Inside OS Designs & Partners with Founder and Director, Oz Lancaster
With a pioneering spirit, and a 'listen first' approach to her clients, Oz Lancaster, founder and Director of OS Designs & Partners, has been a trailblazing force within the luxury design sector. This powerhouse designer with a background in architecture has been responsible for some of the most luxurious client briefs around the world. What's more, her understanding of sustainable trends, and emphasis on research and development, reflects a modern vision of the future. With such an approach, one that see's design as full of promise and opportunity, the phenomenal journey of OS Designs & Partners continues, with a future even more exciting than the thriving portfolio behind them.
With a background in architecture, how does your expertise in this discipline inform the role of interior design at OS Designs & Partners?
There is a natural harmony to be explored in the relationship between architecture and interior design. Coming from an architectural background gives you a deeper understanding of the skeleton of your subject, be it a building, boat, aircraft etc, which means you can manipulate it to your advantage and maximise its full design potential. Having a deeper knowledge of the entire design process, from structural constraints to planning applications allows you to advise your clients from a more informed position, enabling you to set expectations and ultimately deliver in creating their vision.
How do you bring this unique blend of artistic vision and architectural precision to your role as Design Director and founder of the studio?
The way I approach this is to become the subject, asking myself ‘How does functionality meet aesthetic?’. ‘Am I practical?’ versus ‘What are my best features and how can we maximize them?’. I set out an architectural plan, building layer by layer, working out the architectural parameters whilst still pushing the boundaries of interior design. It’s important to get the synergy between the disciplines right.
What has inspired you throughout your life which helps you approach a design with a thoughtful vision of comfort and luxury?
I grew up in Cyprus, typically rustic and in parts under-developed. I found continual inspiration in the world around me. I always admired the ingenuity and passion of the Cypriot people in finding new ways to work with your circumstance. I will never forget a hotel I once visited that had a continuous water leak that couldn’t be fixed. The owners had planted a tree underneath and set a sensational courtyard around it to create a magnificent, natural water feature. I use this example of ‘thinking outside the box’ in every project we take on, every challenge is a simple obstacle to overcome, every blemish and inconsistency can be re-invented and given new life as something beautiful, like a butterfly taking its first flight.
What makes you a first choice for luxury clientele, who seek an experiential bespoke approach tailored to their unique lifestyle demands?
We listen. I do not say this lightly, the most important thing we can do as interior designers and architects is to listen to our clients. Nobody understands their space and how they move in it like they do. My team and I know that it is integral to translate the client brief correctly and deliver on their priorities. We strive to get a feel for their taste, their vision, their routines; where they prefer to sit and read for example, how they dine, their hobbies and so on. Above all, we need to understand what they don’t like. We are there to assist and educate, not to monopolise. We are favoured by our demanding client base for our trend-setting design ideas, pushing the boundaries of conventional design practice to the limit.
We are not disciples of one design language, we like to invent, re-invent and experiment with our clients’ imagination. We have a fleet of specialist contractors that we call on depending on the design style, from traditional to ultra-contemporary. We also specialise in one-of-a-kind, bespoke furniture design, tailor-making distinguished, individual pieces specific to the clients’ space and requirements, giving them show-stopping pieces of art to show their family and friends.
What kind of philosophy guides the design studio, and how does this set you apart as a design studio?
We are guided by the philosophy that ‘A Designer’s work is never finished’. We know that we must stay competitive and current in the market, always developing our ideas, setting trends, not just following them. My team feeds off this dynamism and energy, this is our fuel that we use to build and progress. We also place heavy emphasis on research and development, this process is fundamental to the design journey, we are always exploring new materials and how to apply them, sustainability being a key focus in much of our current work.
With a young, worldly and creative team, how do you merge your expertise across architecture, design and project management to deliver projects in a truly bespoke and innovative manner?
At OS Designs & Partners, we benefit from a team of international designers and consultants who channel their wealth of experience from different cultural and industry backgrounds. Having a varied team of designers means we can pool our resources and knowledge of local materials, contractors, artists, and artisans to deliver on projects globally. We use our education and skill set to provide an all-encompassing service for our clients from structural design to spatial planning and turnkey styling.
We see good project management as the glue holding everything together, paying mind from the get-go to setting the order of events to manage client expectations. Timing is crucial with any project, we start by setting a project schedule, working with our partners to provide an accurate timescale for delivery, without compromising on quality. It is our responsibility to make sure the ‘delivery’ is deliverable!
What do you have in store for the design studio that we can look forward to seeing coming up?
We have many exciting things in the pipeline, OS Designs & Partners is in a time of growth. We’re currently working on our bespoke furniture and lighting range, with some beautiful pieces set to launch, inspired by my Cypriot heritage.
With climate change and sustainability at the forefront of conversation, many clients are requesting ways in which to make their spaces more eco-conscious, particularly in the yachting industry. We have recently partnered with Aphros Boats to design completely customisable, electric and hydrogen powered tenders, weekend and day-boats, with a colour changing finish, designed to seamlessly slip between shades according to the boat’s surroundings. Our superyacht designs are also in selection with an industry leading brokerage house, although that’s all we can say on this for the moment!
"I use this example of ‘thinking outside the box’ in every project we take on, every challenge is a simple obstacle to overcome, every blemish and inconsistency can be re-invented and given new life as something beautiful, like a butterfly taking its first flight."