Jenya Lykasova, the art director of the studio, hosted a live broadcast on Instagram to answer numerous questions from our followers. We’ve decided to share the answers to the most interesting ones with you.
In this article you can learn about Jenya’s work ethics and principles, inspiration and personal development. Enjoy!
Tell us about your project experience.
As most beginners, I started my career helping friends and acquaintances with their interior design projects for free. Having completed a number of decent (in my opinion) projects, I submitted the portfolio on Behance and Freelance. And that’s when real customers approached me, mainly from Moscow. So far, most of our current projects are located there
Do you visualize projects yourself? What programs do you use?
When it comes to a complete design project, I work on 3D rendering myself. I really love to create an interior concept and work it out in 3D. I tried different visualization options such as collages and sketches. But none of them gave me a complete picture of how everything works together. As proportions of objects in space, the combination of shapes and volumes and the composition of objects in the room are vital for me, 3D is my best choice.
I assemble the entire scene myself, from geometry to decor. Then I delegate the preliminary version to a professional who helps setting up beautiful lights, textures and camera angles for rendering in 3ds Max.
After customer’s approval, I hand the model over to our architect to further work with it in Revit. This allows for a better understanding of technical aspects of a project, for example, what dimensions need to be considered, how materials are joined, etc.
How much time does it take to complete a project?
The timing is pretty standard, sometimes a little longer than usual. For instance, for an 100 sq. m. apartment, it takes us 3-4 months to design, and about 10-12 months to implement - this is subject to continuous funding, of course. Unfortunately, many projects are being delayed due to lack of budget or delays in financing.
Where do you get an image of a project from?
The project image is always the portrait of clients, the way I see them. Whilst planning is based on the ergonomics of space, it’s literally science, the project image is pure creativity, therefore it is born on an emotional, subconscious level. It’s something you cannot see, but feel, these are pieces of a big puzzle that is being put together from the moment the customers and I first meet until the 3D is demonstrated.
Do you agree to take part in a project, if customers refuse to conduct a photoshoot upon completion?
There are NDA projects in our area of business, meaning it’s prohibited to disclose both the customer and the work done. However, in most cases the cost of such projects is a lot higher than the standard price. As for me, the project should be very exciting and interesting, so that I decide to embark on it under an NDA.
We always discuss a photoshoot with our customers, there is a corresponding section in our contract. Of course, we can agree not to take pictures of particular zones of an apartment, if a customer has a specific reason for that. But we really want customers to understand one important thing: they choose us as designers thanks to our portfolio, so our future clients will want to see the results of our work as well.
And I’d like to share a little secret: if an architect knows the interior will be photographed, he or she will have a lot more enthusiasm! Every architect wants to do something really interesting, sophisticated and unique, especially when not only customers, but also colleagues and professionals will evaluate the finished work. Perhaps, the project will then get an award in a competition and receive worldwide recognition. This adds extra energy and willingness to do everything at the highest level.
Do you have any projects in other countries?
Yes. We have completed a project on the Mediterranean coast, and even in Canada. We are always open to international projects, as we have experience not only in design, but also implementation of interiors in other countries (including remote work).
How to remain unique?
First, try not to tackle dozens of projects at the same time. Everyone chooses his own path, but if you work on a huge number of interiors simultaneously, most likely their uniqueness will be lost. I sincerely recommend limiting concurrent projects to the number that allows you creating unique concepts for each of them.
Second, each new client is a new story, a new life, a new image. Try to feel it and understand what his or her peculiarities are, how this client stands out from the previous ones. This might be hard sometimes, but noticing the unique features of the client and studying their preferences and wishes, you can always get an idea of their essence and then express it through shapes and colors in space.
Another unspoken rule of mine, or rather, a fad, is avoid using the same things twice. This is applicable to furniture, light and any other interior items. The modern world is full of interesting objects, every year product designers come up with something new, something never seen before. And this is wonderful! Do not stand still, be in a continuous search for new ideas, new combinations and forms and try them out! That’s how you’ll always be able to offer a unique value to your customer.
How do you level up your professional skills?
Like any other, our profession requires continuous growth and development. Design is rapidly evolving, new trends, technologies and approaches appear every day. You cannot stop learning, otherwise you will be left behind. Therefore, every architect or designer needs to keep up with the times and dive deeper into the profession. Fortunately, the information is widely accessible now, and one can explore any field he or she wants! As for me, I focus on the following directions:
- Running a studio by myself, I really want to learn more about executive management. I read business literature, attend specialized courses, and constantly stay in touch with colleagues, as I find exchange of experience and, most importantly, mistakes one of the most effective methods of learning.
- In our sphere, it is extremely important to know the market and freely navigate in it. In particular, be acquainted with various producers and their assortment, understand the production process specifics, etc. This allows offering customers the best options in terms of “price / quality” within their budget. Personally I love visiting production facilities, as I am truly fascinated by the production process.
- I’m interested in biographies of iconic designers and architects, although there were times I thought it’s quite boring. But now it’s important for me to understand what a person was driven by, what he or she wanted to say in their work, how they chose their path.
- Artists and sculptors is another area I research now. Art is something precious and intangible for me, an enormous universe that cannot be described in words. When we try to feel art, to understand what an artist has to say, we get to a whole new level of perception of reality, which is certainly reflected in our projects.
- I would like to learn more about HoReCa. So far I have no theoretical base nor hands-on experience in designing such objects, but I plan to take a professional course in this field. I am very interested in boutique design and I have a dream to implement an interior for a boutique hotel somewhere in Europe.
- I’m also studying the opportunity to take a negotiation course in the future - I believe such skills will definitely be useful when working with clients, contractors and builders.
- And, of course, English! I studied German at school, so I had to learn English from scratch when I was a student. After a long break of 8 years, I got back to learn the language again. I studied with a tutor and also completed a one-month course in Canada. Lacking practice, you can forget the language easily, but English is a must-have now, so I understand I need to continue mastering my knowledge so that to be able to meet new people, discover new information and travel with no language barrier.
What is your source of inspiration?
First of all, the clients themselves are the most powerful source of inspiration. The image I get at our first meeting continues to evolve further based on what I see and hear from them. Day and night, I constantly keep this image in my mind, and that’s where the inspiration for a unique concept for this particular client comes from.
Besides, I get inspired by emotions. You never know what will shock you: a stressful situation in life, a new pleasant acquaintance, a long-awaited conversation with an interesting and talented person, a film, painting, or maybe even a chair, a piece of fabric or just an inspirational story from a friend about an unusual decoration technique. There is a spark inside you that can light up at any moment! When I experience strong emotions (whether positive or negative), I come up with one-of-a-kind ideas, spill these emotions out of myself through creativity.
Any tips for young designers?
- Learn theory, technical knowledge is VERY important when it comes to construction.
- Always strive for excellence, ask yourself again and again “Have I done well? Do I need to rethink and make it even better? ”
- Travel as much as you can. I believe “watchfulness” is one of the key elements impacting your taste, so the more you see, the better your own ideas will be.
What are you really proud of?
I’m proud to be able to do the job I really love every day. Few people have such a luxury, and I’m happy to be one of them.