Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Mikhail Kalesnikau ("MK") 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?

MK : Maryna: At the age of 11, a drawing teacher noticed my abilities and suggested that I enroll in a specialized school with a focus on art and design, where she had previously taught. I was accepted after my first drawing exam. At the same time, after consulting with your family, decide on your future specialty – architect. 3 years later, she entered the College of architecture and construction. After graduating in 2006, I went to work in a small private design Studio through friends. I also decided to continue my studies remotely, studying for 6 years as a civil engineer. In 2012, I was able to fulfill my own order – it was a private residential building of 300 m2. In 2016, to receive a large order-interior design of a public area of a shopping center in Minsk, which was later awarded the "national award for the best interior". Working at such a large facility and workshop at the same time was no longer possible, so I started working for myself. Mikhail: By the time I graduated from high school, the question was who I wanted to be. I decided that design and architecture are the closest thing to me, since I like to draw and create environments. I took two months of individual drawing classes and eventually enrolled in an architectural College. Since my mother is an engineer, I have seen and understood what awaits me in this profession since childhood. After College, I was invited to work as an architect in a design organization where I did an internship while studying in College. I worked there for 6 years and gained very useful knowledge and experience. After that, I was lucky to get into a foreign design and construction company as a leading architect. There I participated in major projects, including the chief architect (not the author of the concept) of the project of the football stadium in Borisov, later this stadium entered the world top 10 in 2014. Then I was the chief architect of a large shopping center with the hotel "Green City" in Minsk. Working on such large objects, I had to look at and evaluate dozens of projects of tenants, sometimes helping them with design.

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

MK : We are always inventing and seeking for better and nicer way to make something. Most likely it comes from our nature.

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

MK : It was our decision for each of us.

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

MK : Interiors and furniture. We prefer to design offices and worksapces, it's really intresting to find out and then to create a comfortable office for different types of companies.

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

MK : Practice, the only way to become a good designer is to create more. Then to look after the result of your work learn.

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

MK : Great designer was more lucky. He had his right moment to become the great.

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

MK : Good design has a certain naturalness in all areas. It's as if nature itself created this, when you see this solution, there are no other options left.

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

MK : A good design will always return the money invested in it.

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

MK : Games and cat houses.

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

MK : The underwater hotel.

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

MK : There are no secretes. The talent and maybe some luck.

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

MK : Santiago Calatrava, Le Corbusier.

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

MK : There are so much good designs this time. It's really hard to choose and name. You can just check the list of A'design winners this year.

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

MK : Naturalness. The feeling it's done like should be.

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

MK : Our way is to be on site more. It's better to see your own eyes how this thing working, what solution is easier to produce, were you can improve some materials or use some new technology.

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

MK : Artist or scuplture is the alternative way for us.

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

MK : Functionality that is pleasant to the human perception.

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

MK : The design Director of a leading construction company in Belarus, Dainius Purvis, once ventured to hire me as a very young architect for a large project and gave me a shot at a large design.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

MK : Fluke. But luck comes to those who are ready to catch it.

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

MK : The end of the construction boom in our country, which coincided with the global economic crisis. Many colleagues left the profession at this time.

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

MK : In a form that the client can understand.

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

MK : Absolutely top interior for some big international company headquarter. We wish.

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

MK : We like what we are doing, so the main goal to see how our design is "working properly" through the time.

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

MK : There completely different expectations from the architect or the designer. You never know, so you are to do the best every time.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

MK : Nice look and nice feel creates nice mood. We have great experience, when in the vandal region we built modern sport arena and no one spoils it during mid season, completely no one. It was a bid surprise for local guards, so good design made someone better.

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

MK : Some office design and new shopping mall design. We excited to use some new technology with metal surfaces, to have some new modern look without high budget.

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

MK : Hard to choose, really.

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

MK : Improve the design level. Now, the customer often thinks that the design is just a picture.

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

MK : Integration of different branches of the design.

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

MK : At least one month, but it depends.

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

MK : We start from exploring the site and nearby landscape.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

MK : "Need to think about it more, it might be better solution"

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

MK : In architecture nowadays the technologies are setting the trend.

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

MK : In the design process - minor, PC is an extension of your pencil mostly.

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

MK : CAD and 3D software to create nice picture for the client and detailed drawings for the contractor.

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

MK : Color creates the mood.

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

MK : How could we do it?

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

MK : We are to explore this.

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

MK : We are a couple either for life or for the design.

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

MK : After graduation, by chance, we became assistants to a famous elderly architect with vision damage. Vladimir Plyusnin taught us for 8 years. Undoubtedly, this school will remain with us for the rest of our lives.

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

MK : Maryna: When I was 8 years old, my father was given a book about castles and fortresses in Britain with high-quality photos. At first I looked at them, then I began to draw pictures of Romanesque and Gothic architectural monuments. There was a desire for a profession. Mikhail: great soviet book about the drawing and posters, it was a full guide how can you learn to draw and how to become an artist.

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

MK : To go deeper in details with every next design.

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

MK : We have a big list of great architects. It would be so cool to speak with them and to learn as much.

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

MK : We are not so famous by far. But time to time people are just come to say Hi and it's cool.

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

MK : Season - autumn.

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

MK : It's so fun to look after workers on site when they asking how was that smart guy invented this thing, like it's not possible to build. And then You can explain them in minutes what it what.

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

MK : Sport activity helps us a lot in motivation.

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

MK : Maybe for our parents. But it's hard to tell now.

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

MK : No one knows. Hope that good design and good architecture will last so long.

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?

MK : It's the most interesting job in the world, but you should realize that you can't quit this. It will stay with you for all your life.


VR Club Amusement Park

VR Club Amusement Park by Mikhail Kalesnikau

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