Prior to launching Studio LOST in 2020, Constantina Tsoutsikou spent nearly 15 years at HBA, working her way up the ranks to the role of creative director of the London office. Having spent her early childhood in Australia, Tsoutsikou’s family later moved to Greece. An early fascination with architecture—particularly of houses in the Australian outback—led her to undergraduate studies in interior design and a master’s degree in design for the environment at the Chelsea College of Arts in London. Now, with multifaceted services that range from interior and product design to art and creative direction, Studio LOST has become known for crafting projects that center connection above all else.
What is your first memory of hospitality?
Constantina Tsoutsikou: My first memory of a hotel stay was in the Swiss town of Lugano on the Swiss-Italian border. We were on a road trip to Paris with my French class, and this was one of the stops along the way. I still remember the grand old building and the immaculate gardens, but most of all, it had the softest mattress of all time. The bedding felt very luxurious. This memory has stayed with me, together with a fondness for Lugano.
What did you learn from your first job?
CT: I joined the Estée Lauder design department, working on furniture design and retail projects for the group’s various brands in Athens. We had a lot of interaction with each brand, and I learned about the power of branding and how brand values are interpreted through design. It was also an introduction to the world of beauty. I came to understand the significance that location and presence have in a retail environment.
Memorable career stops along the way?
CT: My career path in hospitality design started with [HBA]. I got the opportunity to design beautiful projects from Cairo to Istanbul, Macau, and Ireland. Through these, I met and learned from amazing consultants and teams globally. [I try to] approach each project and client with openness and respect. The industry is large and small at the same time. [I try] to make a difference through work, promote good values, and be as generous as I can. Hospitality is about generosity.
Why did you decide to launch your own firm?
CT: I always had a dream of setting up my own studio, and I was curious about what it would be like. It took me a long time to [take] action. One of the hardest things was deciding when would be the right time to do it.
What do you consider your big break?
CT: My first resort hotel project [the Royal Senses Resort & Spa Crete]. It was a first in many ways: I had never designed a resort hotel before, it was Studio LOST’s first project, and it was the first time the client had worked with an international team. There was a lot at stake. We were fortunate to complete it within two years, and receive four HD Awards, including Best in Show, in 2022, and multiple shortlists at the AHEAD Awards. We now have a number of exciting hotel developments on the go, so that project and the recognition we received was a real gamechanger for the studio that propelled us forward.
What are some of your greatest work-related achievements?
CT: I am very proud of our team for being able to make big statements even though we are a small studio. In terms of projects, I am proud of Numo Ierapetra Beach Resort in Crete, as it was a very one-of-a-kind, fast-paced project that challenged how we go through the design process. We made many decisions based on sustainability and embraced the imperfections of the property, turning it into a barefoot luxury destination.
Most challenging part of the job?
CT: To carve time away from the day-to-day business of the studio.
CT: Seeing our work come alive. Traveling to our project locations and being immersed in beautiful surroundings and inspired by people and cultures. We recently had an architectural tour of Jerusalem as part of a kickoff meeting for a new hotel in the heart of this historic city, and I learned what lies behind each building.
How do you define success?
CT: Personally, it is the ability to steer life in the direction you want at any given time.
What do you collect?
CT: I love collecting 20th-century ceramics and glassware. I collect from vintage markets in Europe—like ’70s pieces from secondhand shops in Stockholm or colorful carafes from antique markets in Tuscany—then try and spread them out between the rooms in our London house and studio, and our summer retreat in Greece. I am not precious about them, so I like making use of them in our day to day to have these beautiful pieces become part of our lives.
What is a space you love but didn’t design?
CT: Byzantine churches in Greece. They are small, mystical, dark, and covered in iconography, with a sweet and heavy scent in the air. They are otherworldly.
Designer you admire and why?
CT: John Stefanidis, for his eclectic style.
What do you want it to say on your tombstone?
CT: I would be happy with carved initials only, but it has to be the right font.