Mikaella Theofanopoulou

Course: BA (Hons) Architecture

Current Location: Athens, Greece

“Plymouth was the beginning of my studies. The University of Plymouth built my foundations, widened my horizons and enriched my knowledge, not only in architecture, but also in other fields.”
Tell us about your career path since graduation.

After finishing my undergraduate studies in Architecture at Plymouth, I graduated with honours from Oxford School of Architecture, where I got my Master’s in Applied Design in Architecture. Since then, I have been engaged in interior design and decoration, working as an architect in N.S.Marble S.A. N.S.Marble, which is based in Athens, Greece, is a marble and granite company founded in 1991 by my parents. Wanting to use my studies and knowledge to help the company, I accepted the challenge of competing with other architects in the same field. I’m aware of how demanding customers can be, but I put all my efforts into designing interiors and exteriors with marble installations. Having been involved in many difficult projects, it has allowed me to expand my activity gradually and strengthen my position in the stone industry.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

One of the most exciting things I've done is the promotion of my new collection of marble and granite trays and platters I designed for N.S.Marble. The design philosophy behind this collection is inspired by marble's potential, which can start as a raw material and can be transformed into a work of art. Monumental masterpieces such as the Parthenon or the Acropolis of Athens, Hermes of Praxiteles, and the Victory of Samothrace, prove that marble's cultural heritage and tradition attracts the admiration of the world even today. This new collection of simple but functional trays celebrates the authenticity and plasticity of the material while revealing its new contemporary look, without losing its lavishness. The collection is a series of different sized and designed trays and platters made from various natural stones. They can be customised according to each customer's preference in material and cut to dimensions matching their space and design features.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the same line of work?

Τhe truth is that becoming an architect takes a lot of commitment, desire, and passion. It is a job that is constantly evolving with regards to building technology, design ideas, fashion, programming, construction methods etc. Architecture is never static and the industry requires discipline and motivation. If architecture and design is the line of work you are hoping to follow in your life and you are interested in succeeding, then you should have high ambitions and make specific and controllable actions in order to reach them. Small and considered steps can have a positive impact on your professional life and make a big difference to your life in general. Even if you consider that these steps are too small, they will still be one step closer to achieving your goals. During your university years, you should listen to your tutors and even if you don't believe that everything they are saying is right and true, they have a great experience as supervisors, they have seen a great amount of students' work, and they can absolutely support, inspire, and direct you positively.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

Plymouth was the beginning of my studies. The University of Plymouth built my foundations, widened my horizons and enriched my knowledge, not only in architecture but also in other fields. Studying at the School of Architecture, Design and Environment gave me the opportunity to become involved in many projects in the city and on the outskirts, discovering beautiful places, nature at its best, local people, and many different styles of building methods which helped me to better understand my course. In addition to that, group projects were very important because they developed team spirit, strengthened my relationship with the other students, and also improved my language skills as communication was necessary.
What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

Graduation day on Plymouth Hoe was one particularly important day for me, and my family and friends. One of my favourite memories whilst studying in Plymouth was my first year's fresher's fair. The fair in the Roland Levinsky Building (which was opening its doors for the first time in 2007) was very well-organized, not only by the University and the Student's Union but by all the societies and sports clubs in Plymouth. This fair was an opportunity for every new student to make the most of their university experience and to join an exciting event alongside their academic schedule. All the activities organised by the UPSU, from accommodation and entertainment to sports and volunteering, gave me the chance to socialise, accomplish my goals, and make Plymouth my second home.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with the University of Plymouth, and why?

Studying at the University of Plymouth was, for me, an amazing experience. Doing my Bachelor's degree in Plymouth, many miles away from my home country, I believe helped me a lot in my future life. Plymouth was a second home for me as its people were very friendly and supportive, its atmosphere was very pleasant and welcoming, and its location combined the best of sea and nature, which was a remarkable mixture. At the University the tutors were helpful and encouraging and the course was very beneficial as multiple architectural directions were merging on different modules, and this helped students enrich their knowledge and achieve a high learning quality.

Architecture studio