Yorgo Lykouria and Susan Grossinger met in 2014 and founded Rainlight Studio in 2018 as an integrated firm spanning London and Los Angeles.
Professing that they’re part laboratory, part workshop and part studio, the Rainlight team combine inspired design thinking with business acumen to enhance how people live, work, and play in the real world.
Earlier this year, Yorgo and Rainlight Studio received acclaim in the form of a Design Guild Mark for Rock, a flexible chair designed for Allsteel to facilitate individual and group activities carried out in modern, shared spaces.
Wanting to find out more about what makes Yorgo tick, we recently caught up with him.
Who is your design hero?
Charles and Ray Eames. What more can I say. Here was a man and a woman who were filled with joy about the world and explored the technique available at the time and made the most beautiful things. They are our parents.
When did you first decide you were going to be a designer?
When I first watched Star Wars and I saw the creative process behind the scenes to create the artefacts, the worlds, and the characters. I realised that someone has to make our reality what it is. It could be whatever we make of it, so why do we have to keep repeating the past? I decided not to choose between architecture and design and decided to do both; one complements the other. Following Charles Eames’ example, I suppose.
What was your first big break in the industry?
Designing the air terminal seating called Nomad for Akaba/Spain. I was working with Helmut Jahn on the airport for Cologne and realised there wasn’t an air terminal seating that I thought was a worthy candidate. Helmut said: ‘Just design one’.
What was the first product you ever designed?
A lovely little chair called Naiad which is a cantilevered chair with techno gel and it is so elegant as well as comfortable; it is a bit heavy though as it’s made of stainless steel. I might need to revisit that one.
What do you enjoy about being a designer?
The freedom to reinvent the world. To start from a true feeling of what it means to be here right now and to materialise that feeling with an expectation that the world will be a better place because of it.
What is the most frustrating aspect of your job?
The things that are worth achieving are often met with reticence of some kind, whether that be from a marketing angle, a technical point or a financial issue. I always feel the best is yet to come – Martha Graham called it blessed unrest. I treat frustration as a sign that you have to try harder and beat the urge to make fruitless compromises.
Which design are you most proud of?
It’s truly a gift to be in a position to design and when I face the blank page at the start of every project I am grateful for everything the muse offers. The birth of an idea is filled with so much excitement. That’s when you know.
What is your creative process?
By being optimistic and feeling powerful. Feeling that I can change the world and the world will listen. That’s the key – to be in tune with the rest of the world. Being revolutionary doesn’t just mean going against everything, it means doing exactly the right thing at the right time by thinking differently and being in sync with the times.
What influences you?
Life, music, books, nature, the weather. Anything that is created or performed by another artist at an inspiring level reminds me of a purpose in life that is to give our best, to be true, to aspire to magnificent.
Is there a product you wish you’d designed?
The Concorde because it is equally elegant as it is audacious. The Wheel because it is a gift to humanity. The Porsche 911 because it is so packed with latent energy and there isn’t a better car.
For more information about Yorgo Lykouria and Rainlight, go to rainlightstudio.com