A Work Week With Marika Nikolaidis - Curator for Publico
A work week in the life of the curator of one of Singapore’s newest hotspot’s
If you haven't been down to PUBLICO yet, then make it number one on your agenda. One of Singapore's latest 'it' hangouts, the Robertson's Quay venue consists of the delicious and authentic Italian restaurant, Publico Ristorante, Publico Deli and Marcello - Singapore's very first Italian cocktail bar.
Having worked in Sydney, Japan, Europe and USA, Marika has chosen Singapore as her home as she builds the PUBLICO brand. Here she walks us through a very fun filled, creative week in her work life.
Unlike most people, my week starts on a Sunday – that’s because Publico Ristorante hosts it’s weekly Capri Sunday Brunch event!
I drag myself out of bed to be there by 10am. I live in Robertson Quay so my travel time is about three minutes walk. My role as the Curator of Publico makes me responsible for ensuring the restaurant looks, feels, and sounds amazing! So I spruce up the venue, add the styling (inspired by the island of Capri), attend the team briefing to discuss the bookings of the day, the celebrations we are hosting, the VIP guests and be prepared for the next five crazy hours.
From the moment I turn on the music and the clock strikes 11am, the crowd swarms in. It’s my job to ensure the large bookings and celebrations are not only taken care of but are having a fun time!
Subsequently Monday becomes what my mum likes to call my weekly “Mental Health Day” where I (try!) to switch off and have a day to do things which feed the serotonin levels in the brain, such as yoga, cleaning, grooming, catching up on my collection of magazines… my favourite magazine to read is British Vogue. My favourite magazine to look at pictures is Vogue Italia. Italian fashion is currently ruling the world and the way I curate restaurants is the way designers curate their collections. Every season we must enhance and evolve the experience. Hospitality and fashion rides the same wave.
If you think about top designers right now, they are perfecting superior street wear. Normcore. Sneakers. Logo emblazed t-shirts. Well food too has become street; quality ingredients, cooked simply. Does anyone still care about molecular and foams? Speaking of food, Monday night is fish night – my husband, Theodore and I are Greek so we grill with lots of olive oil, lemon, oregano, and salad is always on the table.
Tuesday comes with an inbox of 50 emails. I purposely don’t have emails on my phone – so I know I need to get back to all of my event enquiries from Monday as quickly as possible.
I listen to music whilst getting through the pile… I like to explore Spotify to find songs that may be new, or at least new to me, and I add them to my collection of tracks for our venue. If you don’t know, Publico consists of three venues: Publico Ristorante, Publico Deli, and Marcello. I curate the music for all three outlets.
Tuesdays we hold our weekly event meeting with my F&B crew and the relative departments from the InterContinental Hotel to reflect on the events we hosted last week, and go through the events coming up this week in-depth. We also talk about marketing activities and promotions we are doing for Publico and the hotel at large.
I wake up energised at 7:00am and go for my favourite run through Fort Canning Park. There’s something about exercising outdoors that appeals to me over a gym. I can listen to my own music and set my own pace based on how my body feels. Inspiration for events and concepts and new directions always comes to me during these runs. It’s bizarre. One day I will find a way to save the world during my run.
Today is a really special day for us – we are hosting the Media Launch of Marcello, our Italian high energy cocktail bar. Together with the partners who help conceptualise the venue, we are busy finalising the guest list, setting up the venue, briefing the team, and ensure the media are left with a lasting impression of what the bar represents: Italian craft cocktails, quality bar food, an extensive range of Amari (bitters), and a fantastic vibe.
Feeling famished from the night that was (event managers don’t often have time for dinner!)… I’m fortunate to treat myself to PUBLICO’s burger for lunch in Publico Deli. It’s the perfect size to keep me going until who knows when.
Tonight, we have our second Marcello party and this time it’s for our friends. Finally – I get to enjoy the cocktails and let my hair down a little… but not too much… as tomorrow is more to come.
Today I must be at work at 7.30am No exercise. No breakfast. Just dress and out the door! Did I mention I’m NOT an early bird? I’m also not really a night owl. I’d call myself a midday magpie. Midday is my prime time to see all the shiny things.
So, we are hosting a lunch at Publico Ristorante for the Benefit Cosmetics Bold is Beautiful press event. A complete reset of the space and bump in of fun elements like a mobile brow bar, basketball games, AV to screen the film, and interactive photobooth are all arriving this morning.
When hosting events, I usually wear and nice dress and designer sneakers. It’s my way of ‘trying’ but man, we gotta run sometimes and although I have about 30 pairs of chic high heels at home they don’t always mix with my job.
The event goes super well. I love creative events especially when beauty or fashion is involved because they are both great loves of mine. Yep, I’m a self-confessed product junkie. The weirdest thing I’ve ever bought was this Japanese glove made of deerskin that you’re supposed to massage onto your face to reduce pores – I mean really!
That evening, my husband meets me at Publico Ristorante for pizza and wine. We eat there at least once a week. His favourite food is pizza and he rates ours as the best in Singapore!
I like hanging around ‘as a guest’ because it allows me to feel the place, feel my curation in the moment and notice if any tweaks must be made. I’m always telling our Restaurant Manager, Shahie, to turn the music up! Good music should always be played loud and proud.