Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Sergei Savateev ("SS") 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?

SS : I’m 36 years old and I am creating interior designs during 12 of them. Before that I worked as a high-end engineer. My first education is engineering and after graduating from Saint-Petersburg polytechnic institute I was working in that profession during 6 years. Also I was getting design education in parallel. One more interesting fact - only few people know it. I have completed one more educational specialization- it is metal sculpture manufacturing. But I’m made for architecture and interior design.

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

SS : I was interested in creation and creativity since childhood. I was permanently doing something by my hands. I painted scenes, I drew. I used to make furniture and had completely changed the feel of my room at my parents’ home during adolescence. But my choice of university has been done with the help of my parents and due to the circumstances. So I had came away from creativity for eight long years. But it could not last for a long time. And I have changed my life rapidly and dramatically, so that makes me proud of myself and non-regretting even for a minute.

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

SS : I was talking out of being a designer for many years. But I have always known what is my true vocation. Though as soon as I have got a possibility I have begun my career in my favorite as young lad profession.

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

SS : The heart of my work is interior design of luxurious living spaces. But also I’m keen on architecture, private houses and public buildings design.

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

SS : Yes, I hear this question more and more frequently. I have only one secret of the success - it is about every day practicing. The key word is “every”, without days-off and holidays. This is the only way to accumulate the unique experience and the number of beautiful things, which have been added into that world. So, the quantity of given will be turned into the quantity of taken. And after that if that is your vocation you won’t look at it as at work, it’ll become your life.

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

SS : To cut a long story short and to neglect evident things like designer should mix practicality and creativity, I would like to point out three main things: 1. The ability to combine everything with everything; 2. The ability to do it easily; 3. Create something new from that combination, something that has never seen before by anyone.

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

SS : The main goal of design is creating harmonious fully artistic environment which fits for humans’ life. That means that pretty good design should aim not only for abstract objects or basis creating, but for the satisfaction of the key needs of the user, such as: -safety; -functional utility; -the compliance of the environment to the personal status; -environmental friendliness; -esthetics. If these points are realized successfully, that means that the design is really good.

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

SS : As K. Marks said, existence influences the consciousness. High style interior design is mainly for those, who are really requesting to themselves firstly. If a person has a good eye and exquisite taste, it makes possible to have insights in many things. But not so many places are good for living. High style interior design makes it possible to combine maximal comfort, enjoy the achievement of technological progress and gives the aesthetic pleasure from visual and sensitive giving shape. In other words, the high level design interior is like a painting from expensive art auction оn, that is very convenient for living.

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

SS : I have so many ideas, plans - and it would be interesting for me to realize it. Everything that involves the embodiment of author’s style ideas, applying the most up-to-date inventions, all from these are of great interest of mine. I would like to create an interior for the rock-star or to make a historical building reconstruction somewhere in Europe.

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

SS : If we want to outline something in particular, let it be super-Villa projecting. I want to make it from scratch, to project an architectural overview and inner designs, and to build it in the exciting place with the sea-view. I want to start my idea from the general villa-formation, than think over small forms and about details in the required materials, and, finally, it should be like a fiercest incarnation of designer’s thoughts. To realize everything in such way that it would be fair to say looking at that villa that the collaboration of the architecture and design is a real art. And, a little spoiler, I find some free time to make several architectural design concept developments for this would-be beginning little by little. If the faith will make me acquaintanced with the decent of such project person, I have something to propose him.

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

SS : Yes, I think that every designer has his or her own method, his or her unique approach. I can share with you mine. My recipe is that. While creating even the most complicated design I try to exclude unnecessary things. I suppose that it’s the hardest part. And it seems to be a sign of the premium-class. I mean the ability to see what should be left and what should be removed. In other words, the ability to determine the golden ratio and having a strong sense of proportion (what does it mean “enough”?) are “must-have” things.. 14. I think that I can’t highlight a certain one project, which was created by me. The thing is that I’m grateful to each created project, to each client, for whom I was working for. And I try to do my further projects better and better! In comparison with previous one. So that means for me that each new project is a kind of the challenge to myself. I hope that the project which I will name as “the great” is ahead.

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

SS : I think that I can’t highlight a certain one project, which was created by me. The thing is that I’m grateful to each created project, to each client, for whom I was working for. And I try to do my further projects better and better! In comparison with previous one. So that means for me that each new project is a kind of the challenge to myself. I hope that the project which I will name as “the great” is ahead.

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

SS : Every designer is one-of-a-kind, everyone has his or her own vision and author’s style. But, as for me, I think that the more could-do person has the better it is. And one more important thing - it’s exactly necessary to try to widen your own outlook, to make new hobbies and get new knowledge.

