Architecture and interior design with a personal touch
TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE | MAIN PHOTO: GLASS DIAMOND HOTEL VIEUX MANOIR, MURTEN. PHOTO: © WALTER MAIR
Architecture and interior design firm GREGO, in Zurich, designs spaces with captivating atmospheres and which promote an individual character throughout. The two founders, Jasmin Grego and Stephanie Kühnle, not only keep innovating their own craft and growing with every new challenge, but they also work with a very personal approach. The results are interiors in which we humans thrive and feel a wonderful sense of well-being.
Jasmin Grego and Stephanie Kühnle met on the very first day of their studies at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH). Both standing in front of the noticeboard, they quickly realised that they were able to answer each other’s questions. Looking back, it is clear that this was a match made in heaven, because now, so many years later, they still complement each other perfectly and have created the ideal environment for running a company for architecture and interior design together.
Jasmin Grego and Stephanie Kühnle. Photo: © Lionel Henriod
The decision to work together on day one of knowing each other was certainly the right choice. Their firm not only enjoys a great reputation, but it also has a large client base and gets recommended frequently by their happy customers.
Just like the work dynamic between Grego and Kühnle has not changed over the years, their passion and fascination for the craft remains unaltered. “Architecture and interior design allow us to think and act in different systems. On the one hand, there is the vision, which is a place where thoughts can move freely and where entire worlds can be developed,” says Grego. “On the other hand, there is the reality we live in, where ideas and visions have to be tested, developed further and then realised. Construction makes our visions and thoughts finally visible. We can materialise them and turn them into something palpable. This is incredibly fascinating and we learn a lot through it. We continue to grow and our work keeps presenting exciting new challenges.”
“Once a project is realised, it needs to be able to live and function independently.”
The client base of GREGO is varied and includes hotels, restaurants and bars, stores, office buildings, exhibition spaces, retirement homes and private buildings. But what most of the projects Grego and Kühnle work on have in common, is that they are usually highly complex with a significant focus on details.
The duo’s speciality is the creation of rooms with a lot of atmosphere and identity. For them, it is not so much about having their own unique signature style, but instead, it’s about having a signature workflow. Grego adds: “We don’t just develop stylistic and formal worlds, but also create concepts regarding content and strategy.” Aside from great technical expertise, having a sense of human understanding is equally important to designing a space successfully. Years of experience of working with so many different people are a true advantage in the field. Grego and Kühnle recognise that they have learned from each and every client, which enables them to design such personal projects and prototypical architecture and interior design.
The clients and the future users take centre-stage. Their wishes and requirements are worked out in close discussion with the team around Grego and Kühnle. That way, they create custom-made solutions for individual projects. It’s important that a project will become its own entity once it’s realised. As Grego puts it: “Of course we don’t build the projects for ourselves. Once a project is realised, it needs to be able to live and fully function independently.”
Life is the greatest source of inspiration
Grego and Kühnle are passionate observers. Hence, life presents the greatest source of inspiration. “There are as many different lifestyles as there are people on this planet,” Grego says. “In addition, there is history and the resulting forms of culture. It’s an infinite pool of inspiration.” Art, film and architecture also play into account when the team is coming up with new ideas and, of course, the client’s vision is the foundation for all projects.
Depending on the task at hand, individual storyboards are made and they build the base for the resulting dramatic composition of each room. Another component, as Grego points out, is the development and definition of the right atmosphere. “The translation of this work into concrete construction with corresponding definitions of colour and material allows us to develop forms for architecture and interior designs,” she explains. “It’s our goal to design new and individual rooms with high recognition value, which promote and form identity through their atmosphere. We aim to create specific sensory experiences through a space.”
Great listeners, avid observers
The team at GREGO consists of architects and interior designers with a great deal of experience in interior construction. It’s important to Kühnle and Grego that each employee does not only bring her or his individual skillset and talent, but also their very own way of thinking and of designing. Hence, it is that kind of in-depth yet flexible knowledge the company is based on.
The human factor plays a big part both internally and for the interaction with clients. In order to design a project successfully, the team has to understand specific lifestyles, the residents and users, as well as the daily rituals and functional requirements each task brings. Thus, listening and observing is part of the early design process.
But the same principle applies to the craft itself: studying the quality and character of an already existing building, or examining the special concept and the architectural idea of a new construction.
Depending on the project, there are various work models the team follows. This includes working with external architects and designing the interior design, but the firm also offers to design the entire architecture: for example, for reconstruction, renovation or conversion projects. Upon request, they also hand over projects when they are what’s called ‘löffelfertig’ in German, and this means that all you need to move in is your suitcase, as everything else from bedding to cutlery is already there.
Making a lasting impact
GREGO often gets recommended by clients and they also frequently get asked to do the private homes of people who have stayed in hotels they designed. It’s safe to say their work speaks for itself. The success of their concepts is also evident when looking at hotel rankings, where their clients often and consistently remain ahead of the crowd.
“People seem to feel good in our rooms, which is lovely,” Grego adds with a smile. “We are grateful for our clients’ ongoing trust in our skills. Long-term clients have turned into genuine friends.”
Passion, precision and know-how, but also a great deal of insight into and experience with human nature, are the main ingredients for GREGO’s ongoing success in the design business.