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Interview for the «Constructive» magazine

History of Ukrainian breakthrough in design

On November 30, 2012 Natalia Bolshakova, Ukrainian interior designer, won the prestigious award from British Design Association - SBID International Design Awards 2012. The SBID rewarding ceremony was held in the House of Lords, located in the Palace of Westminster, London. The winners of the twelve categories were awarded with Crystal statuettes. The competition attracted applicants from twenty-seven countries and five continents.

Pasquale Natuzzi (jury member, founder of the Natuzzi company):

"The project "House of the Sea "by Natalia Bolshakova was selected among many other projects, because the design was laid out in perfect harmony with the surrounding landscape, filled with uncompromising elegance of clear lines and minimalism. The design combines a high level of architecture, with real functional needs for a comfortable modern family life."

"Komsomolka, sportswoman, and simply beauty" Today we talk with Natalia Bolshakova, talented designer and a charming, innovative woman:

The mass media is full of stories about your victory in the prestigious competition. Natalia, our readers are interested in learning about your part in this, the jury and the participants - share your impressions with us. How did it all happen?

There are many impressions. Everything started from the selection of the contest that was open for receiving entrants in 3D. My final choice was an annual contest held by the Association of British design. Its main advantage is that designers from anywhere in the world can try their hand. The only requirements are a sense of desire and the Internet, through which documents are submitted. As for the panel, gathered here are the most eminent judges. My category was judged by Pasquale Natuzzi, head of the Italian furniture concern Natuzzi. The Best Product Category was judged by Jimmy Choo, the world-famous designer. One of the residential sector categories was judged by Nerio Alessandri, the head of Technogym brand. Entries were distributed into different categories based on criteria such as, the project cost, destination and others. Examples of projects were: Bentley Head Office, London Roca Gallery (from studio Zaha Hadid), Business Centre (Korea), Mercedes Benz Autohaus (USA) who all took part in SBID International Design Awards 2012. Can you imagine the award ceremony was held in the House of Lords in the Palace of Westminster? It was nice to be in the group of winners and other guests headed by Vanessa Brady, the president of the British Association of Designers. And, at the same time, it was exciting, as I was the only representative of our country.

“House over the sea"- is real-life project. How did the client react to the fact that the project of his house was entered for the competition?

Positively. When we started to work on the project, the customer had a strong desire to win the competition!

Reputable firms and well-known architects attended the competition. Was it scary to compete? Or were you confident of victory?

It was not so scary to compete, as all participants were treated with respect. It was actually the opposite and the realization that I decided to do this and found the time was nice. We often find ourselves in a cycle of daily work and do not have an opportunity to escape, to find the time to implement our deepest ambitions. Of course, deciding on this adventure there were a lot of thoughts and reflections about how worthy my work was. One should try to correlate the level of the project and the level of competition. I hadn’t confidence in the victory, in fact SBID International Design Awards have an international status, and all the companies who participate have a great responsibility.

Looking at your projects, we notice that the "minimalist" and "constructivism" styles are close to you. Is it easy to find customers who are ready to invest in a discreet chic?

I really like these styles; it is interesting to work with them. "House over the Sea" slightly favours the "cold" performance, but it was a demand and preference of the homeowner. Minimalism can be different, and a "warming effect" is also possible. Therefore, many modern people like this style. As for finding clients – those people who like designer’s projects appeal to the designer. Accordingly, if the project was carried out in the "minimalism" style, you don’t have a need to convince the person to like this style. On deciding to invest money in their space, the customer is already aware of the virtues of a particular style. Any style will appeal, if the professional works closely with the client on a project.

How do you characterize the role of an interior designer? Whether they are necessary at all?

Sometimes, we are confronted with such a thing as a lack of understanding of the functions and tasks of an interior designer. Choosing colours and objects that complement each other in style and purpose is closer to the problems of decorators. Designer functions are not limited to making a place "nice and with taste!" It is important to provide an engineering element to the project, to adapt it using a designed interior, oversee the development of smart home systems, security and fire systems and so on. In addition, the appropriate organization and sequence of work using related organizations, control of the delivery of materials and other goods in general, the entire project management is vested in the designer. Often, people do not have a structured understanding of what they want. This is another designer’s role - to ascertain the details, help to create a composite "image", to reproduce the desired space. From my personal observation, the cost of the finished project is about 5-7% of the total spent on the repair / construction budget. So does money saved on the project really cause so many problems, among which one of the main ones is the loss of precious time?

There has been a growing movement to build "eco-homes" In Europe for a long time. Natalia, do you use any energy-saving and environmental practices in your projects?

Honestly, I would like to use them more widely.This phenomenon is not so popular in Ukraine. Perhaps this is due to the fact that these systems are designed for the most part in countries with a milder climate than ours, so they are often not fully adapted to our conditions. Our manufacturers have not yet “captured” the market. In any case, the final decision on the installation of various systems takes the property owner – and who does not want to live in a house where everything is tested by time, where everything is running smoothly. I consider that our companies-suppliers and manufacturers have a lot of work in the field of the promotion of new technologies in the market of Ukraine and gaining consumer confidence.

3 years ago, in one interview, you mentioned, that you are going to enter the European market. Now this is happening.What plans do you have now?

Yes, I recently re-read this interview. (Smiles) I plan to penetrate the Western market. In my opinion, Ukrainian designers are quite competitive. Ultimately, it is necessary to expand horizons and gain new experiences. It is unacceptable to dwell at the same level,and definitely not stop!

The magazine will be released on the eve of the New Year. What would you like to wish Constructive readers in the coming 2013?

I wish all readers and all all the Ukrainians to have more confidence! Our country has a very strong potential – we have many talented people. We live in a place with supposedly restrictive conditions and this gives us more strength and desire to achieve something. It seems to me, that often it becomes our advantage against many neighbors. I’d like to deal with the stereotype “everything we have – is bad, and in the West – all is well.” This is not true! If people try to do their job on the highest level, the country as a whole, will become better too. Set only the highest goals – otherwise they will not be reached! And, of course, the well-being for all your families!

Electronic version of the article in the magazine:

Nataly Bolshakova interview_Contructive
+38 067 373 33 33
+38 067 373 33 33