8 March: Women's Day 06·03·2020
Influencers and architects that you should follow lifestyle
Irene Echeverría, Elisa López, Macarena Gea and Virginia López have turned social networks into their best portfolio. Their way of communicating and explaining contemporary interior design has enabled them to strengthen their personal brands through a community of followers who interact, supporting and sharing each of their projects, so that they serve as inspiration for new generations.
Irene Echeverría became an influencer without realizing it. During her stay in London, where she lived as a student, some friends asked her for advice about decorating their home so that they could sell it more quickly. She analysed the property and turned it round completely, giving it a fresher, younger look. “I helped them decorate it so that they could sell it faster and at a better price. It went so well that I decided to set up a business in Spain.” Since then, this civil engineer from Pamplona has turned her blog Blanco Metro into a channel for Home Staging. It offers advice on interior design to individuals and estate agents to maximize the value of each property.
“The most important thing is to neutralize the property and highlight its strengths. If it has a lot of natural light or a good orientation, it needs to be highlighted in photos and during visits, but if there is little light or it is painted in dark colours, you should paint it white to make it appear lighter,” Echeverría advises.
Echeverría combines her role as Home Stager with that of blogger, a full-time commitment that allows her to take on new challenges every day, always learning something new. “They tell me, you’re an influencer, and yes, you can influence people’s purchasing decisions, but they also give me ideas and I learn tricks.”
A regular associate of Porcelanosa since 2017, specializing in the restyling of low cost housing, her latest project, “Blanco Metro to the rescue”, is intended to help people renovate their homes. The contact with her followers is constant and she learns something from them every day. “Every day I spend about an hour answering messages. I put in some time but it’s worth it. People are much more loyal and give more of themselves when they see that you devote time to them.”
Elisa López (an interior designer with Noveno Ce)is also surprised by the influence she has with her blog and her social networks. “You’re not aware that so many people follow you, but when they start writing to you … Elisa, that photo you put up? That shelf you have at home? You realize that people follow you and they like what you do.”
López, an interior designer from Zaragoza, left her job in an engineering company because she received so many on-line requests about decoration. Currently, after doing consultancy work in countries such as Belgium and Germany, she combines her personal activities with being a partner in her own studio: Zentro Interiorismo. From the studio she draws up refurbishment plans for homes and offices and prepares home staging projects based on rational, integrated design. “I’m in favour of neutral colours and I add a touch of colour with accessories or with a special piece. I am very eclectic and I always try to include an antique or a designer item that will give your home a special touch.”
For López, the important thing is to “de-personalize homes.” According to her, this quality has been brought to interior design by women. “Women are more practical. We don’t look for a designer piece because it’s beautiful, but because it has a purpose. Men are more prudent, but we have a slightly crazier view of space.”
Women are more practical and we have a slightly crazier view of space.”
Work-life balance in the Instagram age
Despite its frequent use, the term “work-life balance” is still unknown in some sectors. Especially in architecture, where the presence of women has increased in recent years but is still less than that of men.
This is shown by the report Technical Architecture in Spain: a comparative view of men and women presented by the General Council of Technical Architecture in Spain (CGATE), in which it is shown that 79% of Spanish technical architects and architects are men compared to 21% who are women. However, the presence of women has been growing in recent years, as 30 years ago the percentage of women members of the profession was less than 7% (6.58% in 1990). “There have been more of us for some time now, because it’s no longer seen as a male-only field. I am delighted to see women managing projects in large teams and to see that men are increasingly sensitive and knowledgeable about décor,” comments Macarena Gea.
A graduate in architecture and mother of three children, Gea combines her work in her studio with that of wedding planner and influencer. She confesses that if you want to get ahead the trick is a lot of organization and having the support of her partner, Pilar, her husband and her family. One of her basic beliefs. “I don’t want to be like Superwoman, because I haven’t been able to do everything, and I haven’t done it alone. On the other hand, I haven’t had any special desire to do everything at once. Whenever I can, I put my family life first,” she says.
“I don’t want to be like Superwoman, because I haven’t been able to do everything, and I haven’t done it alone”
For Gea, the most important thing is for a space to work and bring together balance, design and well-being. “A space is meant to be lived in and even if initially it is beautiful, but it doesn’t work well and isn’t comfortable, it’s a failure,” she adds.
Her beginnings as an influencer date back to 2007, when her platform for the sale of complements ended up becoming a blog about interior design, fashion and lifestyle. As a wedding planner, she has her own company “Bodas y algo más” and offers advice, support and wedding planning.
Virginia López agrees with Macarena Gea that décor should be light and pays special attention to function rather than form. “Many interior designers tend to be quite masculine, brutalist, making everything very dim and very dark. While women contribute light, sweetness and balance. They are more daring, because they’re not afraid to combine pink with a brighter material,” she explains. For the designer, this way of understanding design has allowed us to “create a symbiosis between both ways of designing and this has been positive for interior design and decoration.”
For López, from Virlova Style, the blog was a way of making her work known after she lost her job because of the recession. It is a channel that allowed her to connect with audiences and learn about them and leading brands such as Porcelanosa Group, with whom she would later end up working. “Working together allows us to know the product very well and promote it better,” she says. Currently, she combines work commissioned through the website with projects carried out in her own studio: Acana Interiorismo.