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Interview for Forbes Ukraine

Natalia Bolshakova, the owner and director of the Nataly Bolshakova Interiors studio loves her profession. To be an interior designer – gives not only the possibility of continuous creative development, but also is an opportunity to command high fees and payments. Bolshakova takes on projects where the starting price is $ 10,000.

Natalia is the winner of several prestigious European competitions, – SBID International Design Awards 2012 and the European Property Awards 2015-2016 are two of these. Bolshakova became a member of the British International Design Association SBID in 2012.

Forbes asked Natalia about interior design specifics in the luxury segment, Ukrainian design manufacturers’ opportunities and the industry as a whole.

Natalia, what does a designer need to do to work in the luxury-segment? What specific skills do you need?

Substantial experience in the interior design industry and a comprehensive knowledge in related fields are needed to work with such projects. First of all, engineering systems are an essential part of a smart home. Furnishing a living space in the luxury segment is a combination of the best from the design industry and appropriate use of modern technologies.

Regarding the specifics of the segment, I can say that it is difficult, but very interesting. The clients are demanding, it is necessary to surprise them, but on the other side, the projects are very energising. For me it is a possibility to realize more and more daring ideas, to develop constantly, to work with the most interesting furniture factories, textile manufacturers. These are very high quality, beautiful things created by people with their own philosophy and history.

How important is it to receive specialized education in this field?

Relevant education is certainly important! It gives the right framework for the profession. However, in my case everything turned out differently. I was educated as an engineer and radio physicist, who graduated from the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. Interior design become my main profession later. I have worked in this field for ten years now.

Why radio faculty? As it often happens, my parents chose the university for me. Do I regret the decision? To some extent, if I made the choice now, I would not hesitate to enter Saint Martins University for example. On the other hand, a profile university sets certain stylistic preferences for students, in preparation for a further graduate career. As for me, I have developed my own style during practice, which is appreciated by my clients. Perhaps it is good that no one before imposed their own views and visions.

Is there any trend in the interior, which is relevant today?

The Industry is an energetic place developing ideas and combinations of style and eras. Currently retro style 1950-1960-s is very popular. It operates in different interpretations. Lights and furniture in this style are widely used in modern interiors. Lights and furniture by Delightfull company are a striking example. The company is very young, but has a very individual style. These things are in the homes of many Hollywood stars, in the movie “50 shades of gray” and in the showrooms of famous companies.

The loft is fashionable in Ukraine today. There is a growing interest in the Ukrainian masters of design. When considering trends, it is important to understand they change very quickly. And for designers it is important to create an interior that will be relevant for years to come.

What is the average amount of projects you have in a year? Are there any savings on aspects of interior design with the advent of a political and economic crisis?

Yes, unfortunately, there is the crisis in Ukraine. Nevertheless, I have many orders, we have more than 20 projects at different stages of realization in three countries.

My position is that the crisis is predominantly in people’s heads. I do not think about it and I try to develop constantly, think more creatively, and find new opportunities for development. I would say that there is no crisis in my studio. Soon, we are moving into a new, larger studio space and actively expanding our team.

With the advent of the crisis, project budgets in Ukraine have decreased, but people who accustomed to the quality and beauty of luxury goods, very rarely buy things from ikea.

SBID is one of the most prestigious European institutions in the field of interior design. In October, they opened a representative office in Ukraine. What opportunities are opening up for the Ukrainian design industry?

It took for my partner Yulia Danilova (Head of Domio Home Interiors company – Ed.) and myself a year to bring The Society of British and International Design SBID to Ukraine. We intend to implement, supported by SBID, first of all, the promotion of Ukrainian professionals – designers and architects, their participation in major British and European tenders. SBID UA will provide this tangible opportunity. The organization also provides access to a variety of specialized events, allows the expansion of a circle of acquaintances and partners and the sharing of knowledge and global trends. Educational projects is another area, on which SBID is focused. What are the opportunities? It’s learning from the best professionals and striving upward.

What is the situation with the Ukrainian manufacturers now and in the past?

To be honest, it is bad. Successful cases are rare. Most high quality and beautiful products, unfortunately, are not produced in Ukraine. Historically we did not have significant development of the design and decoration industry, such as in UK, Italy and France, where from childhood they learn to draw flowers in national museums from the Van Gogh originals. Visiting, for example, the Capitoline Museum, you can see a lot of school groups and students who conduct classes among authentic works of famous artists. They are impregnated with beauty and art from childhood. Plus they have a large, living industry that forms the basis for personnel development and education. We have no foundation yet for a successful combination of design, production technology and an educational. Of course, we have the beginnings, but it is not a mass phenomenon.

How big is the potential of the Ukrainian design industry? And what are the short-term prospects?

The potential is great, but it is still a secret from the world. Internet and freedom of movement helps now. If you possess the desire you can gain any knowledge and work in any country. We do not yet have the supply of design geniuses, for example, as the University of the Arts London. We have a huge potential for effective dissemination of new information, we strive to be the best, we learn very quickly. And I believe, that we are much more likely than a hundred years ago to bring up a new generation of designers, architects, artists.

+38 067 373 33 33
+38 067 373 33 33