Brooke Lichtenstein & Yiannos Vrousgos

Yiannos Vrousgos, BFA ’10, emigrated from Greece to New York to attend NYSID. There he met Brooke Lichtenstein, BFA ’10, who would become his friend and business partner. Soon after graduating, they founded Input Creative Studio, a firm that is charting new territory in the space between interior design and branding. Their recent projects include pop-up stores for the boating shoe retailer Swims, interactive 3-D branding for Lenovo, mobile espresso bars inside trucks for Freight, and the lighting distributor Megaman’s offices and showrooms. Both spoke at NYSID’s Lunch & Learn series in spring, 2013.

Will you tell me about the genesis of your partnership?
Brooke: We had every studio course together from Contract 1 through Thesis, so we got to know each other’s work. During our thesis semester, we were both chosen to participate in “Dining by Design,” a charity event put on by DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS). This was the first project we worked on together and it was obvious we had this incredible creative synergy. Our installation made it on to the covers of several magazines and all of the sudden people were handing us business cards.

Yiannos: Then two weeks after graduation I was given the opportunity to do the Megaman project in Europe and I called Brooke.

Brooke: He told me, “You are going to do this with me. You have to learn the metric system by Monday.” And here we are.     

Will you tell me about some of your work at Input Creative Studio?
Yiannos: When we named our firm we tried to be open. We thought about the Renaissance when designers were a combination of thinkers and doers. We avoided the words interior design because we didn’t want to confine ourselves to the traditional design categories. When you are out of school, you must go for the opportunities that present themselves. You must respond to what is current.  Now we are translating Lenovo’s 2-D branding into 3-D, architectural marketing to be used at technology trade shows and in stores around the world.

Brooke: We’re also planning an alternative high school for children with behavioral disorders. It’s a really exciting project because the students themselves will take our catalog into shop classes and execute the design.               

What aspects of your education at NYSID have best prepared you for the work you do now?Yiannos: You learn skills in school, but what is even more important is that you develop direction. You come to know your abilities and your fascinations and you pick up tools to develop into the designer you want to be. 

Brooke: Remember that there is only one major at NYSID, so when you are there you live and breathe interior design. It’s a 24-hour job in the real world, so I feel that that the total immersion of NYSID is good preparation for a career in design. The fact that the school is in New York is important because you make real world connections in the design profession. This gave me a head start.

As alumni, why do you give your time to NYSID?
Yiannos: The alumni organization is more than a networking opportunity. It’s a great opportunity to find friends and become mentors.

Brooke: We are so proud to have graduated from NYSID. We remember what it’s like to be students because it was not long ago for us. At our recent Lunch & Learn we talked about the design process in the real world.