Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Private Residence in Cracow, Poland by dot.projekt
May 31st, 2013 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Planika
Interview with Aleksandra Bobrowicz-Nadolny (dot.projekt)
Aleksandra Bobrowicz-Nadolny, an interior designer born in Zielona Gora, Poland. Graduated from the Jagiellonian University and the School of Interior Design and Space at the Cracow School of Art. The owner and originator of the dot.projekt studio. In her spare time she prepares a PhD and works as a graphic.
Could you please tell us more about yourself?
For the past couple of years I have been dealing with interior design, but it had not occurred under my name. A few months ago I decided to start my own company, so I will work under my own brand. Dot.projekt is something that I hope will be very successful. The “dot” relates to the promise of something big, in some way.When it comes to interior design, it also has been my passion since a long time, so I decided to take it seriously and make it my profession. For me it is a way of life, I do not feel like working. I think, most people passionate about what they do feel like this.
What inspires you? What is your philosophy about the creative process?
This is a very broad topic. However, what immediately comes to my mind is the feeling that I would like to show the Poles, and maybe even build the need for creating beautiful spaces, make them think about the interior as a blank page they can fill out. I would also like to show them how to think outside the box.
I remember the time when Elle Decoration was issuing their very first magazine in Poland. I was then wondering whether this type of magazine, with such a good quality is likely to survive on the polish market. It was still the time when the Poles came out of thinking they have acquired in during the days of communism. At the time the magazine was issued I was very happy about it. And when it turned out that many similar magazines have entered the market, it gave me the hope that it really is a big industry with a great potential.However, when it comes to my philosophy, I often use the phrase: “interior design is the art of choices.”
What kind of choices you have to face while working as an interior designer?
Usually, the first thing is to realize that there are various types of customers with diverse ideas and different influences and of course, ways of thinking about the interior. When we add the fact that nowadays customers are moving in, let’s call it, “the jungle”, where they can find a lot of inspiration, ideas, catalogues and magazines, at some point you need to catch their hand and guide them through the process of choice related to interiors. You need to define certain priorities and explain them how tomove around in the jungle.
I try to consistently make these choices together with the client. What is even more important to me is the aim and the mission of our profession. We show things that clients would not come up with, which can be an additional inspiration for him.But my choices are different. For long time I cannot read an article in the interior magazine and think about what I do like or not.I rather look at it from a further distance. I always think about what fits to the interior and to the particular customer. I cannot easily determine my preferences, I always try to put a specific project and the client in the first place.
In your projects you join concrete with wood, wicker andlinen. How do you deal with such materials?
To be honest, I really like to mix different textures, different patterns. I try to make the apartment more balanced, so I use materials that are both cold and hot in touch. It can be a stone, wood, biofireplace, or eventhe cold of LED lighting. The same situation is withthe elements of concrete, you always need to set it together with something contrary. I always try to make the result of the project in relation to what the client prefers, with what is important to him.
Some of them prefer to have rather a cold interior (we can then use polyepoxide), while others are keen on using wood, so practically the entire space is made of wood, and the client is satisfied at this point. I always try to look for new solutions, both in the field of designing a functional space, and then decorating it. It is also important to me. That is my philosophy. I actually distinguish interior projects that are designed from the interiors which are decorated.
Well-designed interiors are more valuable to me, if I may say so, because the work which has been put in to the functional interior was carefully thought. In some projects, at first you cannot see the work that has been put into the project, because everything is hidden in the walls, built-in. That is important to me. However, about that materials I talked about, I am trying to look for custom solutions. Show new opportunities to the customers.There are a whole bunch of possibilities.
How could you briefly describe the project in Cracow?
The project in cracow is really an interior carried out from scratch by me (dot.projekt)till it was finished.At the beginning I got the guidelines regarding a70m flat, which was in a fairly standard layout. I was told that the apartment has to be more masculine and that has to be something in it, which is like a piece of furniture in black leather, the sofa, something really cozy.It is more a holiday flat for the investor, so I coulduse more avant-garde solutions. What immediately has come to my mindwas the need for an open space in the apartment.
There was a very long and narrow corridor which I had to change into advantage.I always try tofix the most problematic spaces. In Krakow, I tried to give the interior some sort of a casket design, interior that is opened up like a casket. The whole veneered wall, which is in the lining includes three entrances to the independent rooms, plus two large closets. And in fact, this change meant that the person entering the room would go directly to the living room area. What was extremely important to me, is that the products used in the project were made of the finest materials, to make it feel like a very luxurious space, because my client, or actually clients, got used to such places.
