LEGENDARY INTERVIEW

Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Natalia Komarova ("NK") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?

NK : I have come a long way. In adolescence, I was fond of style and fashion, but I went to study for another profession. In parallel with studying at the university, I began to learn professional photography. After a while I decided to become a designer. The accumulated experience over the years of study has been very useful for me and helps in my work now.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?

NK : In general, I have always had a thirst for creativity. In addition, I feel the need to make the lives of those surround me better, to create something that can benefit a lot of people. I have been searching for myself for a long time and finally realized that I want to do design.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?

NK : Becoming a designer was my conscious choice. I went to this for a long time and I understand that this is my mission.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?

NK : I do the design of furniture, lamps, accessories and interiors. At the moment, I would like to devote more time to the design of upholstered furniture and engage in its production.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?

NK : Because of my modesty, I do not consider myself as a design legend. But I can advise novice designers to be persistent and confident. Take part in contests and exhibitions, show your work to as many people as possible in order to find your target audience. You need to work hard and constantly improve your skills.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?

NK : There are a lot of good designers, but only a few are great. These are people who have not only learned to do something at a sufficiently high level, but are able to identify trends, are in the vanguard and set new rules of the game.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?

NK : Good design speaks for itself. It is self-sufficient and complete. It should have a clear message, a structure built and nothing superfluous.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?

NK : Good design helps the development of human culture, as well as any creativity in general. Through design, humanity receives more convenient, practical and perfect things that help at different levels of everyday life.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?

NK : I would like to design large public and commercial spaces, such as exhibitions, museums, restaurants and hotels. I would be interested in working together with leading architects as an interior designer for the spaces they create.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?

NK : I have several such projects that I would very much like to embody. One of the first dream projects was and remains the restaurant of healthy food. I imagine a large space in eco style, equipped with modern terminals for ordering food. I have not yet been able to realize this project, but I hope I will have such an opportunity.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?

NK : My secret is to present familiar forms in a new way. I strive to create non-standard solutions, without resorting to excessive complication of elements. Simplicity of the design does not mean carelessness, I carefully think through every detail until I get a desired result.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?

NK : I am very inspired by projects of Patricia Urquiola and Tom Dixon. I am genuinely amazed at the skill of Zaha Hadid. These are people from whom I try to learn and their creative path has discovered a lot for me in the design world.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?

NK : I like a lot of furniture projects created by Patricia Urquiola and Marсel Wanders. For me, their work is a perfect combination of a unique idea, a sense of taste and an incredible match in the choice of color. Their style is so recognizable that you can only know a few of the works of these designers, but when you see their new project, you can guess exactly who it belongs to. These people create their design universes and they do really inspire to create. Their projects repeatedly prove that the design is able to change people's life and the author himself.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?

NK : I strive to find the golden middle. I always try to make the project combine interesting materials and the work of high-level manufacturers, but so that it has its own zest. It should evoke positive emotions from his future owners. But it is difficult for me to find some favorite project, because in each of them I invest a part of myself.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?

NK : I attribute my progress to the constant efforts that I put in learning new aspects of design. During the time that I was engaged in projects, I read a lot of design books, looked through thousands of magazine spreads and studied terabytes of video. Proper selection of forms and materials, the arrangement of light and color accents, well-built composition - all of this is of tremendous importance and it is necessary to study hard.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?

NK : I would become an inventor and developer of innovative products. I am the winner of business innovation technology competitions and would devote myself to innovation management or business planning.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?

NK : Design is a creative process in projecting buildings, furniture, accessories, etc. In a broad sense, design helps to solve important social and technical problems through the improvement and rational construction of a subject environment of a person.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?

NK : I am very grateful to my team, which supported me throughout the whole creative way. In addition, my parents helped me a lot with their faith in my success. Without all these people who surround me, my path to the peaks would have been much more difficult and longer.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

NK : The desire to create, the feeling that I was doing the right thing and innate diligence helped me to develop designer skills.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?

