In 2007 Emilio co-founded the design firm called Eftychis, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is also a professional architect with over 11 years of experience building functional and innovative homes and retail spaces.
Do you remember when you decided you wanted to be an architect? How old were you and why did you choose architecture?
I do remember. My father is an architect. He taught me to draw and admire buildings from a very young age. He paved the pathway to architecture for me. I traveled extensively with my parents to all corners of the world chasing cathedrals , monuments , museums , houses etc. Architecture and design is in my blood.
What was the most important decision you have taken in your career?
The turning point in my career is when I decided to start my own practice. I had worked for numerous architects in Europe and South Africa , some inspiring and others not. I had decided to quit from an office that had very little design ethic. I was frustrated and uninspired and decided spontaneously to quit and start a company on the very same day. It was difficult , but with some perseverance and some networking , I managed to get some interior design jobs which later snowballed into some bigger architectural projects too.
You have a rich portfolio, do you have any favourite project in there? What do you think was the most important project you have worked at?
All my projects have been quite enjoyable. Educating one’s clients to be more “design aware ” is the challenge. It is the duty of the architect to steer the client in the right direction. Once this is achieved , all projects can be great.
What do you think are the best qualities an architect should have?
Confidence and pride in ones work, to be firm in one’s design ethics, patience, attention to detail.
Passion ,passion, passion.
The ability to continuously reinvent one’s self.
Could you describe your typical ‘start to finish’ work-flow when working on a project?
It always begins on paper! Drawing is the most important mechanism to initiate an idea to life. Working in 3d , exploring volume and space, exploring textures with renderings, finding innovative economic details to meet budget requirements. Consulting with experts and local authorities. Detailed drawings are the key to a good project and regular Site supervision is immensely important too.
How is your workplace?
As an architect, your brain never sleeps. The workplace is your mind. My office is a small and quiet retreat. I carry my sketch book and laptop wherever I go.
Thank you again for your time, do you have any pieces of advice for the young architects who are just beginning their professional life?
Architecture is a lifestyle. An architect needs to breathe design. Immense passion for it is the answer to success. Do what you love and it no longer becomes work. Stick to what you believe in. Do not sell your soul. Strive for excellence and excellence will find you!