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Oikos paint developer – A Day in My Life in Gatteo Mare Italy

Listed under Blog, Eco, faux, guest post, oikos Posted Apr 03 2014

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.

Oikos finish clockThe 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!!!

cubes on beach

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.

part of Oikos monograph

Oikos rust cubes

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;

shuttered effect Oikos

in fact Travertino is a product that I turned my attention to very often for varying effects. Many times I would practice at home

Marks Oikos Bedroom

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.

We appreciate you taking the time to read this.

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4 comments to “Oikos paint developer – A Day in My Life in Gatteo Mare Italy”

  1. Imaginative Interiors Imaginative Interiors

    Hi Mark, great Blog, sounds like a fun job! Do you recon there would be any chance of getting sample boards or swatches from HQ? Would be really interested to see the finishes in the flesh. Cheers, lee

  2. Mark Warren

    Hi Lee, thanx for your comment, your not wrong, it was a fun job. Good news on the sample boards and swatches issue, Just out side of Stansted Is a client of Oikos, Bluebell, who could do just that, they are a supplier and Applicator of all Oikos Products… When I get home I’ll post contact details… Thanks for the interest,
    All the best Mark

  3. Mark Warren


    Visit this website and all contact methods are there, David and Lesley are really helpful

  4. Kevin Smith Architectural Technolgist

    I currently have the pleasure of employing Mark to carry out some decorating in my home. I have seen the brochures that Mark mentions in his story and they are stunning. He has demonstrated some of the effects that can be achieved with these amazing products. As a result it has opened up to me as a specifier whole new vistas in the world of interior finishes that I had no idea existed. Mark is very gifted in what he does. To call him just a decorator would be an insult to his true capabilities. If you want a real WOW factor in your interior design employ Mark. He is an artist with a trowel and a pot of paint!
    Kevin Smith MCIAT

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