Constantinos Economides (Cyprus, 1980) runs his own design studio since 2011 in Nicosia, Cyprus, creating furniture, accessories, lighting designs and interior spaces. Constantinos graduated in Industrial Design, at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. He gained experience in several several design and architectural practices, such as Michael Sodeau Studio in London. His work has been featured in exhibitions in Athens, Palermo, London, Milan, Valencia, China and Cyprus.
In 2008, Constantinos had formed with Brian Ward and Valentina Anania, WEdid ID+A, an industrial design practice/studio. Since 2012, the studio has been operating in Nicosia and Los Altos, after Brian and Valentina decided to move back to California.
In 2008 until 2011, Constantinos also had worked with the Campana Brothers for the redesign and renovation of the Olympic Hotel near Syntagma Square in the heart of Athens. The redesign was borne of an exclusive partnership between the Brothers and Dakis Joannou, owner of YES! Hotels. Constantinos was part of a workshop group that was consisted of a group of 10 young design and architecture professionals, that provided an important part of the renovation project with an injection of ideas.
Nowdays, while running his own studio, he is part of DRAW Collective (Marina Sofroniou, Marios Charalambous and Omiros Panayides) which design products for their in-house label and also work with industry locally providing designs for manufacture.
Design begun as a profession, or at least it has nowadays, developed into one that has acquired an invisible association with industrial production, fulfilling the needs of mass consumerism. Design practices are contributing to a wasteful consumption pattern we see in many Western
societies, whereas design can become a tool to tackle such social problems that have risen.
We have ended up being a “kleenex culture” (Victor Papanek, Design for the real world, 1971), consequently that consumerism is regarded by Sociologist Robert Bocock as a crucial socio – cultural tendency that derives from the sense of not having or possessing something. Moreover, design critic Enzio Manzini suggested the concept of “semiotic pollution” for the confusion of signs and images, too many for us to consume. He proposed that many forms and products have no meaning.
Based on the above, design is driven and motivated more frequently, by commercial necessities and personal reputation, as it has evolved as a commercial, industrial, professional activity, rather than by social benefit.
Can design become a vehicle in addressing social problems?
The potential lies in the process of designing and not in “design” as an outcome. Design thinking is a process that is human-centred, focusing on the needs of the people who will be using the solution / end product or service. Design itself is not the answer to any quick solutions and can´t alone solve the huge complications we are facing. However if we cooperate such as with politicians, law and entrepreneurs to use design thinking, it can offer a better chance to solve the problems facing us all.