Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Ivana Lukovic ("IL") 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?

IL : 1991, Architect, MA, School of Architecture University of Belgrade, BELGRADE/SERBIA 1997-2020, Own Architectural Studio engaged in Housing projects- Interior design- Furniture design- Architectural competitions- Exhibition design, ATHENS/GREECE

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

IL : It is a prospect of experiencing the completed space, that is a part of my mental world, as well as the design process itself expressed through numerous sketches, drawings, models, writings, renderings, etc. The visceral feeling, created during the genesis of the idea, its evolution and realization, is so powerful and stimulating that it helps you to overcome any difficulty you might encounter throughout the creative journey and stay motivated.

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

IL : Since the time I was 15 years old, I am inclining towards art and architecture, expressing that through drawings, reading relevant books, visiting exhibitions, concerts, lectures, and places of interest. Hence, the choice to study architecture and become an architect came to me quite naturally and without any doubt. My parents just supported my decision.

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

IL : Mostly, I design bespoke, multidisciplinary residential spaces and that subject is my preference. I would like to design simple dwellings at Greek islands, situated at some challenging site, because the unique scenery and atmosphere of these places fascinate me.

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

IL : They should include time as a main factor in the network of possible approaches and decisions during the design process. Concerning that, I would like to refer to the part of the essay “The trout and the mountain stream” written by Alvar Aalto in which he expresses in a metaphorical manner importance of time for the maturing of our ideas. “I would like to add that architecture and its details are connected in a way with biology. They are, perhaps, like large salmon or trout. They are not born mature, they are not even born in the sea or body of water where they will normally live. They are born many hundreds of miles from their proper living environment. Where the rivers are but streams, small, shining bodies of water between mountains…as far from their normal environment as man’s spiritual life and instincts are from his daily work. And as the fish egg’s development to a mature organism requires time, so it also requires time for all that develops and crystallizes in our world of thoughts. Architecture needs this time to an even greater degree than any other creative work.”

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

IL : Great designer knows how to orchestrate his collaborators to achieve realization of his idea.

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

IL : When the components create harmonious Whole and involve all your senses.

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

IL : When we are surrounded by cleverly created objects and we are experiencing cleverly designed spaces, we feel positive impact on our entire being.

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

IL : I would design contemporary version of vacation home by Le Corbusier in Roquebrune -Cap- Martin in French Riviera, for my family. I like the idea of functional, miniature space where you emphasize the beauty of natural light, surrounding scenery and materials applied. Location could be anywhere, however, tiny Greek island would be my preference.

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

IL : I have just mentioned above.

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

IL : It is my ability to transfer personal enthusiasm for each new architectural challenge to the clients and collaborators, thus inspiring them to contribute to the project in the best possible manner. Good collaborations make realization joyful and possible.

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

IL : I am inspired by a lot of people and it doesn't have to be necessarily only from the world of architecture and design, but also from musicians, poets, film and theatre directors, authors, chefs, nature and from the simple everyday events.

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

IL : It is a broad subject, but, personally, my favourite space is Dominican Convent Sainte-Marie de La Tourette, famous piece of architecture, designed by Le Corbusier. During my visit to this this place of silence, I was exposed, unexpectedly, to such an overwhelming spiritual power that created in my being a strong emotional reaction.

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

IL : It is reconstruction of the Apartment 24 in Belgrade, Serbia, because it focused on architectural qualities in parallel with the social ones. Namely, it was coordinated in three languages and supported by a few dedicated professionals from various construction fields and several countries. It was their enthusiasm, international expertise and human qualities that made realization joyful and possible, despite the challenges regarding technical and bureaucratic issues. It is, also, excellent in terms of natural light sources and ventilation, materials applied and functionality. Result is sustainable retreat that involves all senses and brings serenity to the users and visitors.

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

IL : I believe that they should expose themselves through traveling to the new images of architectural situations, landscapes, art exhibitions, museums, exploration of local flavors, major events regarding music or theater etc. All these subjects of interests, that improve them personally and professionally, will become part of their memory, patiently waiting to be the initial point of departure in the future creative project.

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

IL : Again, I would become designer!

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

IL : Design is the process where the time, along with personal feelings, professional skills and knowledge, life experience, ethical and esthetic sensibility, mind and body, eye and hand, as well as the entire persona are involved.