NK : I have long started to have various ideas and solutions. But to translate my ideas was not easy at first, because I did not have the full range of tools and skills needed to be a good designer. Over time, through my mistakes, I began to understand how to better present my design, make it interesting and catchy.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?

NK : A presentation should be clear and clean to not complicate the perception of a viewer. An idea and a creative message should not contain anything excess. Best features of a design must be brought to the fore, designer should think over its presentation and the content of a color palette and light.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?

NK : Now I am working on the design of a new lamp, which, it seems to me, will be able to attract the attention of a potential buyer with its unusual and original form.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?

NK : I wish to expand my team, improve my professional level. I want to continue to create stunning and beautiful things that improve the life of people. I hope that I can develop beautiful interiors and furniture that will outlast me. Perhaps my path will inspire even more people to be bold and go towards their goal to do what they love.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?

NK : I can assume that those who already liked my design are waiting for me to continue to engage in such projects and continue to develop my style. It is important to always move forward, because progress does not stand still, and therefore it is expected that subsequent work will correspond to the spirit of modern time and respond to the actual needs of society.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

NK : Design offers solutions to social and domestic problems. Through design, you can draw people's attention to difficult situations and make them think about important things. High-quality design can greatly facilitate the life of society, offering a more convenient and thoughtful way of existence being surrounded by household items, architecture, etc.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?

NK : Now I spend a lot of time creating unusual light sources that will help decorate an interior and bring a touch of comfort to the atmosphere at home.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?

NK : Those projects, when I and the client both liked the result. Mutual understanding and comfortable work on a project make design process the most effective. Such interaction between a client and a designer is most preferable in work and allows you to create interesting solutions.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?

NK : I would like to see more design institutes with a focus on a practical use of acquired skills to open in many countries. It will allow to accumulate more people in this area and help to bring global design to a new level.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?

NK : More and more designers are paying attention to environmental problems, they are looking for materials to replace natural ones. Some use recycled materials for their products. There is a creation of complex materials from different components and we can see the development aesthetics of complex new combinations.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?

NK : The specifics of a project determines the amount of time spent on its implementation. Something can be done in a few weeks, and some large projects need a year to be finalized.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?

NK : I start working on a new project with an interview with a client. It is necessary to understand well what he wants and determine his needs. Then I develop technical specifications and proceed to create sketches.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

NK : My motto is to enjoy the design process and let others enjoy the result of this process. I strive to bring benefits to people and give them bright emotions, so I understand that I am fulfilling my mission.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?

NK : I believe that trends and design mutually influence each other. It is a process of interpenetration, in which sometimes one element becomes more important, and sometimes another, depending on the situation in the design field.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?

NK : Technology certainly strongly influences the design process, helps to achieve the set task faster and thus facilitates the process. 3D modeling, for example, helps to quickly form an image of the final result, in order to prepare the necessary plans and presentations for the manufacturer.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?

NK : I mainly use Autodesk Autocad and 3d max - it solves most of the tasks associated with visualization. Corona Render, used in this program, is very convenient to use and gives a very juicy and realistic picture, so I prefer it. For the formation of folds and other small elements of a model, which in 3d max is problematic I use the program named Marvelous Designer. An image obtained after render is processed in Photoshop in order to give it artistry and add certain visual effects.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?

NK : Probably any professional in this field will say that a skillful use and complementarity of the color, materials and ambient in design is one of the most important elements for both designer and customer.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?

NK : It would be interesting for me to speculate on how my ideas are born, where I take inspiration, what way I used to work. I would like to discuss these questions with people interested in design as well as me.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?

NK : I feel joy. I like to see the evolution of design. It is nice to know that there are people who develop design as a whole, from whom you can learn something.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?

NK : Everyone has their own vision and their own style. It is not always possible to come to a common opinion, but it is important that the other person could critically refer to your work and help to improve it. For me, such people are members of my team.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?

