OKU Kos, OKU Hotels
OKU Kos, OKU Hotels

An Interview with Michael Schickinger, the Visionary Behind Lambs and Lions’ OKU Kos

April 23, 2024

Meet Michael Schickinger, the creative director behind the award-winning Lambs and Lions design studio whose team specializes in crafting holistic experiences through hospitality design, art direction, and strategic branding.

Following their win at the LIV Hospitality Design Awards, where their project, OKU Kos, took home the award for Interior Design of the Year – Living Space, Michael sheds light on the project’s inspiration. This stunning beachfront resort, with its minimalist aesthetic and village-inspired layout, embodies the studio’s dedication to crafting poetic, intuitive architectural solutions imbued with serenity and warmth.

Introducing Michael Schickinger: The Mastermind Behind Lambs and Lions Design Studio's Creative Triumphs

Michael Schickinger // OKU Kos, OKU Hotels

Can you start by telling us a bit about your background and passion for design? How did design come to have such an important place in your life, and what’s your personal life philosophy?

As a creative director, with more than two decades of experience in the industry, I have dedicated my career and passion to crafting immersive narratives through design, art, and branding in the hospitality sector. I strongly believe that design in hospitality goes beyond mere aesthetics, it’s about creating a conversation with the guest, engaging with the local culture, and weaving a sense of place into every texture and object. There is this deep commitment to authenticity, the beauty in simplicity and a dedication to create meaningful experiences.

What was the vision behind this beach resort’s design, and how did you bring it into reality?

Our design philosophy is deeply rooted in the idea of creating meaningful spaces that enhance the human experience. Spaces that tell a story and connect people to their surroundings.

The site is located within a serene stretch of rural beachside on Kos, so we designed the retreat with a sense of community and slow living in mind. Akin to a historic Greek village and their labyrinth of cubist houses, a village-like feel was developed with a mix of one and two-story houses grouped around Mediterranean gardens and patios.

Inspired by the Greek philosophy of “Parea” we have created the hotel’s beach club in a more relaxed architectural style with large openings and a textured thatch roof. Retractable glass planes create an airy, open space that allows the guest a seamless transition between the tranquillity of the dunes of the beach and the relaxed energy around the main pool. As a result, community energy is felt in every part of the hotel.

The sense of relaxation is enhanced with a separate spa and well-being area which encompasses an indoor pool, treatment rooms, and a glass-walled sauna overlooking a lush courtyard, with views through to the domed hammam.

OKU Kos, OKU Hotels

OKU Kos, OKU Hotels

The resort is modelled after the island’s traditional architectural style, ensuring consistency and respect for the native community. How does the interior design style portray the island’s culture, and how did you research it?

One of the key elements of our approach is the integration of nature and the local environment into the projects. We believe buildings and spaces should be designed with a deep respect for the natural world and work in harmony with its surroundings.

The interior design‘s use of rough, natural materials and earthy hues adds to the sense of relaxation, while its nod to midcentury design keeps the property well within the realm of contemporary.

Our studio has gained international recognition for its ability to blend contemporary design principles with local culture and history, creating spaces that feel both timeless and deeply rooted in their specific contexts.

Congratulations on winning the Interior Design of the Year for Living Spaces award at the LIV Awards! How does winning such accolades influence your approach to new projects?

We are deeply honoured to receive the Interior Design of the Year award for Living Spaces at the prestigious LIV Awards. This accolade is a testament to the passion, creativity, and hard work that our team, collaborators, and local craftsmen put into bringing the vision of OKU Kos to life.

Each project is a journey, and with OKU Kos, we aimed to create a space that not only stands out aesthetically but also resonates on a personal level with our guests, providing them with a tranquil yet engaging environment. Winning this award reinforces our belief in creating spaces that are in harmony with their surroundings, embodying a spirit of relaxation and community.


OKU Kos, OKU Hotels

We can’t wait to see what the future holds for you and your studio, Lambs and Lions! Can you tell us about new projects you’ve been working on or any recent inspirations?

We are currently working on various larger projects in the hospitality, residential, and commercial sectors. Some highlights include several Scorpios expansions in Bodrum and Tulum, which will be completed and opened this year. Other projects include residential properties in summer destinations and other Scorpios in Athens in a more urban environment, which is very exciting.