Diego Burdi and Paul Filek are the principals of Burdifilek, one of Toronto’s most revered commercial interior design firms.
They met while studying interior design at ryerson and years later, decided to launch their own studio. Today, burdifilek is an internationallyrenowned design firm that has transformed interiors around the world.
You both worked at Yabu Pushelberg, how did that experience help you grow as designers?
Diego Burdi: Yabu Pushelberg allowed me to experience a lot of touch points in the design process.
Paul Filek: It was exciting to work with international brands at a time when many other Canadian designers were working on local projects only.
Why did you decide to embark on working together as a team?
DB: Twenty-four years ago, we noticed designers were designing for themselves, but not designing for the client. We wanted to focus on celebrating the client and elevating the essence of their brand, so design would impact the end user in a new way.
PF: We both came from entrepreneurial backgrounds, so it’s safe to say we also shared an entrepreneurial spirit for starting our own studio … Our strengths were a strong complement to each other so it was a brave move for both of us to launch with “Why not try?”
What Burdifilek project has been the most important or influential?
DB: I would say the most influential project would be the series of projects we’ve done for Holt Renfrew. Designing for the brand gave us a blank canvas to express our point of view for the luxury world.
PF: Personally, I would pick Stratus Winery because it was the first brand we helped create from scratch. It was literally a flat field when we first arrived on the site. Our studio led the creative direction for the brand and customer experience, so we were overseeing the design of every touchpoint.
What do you love about your line of work?
DB: I love the unpredictability of receiving a serendipitous phone call with the opportunity of a lifetime, whether it’s a global brand reaching out with a potential project or a highly respected influencer asking for a design collaboration.
PF: I also love how this little studio in Toronto can have this large global presence, allowing us to work with people all over the world.
What was the best advice you received while building your careers?
DB: To prevent a missed opportunity, you need to understand its potential. If you’re going to maximize the impact of design, you need to understand how to art direct and work with the discipline to create the most confident experience for the end user.
PF: Do things you like. Do the things you want to do, as opposed to the things you think you have to do. Be confident in your own voice.