The businessman’s wife was involved in the design of this apartment. What is also important, I have tried to add some extras to this space, in this case most of them were hidden, but there were some elements of chrome. It was theArtemide’s“Mercury” lamp, which resembles spilled mercury,a pair of delicate details somewhere in the sides of chairs, sofas, or in the chrome-plated radiator.I treat it a bit asa jewelry, just small touches that make the place even more elegant.
It is a combination of the cold and warm elements, a veneer with chromium, which is cold, a stone and on the other hand, the bio fireplace, which in this case is the warm product. Fireplace seems to create a counterweight to these materials. There is one more thing I wanted to add, I spent hourscrafting some of the finest furniture, and in fact all the apartment’s furniture is my project, including the kitchen, well I think that is what gives a character to this space.
Why have you decided to choose this particular model of bio fireplace? Was it difficult to convince the investor to Planika’s products?
The most important factor for me, while I was looking for a bio fireplace was its reference to the whole project. In fact, in this apartment we do not have right angles, everything is rounded. I wanted the fireplace to be rounded, so that I could integrate bio fireplace with the TV area. I wanted to avoid free-standing fireplaces, and choose one that allows me to fit it in the right place. I also depend on the fact that it is of the highest quality. I have heard more than once about your company and I must admit that I had no doubt here which company to choose. I also wanted, and it was important to me, the flame to be the most natural and the fuel almost flavorless. I know that the products which are of the highest quality parameters are the best.
Planika’s bio fireplace appeared at the stage of visualization. My client was interested in what it really is. I must admit that due to the fact that he did not know of such a solution, he was surprised when I told him about it. He liked the idea, so I immediately decided to go with the flow and show the investor how the bio fireplace works. I managed to go to a friendly showroom where Planika fireplaces were exposed. There we had a very short presentation on how to operate the bio fireplace. To be honest, he was quite open to the idea. He said that this is something new and he is willing to take advantage of such opportunity.
What were your inspirations for the project?
I must admit that, on the one hand I was thinking of an elegant office space, not so personalized. I wanted it to be a little bit like at the hotel room. Everyone who enters the space, no matter what, would like to stay there for a while. So I wanted to create a space full of luxury, inspired by the Art Deco. However, I wanted it to have a modern character. I mostly design in such a way that I sit in front of a blank page and then different ideas come to my mind. Inspiration comes in different forms in everyday life. So, I cannot say that a particular interior design was inspired by a specific space or thing.
Did you experience any major problems with implementation of your project?
Everything that has been done in the final project deviates slightly from the main project. The only thing I could not do was the cabinet under the kitchen countertops. Unfortunately, because of the corian top the shelves could not be hanged, they are placed on the ground, only the base is withdrawn. Also, the carpenter had a trouble with my project, because the door to the bedroom had to be opened inwards, and still be on a lining.
This is just a technical detail, but to be honest, the carpenter showed a great inventiveness and managed to do it in such a way that there was no need to modify thecladding. I wanted it to start at the beginning of the flat and end off in the kitchen. However, there were no major problems with the project. I have been given a great freedom with the project, we had just one meeting in Poland. I showed all the moving parts that I would like to use in the project. They were accepted, and the investor’s wife wanted to push my ideas.
Was this project successful?
The client was very satisfied with the result. He did not participate throughout the process of transforming this space, so when he came to Krakow after more than two months, he did not want to leave. I know that he was very pleased, and so was his wife. They really like to get back to the apartment. In fact, the project has been done without any involvement of the investor, which in this case was a benefit. It was a project with an element of a surprise. In my opinion, the original idea of a cabinet apartment has worked perfectly.
How can your projects be distinguished from other interior designers?
Every interior is different. In my opinion, there are really two types of design. Some interiors are done seriously, where the joke can be implemented. This interior is usually much more elegant and luxurious than others. The solutions that are used in there are more avant-garde. But there are also the interiors that are less serious for the person that enters such space. It is difficult to say which of them are more valuable, I think this is impossible to estimate. However, my projects include both serious interiors and those that are with a grain of salt, full of fun and, let’s say, light weighted. Even if the items that have been used in the project are less expensive, I am trying to compensate it by adding some playful element to the space, so the client can smile.
What are your favorite projects and studios?
I think my last project, which we discussed is my favorite one. It is because of the fact that I made it from A to Z. I was able to lead the whole project around my concept. I really liked the materials, they were very grateful, and so the effect was also the most desirable. However, when it comes to my inspiration and projects by other studios, I deeply appreciate Decorum Architects. This design studio also does a lot of the implementation of wall coverings, I do admire them because they are well designed, not decorated. Whenever a client is willing to see the difference between the designed and decorated interiors I show their projects. Of course I like and I draw a lot of inspiration from overseas projects, such as theBouroullec Brothers or Jaime Hayon. I think becauseI like their strong fairytale and playful elements.