NK : My parents had a very big influence on my development as a designer. Mom always paid attention to aesthetic issues, and dad to issues of construction, as he himself is engaged in this. Therefore, I equally pay attention to constructive and external aesthetics in a design process.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?

NK : I read and continue to read a large number of books. These include fiction, educational books, fashion magazines, and monographs of people from the world of design and fashion. It seems to me that it is not only literature that influences my design, but all the accumulated life experience in general, and therefore it is difficult for me to select a particular book which influence turned out to be the greatest.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?

NK : I am a person obsessed with her work. I devote all my time to working and improving my skills. I try to participate in all stages of work from interviews and sketches to the final result.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?

NK : As I have already said, Patricia Urquiola is my idol in the design world. I would be glad to meet her in person, to communicate and work together. I consider her a very inspiring person.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?

NK : I do not perceive the victory in the competition as the accomplished fact of my formation as a designer. I do not concentrate on this and continue to work. I always understand what I still need to learn and what to strive for. Victory is a pleasant moment of life, but I try not to take it very seriously.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?

NK : The neutral colors inherent in warm materials are closest to me. Such as terracotta, ocher. My favorite place is home, where there are parents and a special atmosphere. In terms of food, I have no particular preferences. For me, it’s not so important what I eat, but in what company I do it. My favorite season of the year is the middle of spring. In Russia, the change of seasons is very noticeable. After a harsh winter, when everything is covered with snow, the onset of spring literally marks the birth of a new life. Nature comes to life and it gives a charge of new forces and bright emotions. My favorite thing is a pendant around my neck, which I have been wearing for over 13 years. My dad gave it to me as a charm. It always keeps the warmth of a loved one who gave it. I am inspired by the projects of Cassina. It collected in itself the work of great designers, each of whom is a self-sufficient person. Together they create a mix of ideas and forms that evoke a lot of emotions. In general, there are a lot of brands that inspire, but the first one that comes to mind is Cassina.

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?

NK : In the first office, we painted the walls ourselves. The front door was open and everyone passing by could see us in polyethylene, respirators and paint. About two hours after the start, a woman came into the office. To my question: “How can we help you?”, she answered - “You would rather need help!”. This situation then made us laugh and we realized that it was time to take a break from work.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?

NK : If people around me like what I do, it motivates me to create even more interesting decisions.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?

NK : No, I did not understand. I was a child, for which the most frequent question was - "why?". A lot of things in the world interested me. I drew attention to various deatails that other people were not interested in, and partly it formed in me those qualities that helped me become a designer.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?

NK : I believe that the space-time frame will change. People will explore the space of the universe, cross vast distances in search of new worlds. The world that seems to us large will seem to descendants as small as a grain of sand. Our modern ideas about the world in thousand years will seem to be extremely primitive.

LEGENDARY DESIGNER

NATALIA KOMAROVA IS THE FOUNDER OF ALTER EGO STUDIO. THE PHILOSOPHY OF HER WORK IS BASED ON THE IDEA OF CREATING FURNITURE, LAMPS AND DECOR ALIVE, FILLED WITH THE ENERGY OF LIFE. THAT IS WHY IN HER WORKS THERE ARE A LOT OF RHYTHMS, WEAVING, BENDS, ROTATIONS, CURVES AND SPIRALS THAT CREATE THE EFFECT OF MOVEMENT. SHE TRY TO TRACK THE ACTIONS AND REACTIONS THAT BRING VIVID EMOTIONS. THE SPECTRUM OF SUCH REACTIONS IS QUITE WIDE, RANGING FROM A FLEETING GLANCE TO THE EXCITING FORCE OF THE WIND OR SURF. THE MAIN THING IS THE CONCENTRATION IS NOT ON STATIC, BUT MOVEMENT AND CHANGE.


Lollipop Armchair

Lollipop Armchair by Natalia Komarova


Shell Sofa

Shell Sofa by Natalia Komarova


Capsule Lighting

Capsule Lighting by Natalia Komarova


Infinity Armchair

Infinity Armchair by Natalia Komarova

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