Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Nadezhda Kiseleva ("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 graduated from the Cheboksary Art College with a degree in Interior Design in 2004, and then from the Chuvash Pedagogical University with a degree in Design Lecturer in 2011. Immediately after graduation, I went to work in my specialty, which I have been doing for almost 16 years.

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

NK : I've always loved drawing, ever since I was a child. Back in school, I started designing various furniture items, lighting fixtures. We even had a special subject - "Art and technical design", which had a great influence on my choice of future profession. Design is something that comes from within me, the desire to make people's lives comfortable and beautiful.

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

NK : It was my conscious choice when I was 15 years old. I don't think anyone could get me to go where I didn't want to go. I've always been pretty stubborn.

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

NK : I do interior design. That's what I really love with all my heart. I'd like to try my hand at furniture design. I already have some experience that I want to expand.

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

NK : It is important to follow the market of modern materials, to visit exhibitions regularly, not to be afraid to participate in competitions and to communicate with other designers. And, of course, constant practice.

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

NK : In my opinion, this is fame and a test of time. A good designer occupies a certain small niche, while a great one can be known all over the world and remain relevant even after his death.

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

NK : Good design catches you at first sight. You want to admire it, consider every detail, there are no noticeable flaws in it. I usually evaluate by form, composition, color scheme and functionality - how comfortable it will be in this interior if interior design is being evaluated, or how convenient it will be to use this thing when it comes to industrial design.

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

NK : A good design is, besides the obvious visual aspect, also comfort, convenience, and safety. Eco-friendly materials that have no harmful effect on your health, an ergonomic shape that does not overload your muscles, or a "triangle rule" that reduces the number of steps required during cooking to a minimum - these are all signs of good design. Of course, you invest not only in the appearance of the design that will make you aesthetically pleasing but also in your health.

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

NK : If we talk about volunteering, as a person who cares about animals, it would be interesting for me to design a shelter for cats and dogs. The ones I have seen in my life are quite saddening in terms of design, even if the animals there are provided with everything they need and all the sanitary standards are respected. Unfortunately, shelters often don't have the money for any improvements - everything is spent on keeping the animals.

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

NK : I've had a dream for a long time to design one of the subway stations. Moscow Metro has a very interesting history and many beautiful stations. I would like to be able to contribute to it. Apart from the Moscow Metro, I am very inspired by the Stockholm Metro and its cave-like stations.

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

NK : Perseverance and perfectionism. The first helps not to give up, even if something goes wrong, the second - to bring it to the end and do the best possible.

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

NK : I don't have any list of designers who inspire me, I am usually inspired by results and there are countless of them. Every day I see something really interesting and it doesn't surprise anyone in today's world, with its huge opportunities to access information.

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

NK : I admire Philippe Starck's Ghost chair. It is laconic, durable despite its apparent fragility, universal, combines past and present, plus it contains a certain amount of irony.

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

NK : In my opinion, one of my best projects is a rock bar called Hell's Angels. At the time, I had the task of creating a space for heavy music lovers, which led to Hunter Stockton Thompson's book "Hell's Angels", which describes the life of American bikers-outlaw. Some of the details of the bikes were used in the design - wheels for bar stools, exhaust pipes, and headlights for the bar. And in general, the atmosphere of the bar was created by bringing a lot of details familiar to every biker and heavy music lover - rivets, leather, skulls, etc. This project was created 13 years ago, but it is still relevant, so I can say that it has passed the test of time, even if it is not very big.

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

NK : In my profession, as in many others, it is very important not to relax and keep up with the times - to study new software, modern finishing materials, new trends in design. Progress does not stand still, it is always accelerating and you need to keep up with its rhythm. At one time I had to move from hand drawing to 3D-modelling, now BIM-technologies is being promoted and I am interested in them.

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

NK : At one time I chose between the profession of designer and the profession of a psychologist because I like to study people's motives and behavior. So if I hadn't become a designer I would have become a psychologist in family or adolescent psychology.

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

NK : For me, "design" is always about people. It’s about their convenience and comfort, including psychological. Design objects, be it furniture, interior or various tools should not only please the eye, but also be functional and ergonomic, and the task of the designer - to combine these items.

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

NK : There were several people who believed in me but first of all, it is my spouse who is always on my side and supports me.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

NK : Perseverance, perfectionism, the desire to make a good design, and, of course, the support of close people.

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

NK : In the beginning, I had a great desire to work, but lacked some of the skills and knowledge required in the labor market. I had to master the basics of 3D modeling myself in order to get my first job. Later on, the process of continuous learning fit into my life. Also, practical work was of great importance. Building quite quickly reveals all the weaknesses of training and helps to get the missing knowledge.

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

NK : The methods of the presentation can be different, it is important to remember that the main purpose of the presentation is to deliver to the client the idea of the designer. Sometimes plans and sketches are enough, sometimes you need 3d-visualizations with explanations.

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

NK : My next project is the interiors of a dormitory in Dubna.

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

NK : I have no ultimate goal. Design is a life-long process. But, of course, I want to get better known and make my name a brand.

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

NK : People come to me most often on the recommendation of their acquaintances, my former clients, so they are already aware of my style and quality of work.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

NK : Design improves the quality of life, makes it comfortable and safer.

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

NK : They were HoReCa projects. Working in this field gives more opportunities for the implementation of bold ideas and solutions.

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

NK : It depends on the size of the object and the tasks to be performed, but on average it is from two months to one year.

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

NK : I start by setting goals and objectives, then study existing equivalents. The latter is useful in two cases: it protects against accidentally copying someone else's idea and gives inspiration.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

NK : Contribute to each project to its full potential.

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

NK : I would say that trends provide new opportunities for design, but they do not define it. Great design can exist outside the time frame.

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

NK : The role of technology is very important. For today's process of designing, on the one hand, has simplified and has accelerated - it is not necessary to remake manually drawn pictures and blueprints from the scratch, it is enough to correct in the program. On the other hand, the requirements of clients became higher too.

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

NK : 3dsMax+Corona, AutoCad, Photoshop.

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

NK : All these are tools to achieve your design goals. Color has a huge impact on the human psyche and it should always be kept in mind when designing something. The material is selected based on the required qualities - environmental friendliness, durability, tactile sensations, and so on. And last but not least. Designers design something on the basis of demand. The final design product must fit into the ambient.

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

NK : Admiration. I always take the time to study more closely and carefully what has impressed me.

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

NK : I find collaborations a great way to work. Each party involved brings their own ideas and draws attention to shortcomings that can be corrected.

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

NK : Constant practice, the urge to learn something new, and to study all the time.

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

NK : I'm afraid if I start listing everyone, it'll be too long. If you take the professional field, I wish I could talk to Isamu Noguchi.

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

NK : Favorite color - black, favorite place - fountain-river in Cologne, favorite food - cheese, season - spring, brand - Xiaomi.

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

NK : While working on one of my past projects, one of the contractors who monitored my work at 3dsMax wondered how long it would take to learn this program. I replied that it was essentially an endless process because something new was constantly coming along. "Okay. How long have you been studying it?" he asked. "About 10 years now," I said. His surprised face was worth seeing: "I thought you weren't older than 22 years." I was 30 years old at the time.

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

NK : I like to imagine the end result and the reaction of the people who will use my design

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

NK : It wasn't obvious. At the time, the very notion of "design" was non-existent in my country. I was very fond of drawing, but I could not even imagine that this hobby would eventually become my profession.



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