside this newfound proximity, it was the firm’s sophistication in its designs and status that attracted her.
Describing her personal style as “harmoniously eclectic”, Savanis says she tends to anchor the main compositions in creamy colours, offset by dark wood and enlightened with unique elements from her travels around the world, such as a petrified wood stool from Thailand and batik cushions from Bali. “If the background is quiet, it allows for all these different eclectic elements to live harmoniously together” she says.
Speaking of her client work, Lucy says: “Every piece has a story and every commission is different because it is very much informed by the client; who they are and what they want their space to reflect.” She says that “I don’t try to impose a space onto them; I want to understand them first then weave their influences into the space.”
Creating a dream property is of course no plain sailing, as Lucy acknowledges that there are a lot of compromises one faces when working on a commission: “Budget, finding the right craftspeople. You need to make sure that they understand the vision and keep your eye on the ball so the vision is not sacrificed.”
Of all the projects she has worked on, Savanis says that there is one that has stayed with her - a five-star hotel in Bali with Jade Jagger due to open in 2018. “It was a great project to work on, not only because I got to live in Bali for three weeks, but just because of the natural environment.”
Despite having travelled all over the world, Lucy’s favourite travel destinations ring true to her upbringing in Corfu. “With my eyes closed, any time of the day you can take me anywhere around the Mediterranean sea and I’ll be the happiest girl in the world. If it’s discovering a new Greek island I haven’t yet been to, the Italian coast, going to Spain, Morocco...there’s just so much to see.” Next on her list, however, is Kyoto, so she can visit the beautiful gardens.
At the moment, Lucy is working on a number of projects closer to home, in and around London, particularly Chelsea. There’s one which she is particularly fond of, keen to see the finished product, likening the basement travertine swimming pool to that of an Aman Hotel Resort.
A ‘normal day at the office’ for Lucy - if you could call it that - involves visiting the sites of some of the nine commissions she's overseeing, as well as meetings with the different design teams and suppliers. She says the team’s goal is to make the composition richer and constantly look out for unique, exquisite details and pieces for their clients. “These days were are loving woven leather and natural stones brought back from Italy - I was there for two days last weekend just choosing the marble slabs for one of the projects here in Chelsea.”
Speaking of her dream project, Lucy says she would love to create a retreat in the English countryside for a renowned chef such as Jamie Oliver or Raymond Blanc, Chef Patron of le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in Oxfordshire.
Lucy’s passion for her craft is undeniable; her face lights up as she describes her projects, using such precise detail in her descriptions that I can picture each perfectly in my mind. If people are born to do anything, I am sure Lucy has well and truly found her calling.
By Aimee Phillips