Oikos paint developer – A Day in My Life in Gatteo Mare Italy
We are always looking beyond these four walls for ideas and products that can broaden our horizons and here we have an insight into Oikos paints and decorative products via Mark Warren, a former Oikos eco paint developer.
To see what he got up to on a typical work day at their HQ in Italy, put on your sunglasses, pour a martini rosso and be transported to a different place.
The alarm, or as we call it “sveglia” brings me to my senses after a relaxing night’s sleep. I begin to stir, stir my cafè that is, then I don my uniform in Oikos Green after the usual ablutions, then off I go running down my condominium stairs and grab my bike.
In preparation for the 22km ride, I stop off at my local bar and take a nice relaxing Cappuccino and probably a couple of Brioches (well I’m going to burn ’em off) then I head out, following the lungomare or stretch of beach that separates me from work. The sun’s already up and warm, what a way to start the day!!!
Down to work
Welcome to OIKOS, the mother of Green, producing ecological paint and decoration products since 1984.
Now, arriving at work can only mean one thing – coffee. Yes one more before work commences (coffee is quite important to the Italian lifestyle.)
I worked in the technical department in particular the development and design of decorating products, best job EVER!!!! Basically this included hand making samples of decorative designs for architects and designers worldwide, creating new patterns and designs with an array of materials at my bidding – polish Stuccos (Lime based Plasters) Marmorinos, etc.
The power of 7
Just before I returned to England for family matters, we were working on a monography set of seven books which are available for architects and designers worldwide. These display our designs (some of which were mine) on cubes and different shapes, which were then professionally photographed in a studio in Rome. I had the pleasure to be a part of that too. It was amazing.
Starting at Oikos
In 2007 I started as an applicator in their technical department, basically applying all products live on 1mtr x 70 sheets. These would then be cut down for their live brochures. My eyes were open to a completely different type of decorating that, sorry to say, is lacking here in the UK. Not how we are educated, I guess, as far as decorating is concerned. Then after a couple of years I was offered the Architectural position… Perfect.
A typical day back then
It started with an alarm and the usual three coffees.
First thing at work, I would have a list of architectural orders, an order, let’s say for London. So from the shelving I would take my usual mdf A3 size pre-primed boards, the materials needed, tools etc and I would start… for example ‘Travertino’ a two grained lime/acrylic plaster which I would use to create a marble stone effect. I could achieve this in one coat and little drying time.
It could also be used to create a shuttered cement effect and many more;
in fact Travertino is a product that I turned my attention to very often for varying effects. Many times I would practice at home
Generally it turned out well, keeping my wife Happy.
A couple of times a year, I would have the opportunity to work at exhibitions held generally in Milan Rho, which is huge, almost a city in size. Italians love their exhibitions…
The highlights of working at Oikos
What I am mostly grateful for is the opportunity to work with high end ecological products that work.
It helped me to understand that most paints, especially trim paints have systems, systems that work, and if you want to, yes, you can create short cuts, miss out a coat or two, get the job done quicker, but the quality always suffers… always. It’ll cost a bit more but they’ll have you back and spread your name to friends and family.
Back in Blighty
Returning to England was not easy. Products that I had never heard of now filled the shelves, and I really felt quite lost. Going back to oil based products felt very strange, then a friend and fellow decorator told me to visit Traditional Painter.
Well, I haven’t looked back since, thank you Andy and all who make up TP and make it what it is, a window into the product and professional world of decorating. Maybe one day we’ll see Oikos products being tried and tested. Who knows? Here are the brochures to download, see what excites you!
It’s been a pleasure.
I really enjoyed putting this blog post up, and if you have any questions for Mark, use the comments below. As you can see, he has an insider view of an eco paint and decorative range that won’t be familiar to most UK readers, and let’s hope this article sparks some ideas.
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