“A furniture designer and an olive oil purveyor discover a slower pace – and new inspiration.”
NEW YORK – Greece, a cultural and intellectual beacon to the World for millennia, has become a life-changing magnet for many in recent years. The stories of the individuals and couples make fascinating reading in websites and newspapers alike – including the New York Times.
Oliver Haslegrave (42), “known for creating hotel and restaurant interiors, including those for the popular Brooklyn spots Elsa and Fausto,” and Cristiana
Sadigianis (43), who “worked for nearly two decades as a producer, first for the photographer Philip-Lorca diCorcia and later for clients including Nike and Sotheby’s,” according to Times reporter Kate Guadagnino, took the lifestyle bait.
They became a couple in 2012 and then began traveling together, “but no matter where they go,” writes Guadagnino, “they always return to Greece. Though Sadigianis grew up in New Jersey, she spent summers on her grandparents’ Greek farms – her mother’s parents were in Delphi and her father’s in Corinth – helping to shell almonds and crush grapes for wine. Today, she maintains an olive orchard in Laconia.”
Perhaps it’s the visual element in both their professions that made them so susceptible to wanting as much as possible of the renowned pure Grecian light and countless stunning landscapes and seascapes.
He founded the Brooklyn-based design firm at Home Studios, in 2009 and she launched the organic olive oil label Oracle with Haslegrave in 2019 as the Aegean tide began to draw them East ever more strongly.
“Last summer, with Home Studios operating remotely during the pandemic, the couple rented a 1920 stone farmhouse on Andros, in the Cyclades. Settling in wasn’t without its challenges – there are no post offices, or even addresses, on the island – but the languorous lifestyle there soon led them both in new directions,” Guadagnino writes.
“On a whim, Haslegrave borrowed their landlord’s hand tools, procured some timber from the island’s hardware store and set up a makeshift workshop beneath a 300-year-old olive tree. He then began to construct a series of chairs with Greek inflections… These served as prototypes for Aprovato, a six-piece collection in maple, oak, mahogany, cherry and walnut that Haslegrave will sell under his own name starting this month,” the article noted.
In college Haslegrave studied film, but “many of his other sources of inspiration – pictures by the British photographer Jamie Hawkesworth, sets that Isamu Noguchi designed for a pair of 1940s works by the choreographer Martha Graham — he learned about” from Sadigianis.
For her part, Sadigianis, has expanded Oracle’s product line and will soon release a body oil. Her grandparents used to anoint themselves with olive oil, but “Sadigianis didn’t want her latest product to smell only of olives, though – highly moisturizing and anti-inflammatory as they may be – so she partnered with a local botanist and a chemist,” Guadagnino writes
Of course, “eventually, the pair hope to collaborate on an inn,” the Times reported, “possibly on Andros, that Haslegrave would design and Sadigianis would run. They’re imagining a warm, minimal place ‘where the line between a large house and a small hotel gets a little blurred,’ says Haslegrave, ‘and where the possibility of creating the environment down to the last detail seems achievable.’”
(Material from the New York Times was used for this article.)