Irene Kyriacou is the owner of Oniroco, one of the interior-design brands that collaborated in the creation of David Higgs’ Marble Restaurant, on Johannesburg’s Keyes Art Mile. Kyriacou is polished, warm, and endearingly animated; one immediately gets the impression that the designer is a seasoned multitasker. For her, the magic of creating spaces such as Marble lies in curating the details, and this approach translates into her personal style, which Kyriacou describes as eclectic.
“I like to mix classic and contemporary styles,” she says. “I always find a happy balance between the two. For me, accessories are key to everything, and I think it goes with what I do: always adding a little layer. A great belt, earrings, rings — I love rings: I have a weakness for beautiful dress rings. But then, I tend to love black, shades of grey, and tan, and that came through with Marble.”
Kyriacou’s emphasis on supporting the best local artisans and designers, while envisioning her role in terms of a story-telling process, lends the spaces she puts together a marvellous combination of finesse and originality — Marble exudes a very modern, cosmopolitan aura of effortless hauteur. Now, having completed Marble’s butchery component, Kyriacou is participating in the assembly of a new Higgs enterprise, Saint, which is set to open in August.
How does your wardrobe reflect your design approach? It’s mixing old and new: that juxtaposition of styles. You can find something simple, like a plain T-shirt and jeans, and, just with the right accessories, you can make it either more organic or more sophisticated.