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

SS : I even can’t imagine the profession that is not related with creativity for myself. If I wouldn’t become an interior designer, I would have been a painter. Although now I’m painting.

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

SS : As for me personally, design is an exceptional way to do good for that world, for people and meanwhile realize my internal mission. That means that while I’m doing design-related processes, I feel the harmony of my inner world with my outer-world.

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

SS : Speaking about higher results, I thank myself primarily. I say «thank you» to my consciousness, which gives me single-minded faith into myself and my talent. Nevertheless, the support of the nearest and dearest is very important too, because I trust them and appreciate their opinion. Sincere personal support can maintain you in significant way, it doubles your energy and helps to overrun difficult situations. It works especially, if you feel the sense of love to these people.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

SS : However, professional support and approval are also meaningful in the equal degree. I’m very grateful to my university teacher at the university of design, her words are forever in my mind. I have won an official design award competition in my city at the second year of my practicing because of her help and attitude. The judges were very strict and highly-qualified. It was very important and severe professional competition, and when I have known that I’m a winner, it has put away all doubts about my choice of profession. Further victories and nominations just approved that feeling.

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

SS : It is said, the one, who makes no mistakes, makes nothing. Of course, there were a lot of tricky situations early in my career. Well, these were related to the technical mistakes, and with the lack of communication skills and with the lack of experience in having negotiations with the developers. 12 years of practicing have taught me to treat to any abnormal situations in another way, and to perceive them as the part of working process, as the tasks, which should be solved.

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

SS : The progress does not stand still. The speed of information exchange is increasing too, and data become more available. And design as it is well - known is an engine of the progress. That’s why I think that the designer, who aims to succeed in that profession, should choose the most prospective and progressive ways to give the information to the customer.

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

SS : I manage 3-5 projects simultaneously. To date, my team and me are preparing for the delivery 4 projects, these are 3 flats and 1 fancy private house. I’m overlooking design phase of the one interesting private home.

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

SS : I’m following the pathway to the status of internationally recognized designer for 12 years. I have numerous number of ideas, including very bold and prospective ideas. I’m sure that I will accomplish my purpose.

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

SS : All my clients want to get a pretty - looking, stylish, fashionable interior, that has been created for them specially. And I have several ideas, responding to their expectations. More than that, I can listen and hear my clients. And only after meeting and communicating with person his personal idea is being created.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

SS : Nowadays several definitions of the «design» exist. One of them is: «Design is a specific sphere of activity, that is related with object design, which builds an environment of the person. The main goal of design is developing a coherent, full-fledged environment, that is mostly adapted for human activity.» Designers literally define and specify how will our world look like tomorrow. How will we interact with our environment. Will we be in the harmony with our nature or not.

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

SS : Well, these days I’m watching with the rapt interest how the world is changing. It’s very interesting to know will there be customer interest’s replacing or not, and if it will, I would like to know in which direction they will lean. Generally speaking, I have always been having orders as a top-designer, and I hope that the situation won’t be changed. These orders, which are in the process now, can prove it, at least.

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

SS : I am encouraged by the projects, where customers are ready for the bright solutions. Thanks God, that I have had a lot of such wonderful clients and I hope it’ll be continued.

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

SS : I would like to have more projects, where the maverick style could be realized. These one, which have more artistic merit.

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

SS : Things change in the world every minute. The field of interior design is not an exception. From what I observe, I can conclude that a major part of the services of that design type, which belongs to the low and middle price segment will move to online, while the amount of designers will grow, and the bulk of these services would have a typical format, till the designing complete automatization with the usage of AI (artificial intellect). The high-level design will still remain luxury individual service. The requirements to the real luxury design will be at the high-level, and neither AI nor online-services won’t manage to substitute that, at least in the nearest future.

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

SS : The exclusive decoration projects of interiors are quite complex in the technical meaning and I’m making high demands to its’ realization. Talking about the terms, we can analyze 2 projects. The fist one is a flat in the apartment building with 140 square meters area to design and the second one is a private house with the square 340 m.It’ll take 2,5 months to make the concept of the design, the package of 3D visualizations and the set of technical drawings for the flat and house packs require 4,5 months. It’ll take 10-12 months in the «all-included» format with the authors’ control to realize the project of the flat and house designing and transforming into the reality needs 20 months in the same conditions.

