Two of the newest members of Team Bernard relocated to Newcastle from London this summer to join the practice.
Giedre Kazlauskaite and Kivia Stocco have specialised in high end interior design since graduating, Giedre from Vilnius University and Kivia from Northumbria University.
Giedre was appointed after an initial meeting with Jen over lunch in Covent Garden, followed by a thirty-minute interview up north.
Jen commented: “I didn’t have much time between other meetings but it was an ideal opportunity to catch up with Giedre in person so I rang her and fortunately she was free. It was a bit like a blind date and most definitely showed willing!”
Giedre liked what she’d heard about the practice, and after that initial meeting came to Newcastle to meet the team before saying yes.
“It wasn’t my first visit to the region as my boyfriend is from Newcastle and we’d stayed with his family here,” said Giedre. “We’d started to think about moving but I didn’t think I’d be able to continue my career in the luxury sector outside London until I found out about Bernard Interiors.”
Kivia graduated in 2017 moving back to London to work with a large interior practice.
Kivia said: “I followed Bernard Interiors on instagram and made sure they noticed me. I really liked living in Newcastle and I missed my friends from university who were mostly from Newcastle originally.”
Jen added: “Kivia was hard to ignore! I asked her to send her cv and when we were recruiting I contacted her to meet the team and discuss her approach to design.
“We all bring our own personalities to the design process, and that’s inspiring for each of us as our ideas can be quite different, pushing our creativity. However, we all share the exactly the same approach to quality, detail and delivering each project to encapsulate our client’s vision and aspirations.”
So aside from working on a selection of prestigious projects in the UK, what do Giedre and Kivia like best about living in Newcastle?
“I live in Jesmond and I come to the studio by bus so I see fields and countryside every day, it’s lovely,” said Giedre. “Newcastle reminds me a lot of my home town Vilnius – it has similar architecture and scale, and it’s close to nature.”
“And I’m really enjoying being back in the city living in Gosforth, I’ve got great friends here and there’s loads going on,” said Kivia. “Also it’s really easy to get to London by train, around two hours 40 minutes, so we’ve got the best of both worlds.”
Jen said: “I’m very proud that we are recognised within the industry and are able to attract talented designers out of London to the North East. I love the region, my family are based here, and when I graduated from Edinburgh College of Art I looked specifically for a job in the region to start my career.
“We have built a successful business over the last 10 years which operates nationally and internationally. Our professional support is provided by North East based businesses and we use North East suppliers, including for storage and logistics, as much as we can given that we source globally.
“Over the next five years we’re looking at further growth, retaining talented designers from our universities and attracting new design talent to the region.”