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

IL : My late parents, my husband Dario, my wonderful friends, my cats.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

IL : Strong belief.

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

IL : I prefer to think about obstacles as advantages.

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

IL : Impeccable presentation is important as it shows the time and emotions that you invested in your project. It also shows the respect towards the client which is the foundation of the successful collaboration. I believe that the print version and electronic version are both important and should be provided.

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

IL : Next project would be designing and executing humble, experimental dwelling at a tiny Greek island at a challenging site.

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

IL : To improve myself every day as an architect and as a human being by involving all senses.

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

IL : Dedication to the project and desired outcome.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

IL : Designer must be aware of over-consumerism of raw materials, carbon emission, overheating, water management, deadly viruses, etc. and to try to implement cleaner and more efficient processes in his creative journey.

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

IL : Currently, after completion of family apartment in Belgrade "JN White Space", few months ago, I am dedicating a lot of time to further reading and drawing and it brings me a joy and peace in this period of self- isolation. I see it as a preparation for the new, exciting project.

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

IL : I enjoyed the most designing private residences, because of the possibility to maintain an intimate connection with a proposal and to create a close relationship with a client.

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

IL : For me, as a sensitive human being and as an architect, I would like to see, urgently, transformation of our day to day existence like solving existential human question, need for Shelter ( with capital S) for all. The importance of that matter is beautifully expressed in the following text by Gaston Bachelar "Poetics of the space": "Our house is our corner of the world...it is our first universe, a real cosmos in every sense of the word. ...It is an instrument with which to confront the cosmos."

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

IL : I suppose towards more efficient 3D printing technology that is already happening, and the future is difficult to predict because it becomes present so promptly.

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

IL : It takes about two years from the first sketch, through drawings, models, permissions, construction site, etc. to the moment when you are able to experience the completed space. It is quite a journey.

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

IL : Usually it begins by walking along my five- meter long desk in attempt to concentrate powers of imagination. Looking and touching different samples of materials with variety of their textures, browsing through books, trying different color pencils on tracing paper through unconscious sketches, looking at mementos of my travels, photographs, models, drawings, will always help me to start with relevant sketches in search for the new ideas for the projects.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

IL : Follow your beliefs.

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

IL : I believe that trends are ephemeral and really good design is eternal.

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

IL : Initial sketches are always by pencils and different drawing tools because I enjoy the contact with them, after that comes technology that is necessary for other qualities.

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

IL : Auto CAD for Windows, Adobe Photoshop, 3DMax

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

IL : To achieve desirable atmospheric space, it is important to establish harmonious interaction between color, materials, light.

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

IL : I like them to feel the space more then to pose questions about my design.

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

IL : I feel joy for the creators of these great designs.

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

IL : I am more solitary type of architect but I like collaborating with different people once when I established the path that I would like to follow. I believe in co- design but still it didn't have satisfactory result when I tried.

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

IL : Discussions with some Professors during my studies, my colleagues and friends. These conversations were not necessarily only about architecture but about a lot of other subjects as well.

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

IL : The list would be very long, but "Parallax" by Steven Holl was one of the books that I was reading and re- reading because it made enormous impression on me. The author explores in a poetic way the relation of a spirit in architecture and discoveries in science and perception. It is beautifully written in short, essential sentences and accompanied by artistic photographs of natural phenomena and architecture, sensual water colors and architectural drawings of Holl's projects.

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

IL : Gradually, willing to improve my Studio.

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

IL : Le Corbusier and Leonard Cohen come first to my mind.

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

IL : No comment.

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

IL : Red, Folegandros island in Greece, anything from the sea, end of summer and early autumn, Caran D' ache metal pencil, Vitra

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

IL : It is always funny when clients wish to provide you a drawing so you could have a point of departure.

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

IL : Colorful, healthy breakfast,classical music, scents of Mediterranean herbs and plants from my terrace, piles of books and surrounding filled with natural light, are always motivation to start creative process.

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

IL : I always wanted to be an architect.

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

IL : I am focusing on present which is already past the moment I am writing this.

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

IL : Thank you for your time and attention.



Apartment 24 Residential Space

Apartment 24 Residential Space by Ivana Lukovic

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