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Maria Anastasiou, architect / creative director at IDEABAR Studio

Maria Anastasiou, architect / creative director at IDEABAR Studio

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

Who are you:

I am Aria Maria Anastasiou, a multitasking creative inspired by minimalism, contemporary aesthetics, always paying attention to little details. Oh, and I am totally in love with Coffee + Wine.

Your current job:

I am an Architect + Creative Director at IDEABAR Studio, an Interdisciplinary Creative Studio my husband and I founded two years ago. Along to studio work, I experiment on personal artwork, at what I like to call my Visual Arts Lab.

In which city are you located?

Liopetri, Cyprus.

A word to define what kind of worker you are:


I cannot deliver a project if it wouldn’t please me as a client.

What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..)

Sketchbook + agenda, fine liners, Wacom tablet. Besides my physical agenda, Todoist is my go to app for recording my tasks and any ideas that may pop up during the day. And recently I discovered Spotify.

What does your office space look like?

My workspace is an architecture + design studio, workshop, and a concept store; a space filled with creativity. After working for several years at space I hated (a cold white 3x3m storage-like room) I promised myself I will always have a space that inspired me to work in.

Nature is an important factor for keeping a space balanced and peaceful, so my studio features natural wood furniture and lots of plants (they are never enough!) among the concept store’s products display.

Almost all my books have moved at the studio, and a huge ‘collection’ of paper-works waiting their turn to get filed, or are taking over the workshop/area. I have designed makeover and I really do hope to find the time soon to start the construction phase!

What kind of music do you listen to when you are working?

I love jazz, and when I am working I enjoy listening to instrumental music and particularly string quartets. When I get into creative grooves, I love to work with the sounds of ambient. I would say in general I prefer calming, clean music that is not distractive. But I do like some NIN, Led and Pink when working late at night. It’s blissful!

Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work?

A tough question and a huge challenge especially if your work demands multi-tasking! If anyone found the answer to this, I’d love to know. I am still in a trial and error phase, but after a couple of years trying I could say I started finding my way. A physical agenda always helps more than and setting a daily routine and workflow processes is a thing I am now trying to master. *fingers crossed*

What tips would you give to improve productivity?

Firstly, get in the habit of setting a daily task list. Set priorities, delegate any and all tasks that may be delegated, and try to stick to the list. It is very difficult if your work demands and is filled with ‘emergency’ interruptions, like mine, but after some time you’ll find your way around.

Also, when you decide to take time off, really take that time off! Do not answer phone calls, do not check work email, do not log into your work and facebook account! Recently I went through a really nasty phase of exhaustion, and this is when I realized how important it is to take time for yourself.

You’re better than your colleagues to:

I do not believe I am any better than my colleagues. Actually, no one is better or worse than others, we just have our strong and weak sides. And my strong side includes my love for collaborations, managing my daily multitasking work life and being able to see the big picture of any project ( scale) from a very early stage.

What is the best advice anyone has given you?

Never take into account those who clearly do not want the best for me and my work, and to avoid mega people. I used to be very sensitive, and those people would really take me down, but almost after a decade of working, I learned to completely ignore them. Being around optimism and people who appreciate you is always the best way to go. Also, always dare say your ideas no matter how silly you think it is. You never know!

What is your best tip for saving? 

Oh, this one is easy: A manager, and I’m lucky enough to be married to one! I keep on saying this with every chance I get, every creative need to have theirs. You will never understand how important they are for us creatives until you get to work with one.

What is your routine start and end of the day?

As soon as I wake up, I go for a walk with my dog and then I will either meet with family or friends for my morning coffee and or I will have it at home while reading or scribbling in my sketchbook. I also try to keep, or at least our bedroom, tidy, but some days this is simply impossible! As soon as I check my emails, and the phone starts ringing, I know my morning is over!

My studio hours are 10 am – 6 pm, and when I’m lucky to finish daily tasks on time, I will meet my husband at home and have our evening glass of wine (or beer) while cooking dinner. I will then again go for a walk with my dog and watch some series or a movie.

Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without?

Does my blender count? I love cooking, and my blender is almost always part of the process.