Like two princesses in a luxury castle, designer Dianna Karvounis and architect Vivian Philippa are surrounded by their self-produced beauty in an elevated studio in uptown Athens, Greece.
The only difference is that these two have no intention of waiting for
the proverbial white knight, because they’ve already found what they
were looking for in each other. Their fated meeting through a common
friend led to a successful business partnership, whose origin was almost poetic: ''Our partnership was very organic,'' says Philippa, ''based on countless hours of productive conversation.''
Inspired by a sociological study on the Kalahari dessert - brought to
their attention by an ambitious client – their first joint venture was
to create a collection that would translate a theoretical text into a
series of representative objects. The client was supposed to take her
favorite designs into the next phase of large-scale production, but the
negotiations broke down half way through. Not that this had any effect
on their creative flow: ''We liked the idea so much that we kept
working on it regardless, and once the Kalahari Collection was finished
about six months later, we decided to display some of the items in our
shop window,'' says Karvounis. ''Next thing you know, I receive
a phone call from that same client, telling me she had seen something
she wanted from our window display. As it turns out, it was the exact
same thing we had designed for her, although she’d never actually laid
eyes on the finished product!''
Taking this sign of synergy as a good omen, the two merged their business activities under the Two is Company flag in 2009 and have been complementing each other’s aesthetics ever since. Stepping into their world is a holistic experience. Dianna Karvounis, a Sarah Lawrence alumni with a Pratt masters degree in Industrial Design, has a strong New York sensibility and a personality to match. The dk studio is liberally sprinkled with her signature multi-purpose grids - which are evident everywhere from carpets and lamps, to room dividers and fireplace screens-, strong geometrical patterns and heavy precious woods that combine her primal, earthy aesthetic with a sophisticated, luxurious finish. Softly spoken Vivian Philippa on the other hand, is the kind of girl you can listen to for hours. In fact, if you don’t watch what you’re doing, you might find yourself bumping into doors and spilling a large variety of drinks while your attention is wholeheartedly captivated by her. ''Oh, I only sound like a sweetheart, I assure you,'' says the architect who has been involved in anything from urban planning, to hotel refurbishment and landscape design since 2002. ''If I want something, I make sure I get it.'' And what she wants right now is a challenge.
With a view to the international market, the duo is well attuned to the 21st century, juggling a twitter account, a company Facebook page and a tumblr, while at the same time pointing out custom-made furniture, serving up drinks and leafing through books from favorite influencers (''Class Act : William Haines, Legendary Hollywood Decorator'' is an eccentric must-see, along with vintage photographs from the legendary Klismos Collection designed by T.H. Robjohn-Gibbings for Saridis in the 60s and photographed on location at Greek archaeological sights). In short, Two is Company is the kind of outfit that doesn’t need to be based anywhere specifically, much less in a country like Greece, where raw material is getting harder and harder to find. Their natural habitat is the hearts of their faithful clientele, which will hopefully spread across the Atlantic as they prepare for their next move…
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