THE DESIGN OF DESTINY
“The hotel is just like a baby. Sometimes it’s difficult, sometimes it’s very good. But we always enjoy it and love being around it.”
Destiny played a huge role in getting Alexandra Efstathiadou to rescue and design Ekies All Senses Resort, formerly known as Porto Capis where Alexandra spent her summer vacations as a child. Fate had more in store for this self-taught designer than the painstaking work it took to redesign this labor of love. After all, if it weren’t for the hotel, she wouldn’t have met her husband, Vagelis Liakos, cofounder of Beetroot Design Group, whom she hired to create a visual identity for the place. Businesswise, it was an excellent decision. After all, the innovative company, founded in 2000, went on to win the prestigious Red Dot Agency of the Year award in 2011. And personally, it created a whole new world for Efstathiadou. “He opened the door and I was like, ‘Wow.’ I felt my face get really red. I had never had anything like that happen to me,” she says.
Because of this instant connection, Liakos was able to create an identity for the hotel that was in perfect sync with his future wife’s vision. He highlighted the Greek culture, along with the hotel’s minimal design, contemporary architecture, and natural environment. “Most guests live in big cities and have forgotten how to get in touch with nature,” he says. “The hotel is in a protected nature area, so we wanted to showcase all of the animals that live here. We want guests to walk around barefoot and feel the nature.”
The result: simple, playful, and colorful illustrations of animals and marine life found in the region, such as owls, jellyfish, snails, seahorses, and squirrels. The identity—applied to flip-flops, wall decals, room keys, and menus—earned Beetroot several distinctions, including a European Design Award, an annual prize acknowledging the best of graphic design and illustration.
Three years after meeting, they married. They now have an 18-month-old son, Dimitris, and a newly arrived infant, born in November 2012. But Liakos is quick to point out that there’s a third child in their lives. “The hotel is just like a baby,” he says. “Sometimes it’s difficult, sometimes it’s very good. But we always enjoy it and love being around it.”