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Interview with Mikhail Kalesnikau

Home > Designer Interviews > Mikhail Kalesnikau

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Mikhail Kalesnikau (MK) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Mikhail Kalesnikau by clicking here.

Interview with Mikhail Kalesnikau at Tuesday 5th of May 2020
Mikhail Kalesnikau
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
MK: Maryna: I was born with pronounced abilities. Other children ran along the street, and I loved to sew and draw and sculpt. At the age of 13, I completely decided on the profession of an architect and entered a specialized school with special training in the field of art and design. At 16, I went to Architecture College. Mikhail: since childhood, I loved to draw, and my classes in the children's Studio of technical creativity gave me an understanding of working with materials. So I chose architecture as a combination of creativity and function. And I love it.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
MK: We are independent designers with an extensive network of partners. This allows us to offer the customer flexible terms of cooperation. We can work directly with the customer as independent specialists. We can offer cooperation with design and construction organizations and perform turnkey projects with design, engineering and construction solutions. Under any conditions of cooperation, we accompany the object up to the opening.

FS: What is "design" for you?
MK: Lifestyle. New ideas and thoughts constantly.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
MK: Objects that are not similar in purpose to the previous ones. Even better, what no one has done before.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
MK: VR club so far.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
MK: We started with private homes. And at the same time, we worked as hired architects in design organizations, where we were engaged in civil and industrial objects.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
MK: Glass. It can be anything, a facade, partition, furniture, lighting.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
MK: 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. is the most productive time. No one and nothing disturbing you at this time of the day.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
MK: On the movement of people, on what trajectory they will move and what they will see and feel moving along it.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
MK: Not so much emotions to be honest. Our way is to imagine this design like it’s already build and work to make it as clean and natural as possible. Impression should match to the purpose of the design.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
MK: Joy. It is very nice to see the finished work and hear customer feedback. And then we start thinking what could have been done better. After all, you can do better always and endlessly.

FS: What makes a design successful?
MK: No compromises, no complexity, and maximum attention to the customer.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
MK: Functionality and originality, the lack of superfluous complexity.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
MK: In the Soviet school of architecture, there was a concept of "social request". We are taught from the first courses to think about what society needs. Saving resources, saving the budget, certainly using the right materials in terms of ecology and durability. The designer must understand the environment and use cases of their design.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
MK: In the modern world, good design is a necessity and it's great. You always need to attract professionals, both in design and in other areas of life. The world has long understood this and felt all the advantages. In Belarus, the design market is also steadily growing, everything "new" is now simply required to have a good design.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
MK: We exhibited at the Moscow house of the architect interior design week in autumn 2019. We plan to participate this year as well.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
MK: From any thing and shape around you can make a design. You just look for it in the space around you. And of course in the history of architecture, in nature.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
MK: In the first place, of course, the function. The object's ownership must be obvious to the requester. Our style-the result should be such as to become the style of the customer, if it was not there before. Our customers should feel this design is very natural to them.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
MK: We have a very good architectural heritage, the city was almost completely destroyed during the WWII and its restoration was approached with the maximum degree of care and professionalism. This is visible to all guests and it certainly affects us a lot. Therefore, the requirements for an architect in our city are very high. The architect must understand engineering, materials, structures, legislation, and take into account the construction procedure.

FS: How do you work with companies?
MK: We integrate into the team and strive for a common goal.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
MK: To get the most out of the design, you need to do your homework and then tell us in the most complete and detailed way about your expectations and the desired result. To roughly understand the level of the designer, you need to compare the project of a previously built object with its implementation. If the project and reality match, the designer is probably a good one. The next level of comparison is how much the object has changed over time, whether everything has tripled in this work of the customer.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
MK: The process is not really unique. We start from the conversation with the client, to find out what should we have as the result, some preferences in style and materials. Then the most hard and energy consuming stage of creating a concept and negotiation with the client. Lots of intresting but not realistic ideas was cut on that stage, because we are always trying to critisize each other, to fing all complications and drawback in the idea on next stages. Also the image creation (rendering) is a big and important part of this stage. Local clients prefer to have high quality images to understand our idea on paper, way before it could be build. Final stage of the design it’s a detailed drawings. More attention to details – safer your idea will be in the hand of contractor, higher a chance to get perfect result. And the pleasant stage of this job – following to contractor on site. Here we can slightly fix or improve our design.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
MK: As for architects - five items it almost all that we have at home ;)

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
MK: To minimize the routine is a goal for every day. So regularly we have some meetings with the client in a first part of the day, than we can explore what new on site, ask for feedback from this client if he’s happy or we need to change or improve something. And the evening is a good time to create new concept, to think about new idea. If we need to work on drawing it will be done late evening or even at night. Because it’s the most quite time of the day when you can focus 100%.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
MK: We are not really old, but for who are younger we can only suggest to take any opportunity in their life. To be close to the client and to the site. To see and understand how this process looking from the client’s point of view It will be the fastest and the most effective way to grow as a professional.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
MK: We should say, that it’s so adorable feeling to create something new. To be useful, to suit all client’s expectation and to exceed it. Negative moments are professional deformation and criticizing of everything around. As a professional you can notice even tiny defects, all this not crucial dents and scratches in the design, that could stay hidden for a regular customer.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
MK: Search for a clear shape and repeat its outlines through the entire design.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
MK: Ability to hear and ability to explain. The ability to cast aside preconceptions and look at everything out of the box.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
MK: The most important thing is paper and pen. The designer must be able to draw, be able to show his idea to others. All these programs and digital technologies are just an addition to the good old paper.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
MK: In this case, the main thing is to start. And can not just stop creating, new ideas are coming even if you working with some other things.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
MK: It depends of the object. But definitely not faster than one month, because our work adds time to coordinate with the customer, he also needs to understand and feel everything.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
MK: “What will I get for my money? (why it is so expensive)”

FS: What was your most important job experience?
MK: We were working in as a client on different big sites. It’s really important to understand what is to be a client, this experience helped us many times in our job.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
MK: Founder of a newly created business, Director of development of an existing business. Foreign companies opening their branch in our country. We try to look for complex and large tasks.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
MK: Reconstructions. They are more often, oddly enough, more original than new construction, and the tasks to be solved are more complex, which means that they are more interesting.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
MK: Like for the rest of the world – to survive during this virus situation. Thankfully we have few designs in progress.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
MK: We develop the design in constant communication with other participants in the design and construction process. The design team gathers for each object individually, depending on the needs. In our business, you need to try to know all aspects of the work, but at a high level it is better to bring highly specialized specialists, for example, for the development of engineering systems.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
MK: We just finished the design of the local residence of international designing company “SoyuzNefteHimProekt”. Now the site will start and we are to be involved. It’s a big Russian company and the idea of this residence – to provide the ground for international meeting on the very high level of CEO’s.

FS: How can people contact you?
MK: Contact via e-mail, or send us a message in "Linked In"


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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