Furniture design

Crafting playful, linear, and modular design, with sustainability in mind

How Dedàleo’s commitment to extensive research and user feedback shapes tailored, innovative design solutions for a dynamic market.

In this feature, we delve into the world of Ntaiana Charalampous, architect and designer whose roots span from Milan, Italy, to Cyprus. Ntaiana’s journey into the design realm began at Politecnico di Milano, where she specialized in Interior Architecture. Her diverse experiences in Milan and Cyprus propelled her to establish Dedàleo, a design studio that epitomizes innovation and sustainability.

Charalampous’ design philosophy is marked by a unique blend of steel’s playful, linear, and modular applications, underpinned by a commitment to sustainability. This distinct approach sets Dedàleo apart, emphasizing flexibility, durability, and aesthetic appeal in their projects. Her inspiration draws from the Bauhaus movement, Italian modernism, and the pioneering spirit of Eileen Gray, alongside influences from art and urban life, enriching Dedàleo’s creative output.

Ntaiana Charalampous, Founder of Dedàleo

Let’s explore Ntaiana Charalampous’s journey, philosophy, and her distinctive approach to design!

Who is Ntaiana Charalampous? How did your venture into the realm of design kick off, and what factors influenced your decision to pursue this career trajectory?

Ntaiana Charalampous:

“As an architect and designer with roots in Milan, Italy, and Cyprus, my journey in design began with a focus on Interior Architecture at Politecnico di Milano. My experiences in these diverse locales fueled my ambition to forge meaningful and innovative design solutions, leading to the establishment of Dedàleo, a studio committed to pushing the boundaries of innovation and sustainability.

In 2020, my work received significant acclaim when I won a competition to redesign luxury watch boutiques, bringing my designs to prestigious venues like Dubai Mall and Al Jimi Mall in Abu Dhabi, alongside expansions into Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. This project also earned the distinction of the German Design Award Special 2024. My engagement at the Salone Satellite events in 2022 and 2023 allowed me to present my concepts to a wide audience and connect with key figures in the design world.

The German Design Council recognized my modular kitchen design, “ilo+milo 2.0,” with the German Design Award Special in 2023. Additionally, my “Snap Armchair” limited edition was showcased among the works of emerging designers at the esteemed La Rinascente Milano.”

8. Snap Armchair by Ntaiana Charalampous _ Dedaleo _© Elina Costantinou
Snap Armchair by Ntaiana Charalampous, Dedàleo, © Elina Costantinou

Could you elaborate on any distinctive or characteristic design techniques or methodologies that distinguish your approach from other design studios in the industry?

Ntaiana Charalampous:

“My portfolio stands out for its consistent incorporation of steel, which defines a design philosophy that is playful, linear, and modular, with a strong emphasis on sustainability. The integration of steel frames not only introduces a distinctive aesthetic and functional quality to my designs but also enhances their flexibility, durability, and visual appeal. Utilizing the versatile nature of steel, I strive to craft dynamic and adaptable spaces and products that respond to changing needs and tastes.

Furthermore, Dedàleo’s dedication to eco-friendly practices is manifest in our careful choice of materials and building techniques, aiming to reduce the environmental impact of our projects while improving their durability and resilience.”

8. Snap Armchair by Ntaiana Charalampous _ Dedaleo _© Elina Costantinou
8. Snap Armchair by Ntaiana Charalampous, Dedàleo, © Elina Costantinou

Your studio is described as multidisciplinary. What does this entail? Which disciplines do you incorporate, and how do they interact and evolve within the projects you undertake?

Ntaiana Charalampous:

“Dedàleo, a versatile design studio, blends architecture, product design, and graphic design to enrich its projects. Take the D1 Milano Watch Bar project, for instance, where architectural concepts shape the space, and bespoke furniture along with graphic design elements bolster brand presence and messaging. This cross-disciplinary strategy sparks innovation and yields unified, compelling design outcomes. Furthermore, I envision Dedàleo as a hub for collaboration among design experts, promoting dialogue and the intermingling of ideas to further enhance the creative journey.”

Ilo+Milo _set 1 _ 1st edition by Dedaleo _ Ntaiana Charalampous
Ilo+Milo kitchen, 1st edition, by Ntaiana Charalampous, Dedàleo

How integral is research and user feedback to your design process? How insights are gathered and integrated into your designs?

Ntaiana Charalampous:

“Dedàleo’s design methodology heavily emphasizes research and user feedback. The studio engages in extensive research and analysis to grasp the nuances of user requirements, market dynamics, and environmental considerations that influence design choices. By employing diverse techniques such as surveys and observational studies, Dedàleo gains a comprehensive understanding of user inclinations and habits. These valuable insights are woven into the fabric of the design process, guaranteeing that the outcomes are precisely aligned with the desires and anticipations of the target audience.”

If you were to select one of your completed projects that embodies your design philosophy the most, which one would it be, and why?

Ntaiana Charalampous:

“The ilo+milo 2.0 modular kitchen system is a prime example of my design ethos. This acclaimed project highlights my dedication to sustainability and designing with the user in mind. Its highly modular design affords users unparalleled flexibility and customization options. By utilizing eco-friendly materials and incorporating deliberate design choices, the system champions functionality while upholding environmental stewardship.”

Ilo+Milo 2.0 by Dedaleo _ Ntaiana Charalampous
Ilo+Milo 2.0 by Ntaiana Charalampous, Dedaleo

Which designers/architects are you inspired or influenced by? What other fields and inputs outside of the design world provide you inspiration?

Ntaiana Charalampous:

“My design philosophy is profoundly shaped by the Bauhaus’s focus on blending functionality, simplicity, and artistic expression, guiding my preference for clean lines, modular structures, and eco-conscious materials. The elegance, craftsmanship, and meticulous attention to detail characteristic of Italian modernism also play a significant role in shaping my design approach. As a woman in design, I am particularly inspired by Eileen Gray’s innovative spirit and her significant impact on modern design, especially her work on spatial fluidity and prioritizing user needs.

My inspiration extends beyond design to the arts and daily life experiences, from the dynamic colors in a piece of art to the rhythm of urban life. These varied inspirations are integral to Dedàleo’s creative endeavors, defining our unique design vocabulary while promoting a culture of relentless curiosity and innovation.”

Snap Armchair by Ntaiana Charalampous, Dedaleo, © Elina Costantinou

What is the most important piece of advice for fresh graduates in the design field?

Ntaiana Charalampous:

“I recommend that recent graduates cultivate a spirit of curiosity, maintain steadfastness, and commit to lifelong learning. Additionally, forging solid connections within the industry and remaining faithful to one’s own vision and principles are crucial. Embracing collaboration and drawing inspiration from a wide array of sources are essential steps toward achieving success in the design profession.”


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