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

SS : When I’m starting a new project, the first very important point for me is personal meeting with the client, the discussion of his/her preferences and requirements, acquaintance. I tell my client about the main key aspects of further work and listen to him. From the dialogue I try to build a synchronization, to feel his/her mood, to imagine the atmosphere of the interior, which he/she wants to get. If I manage with synchronization building, we can hear and listen each other, we feel mutual trust and respect, in such case my team and me are beginning to work.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

SS : My credo in the sphere of working processes is rather simple. Trust your intuition.

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

SS : As about trends - I would say so - truly good design makes tendencies, the rest design follows that.

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

SS : Modern technologies are required for application for designing and design pitching processes. The use of new developments maximizes the quality of project developing in times and allows to find the solutions about important technical things during making 3D designation and avoid many possible problems in the period of renovation works

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

SS : My team and me are using various apps, frameworks and electronic equipment for the creation of digital project. I mean programs for sketch pitching, for collage mounting, for drawing production, for three-dimensional model creation, for generation and for processing of the pictures.

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

SS : Interior design should create an artistic visual representation of the placement. The harmony of the image is reached by the author’s color variations set compilation, by the choice of materials with different visual and physical properties, by the conscious texture, invoice and environment compilation.

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

SS : I put miscellaneous global forms and images, which I realize in small forms mixes, in textures and colors combinations into my projects. Probably, the client, who will be doing the review of the outcome, won’t see or won’t understand completely all these aspects from the first sight. I’m very pleased, when the client guesses, that, for example, I had encrypted the first letter of his name in some forms and asks me, if that true or not. And if the client isn’t asking me, so, I am telling necessarily, which ideas or images does particular design project have.

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

SS : I’m looking for quite a lot of information in the internet and social networks. And I see the images of a real masterpieces from time to time. I can notice that in profoundly different spheres of design or creativity. It takes my breath away in such moments. Such moments give me the extra lift of emotions. For sure, I would save that image and probably I would subscribe to that author, if we are speaking about the social networks. You know, I always eager to communicate or to get to know the person, who has made this work.

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

SS : Idea generator and the author of the concept in the field of design interior should be one and the same person. That is my profound conviction. But I could entirely admit partial task delegation to the assistants. Sometimes the process of the team and head-designer work is resembling me the association with the orchestra and its’ leader interaction.

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

SS : If we look backward, considering, who had the most influence on my design style, I would say that my university teacher influenced it stronger than all, of course. She has shored up my design foundation. And then I drew the attention to 2 factors, which can influence me. The first one is internet. Yes, while I practice internet-spaces expanse surfing, I’m absorbing more and more visual content and my brain generates totally unique and unusual solutions. The second are my clients. Their fantasies, ideas make me choosing an increasing number of design process challenges.

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

SS : While you are not only well-credential specialist, but also the team Chief, you need to have and develop leader skills also. I was coming to leadership skills acquirement gradually. At first, I was a member of the team in a company. And I had been watching and training there. Than I had become a freelancer. I had to learn how to manage myself. After that I had begun to invite people one by one to become the members of my team. Eventually I experienced all the stages from one team member till 30-40, as it is right now. And I don’t stop at this point and continue developing still.

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

SS : If I’d a possibility to move on through the surfaces and times, I might have visited Egypt during the reign of pharaohs, Rome in the heyday era, would have seen Leonardo da Vinci for myself and also would have been in my student time, it would be marvelous.

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

SS : Although I had got many different awards from various design competitions, I don’t consider myself as a famous person. May be, it’s because I work a lot and I don’t have time to draw my attention to it. Perhaps, it also could be so because I would like to receive the awards of a higher level and haven’t achieved my goal. But, when other designers recognize me at the streets of my city, it’s very pleasing, certainly.

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

SS : My favorite color is dark purple like blueberry, my favorite place is at the top of the mountain in sunny weather, my favorite cuisine is Italian, my favorite season is summer, my favorite thing is my car and my favorite brand is Ferrari.

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

SS : I spend quite a long a time at the development stages of my projects. I know a lot about house repairement and development, and quite often I’m managing development processes by myself. And it’s very funny, when some contractors from outsourced companies take me as a foreman or construction foreman and begin to discuss design and designer, who has created that project, with me!

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

SS : It makes me excited, when my projects are coming to the final and I begin to see all the good looks, that were existing at the paper only before, for real.

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

SS : I was totally serious, when I had realized that I like to develop spaces in my childhood when I was nearly 10 years old. My children’ rooms were my first projects! I had never doubted, that my my specialty is to create, to change and to enhance something in that world over the years. I mean to create beauty.

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

SS : If we try to foresee the future, for example in 1000 years, so my suggestion about what it holds in the store will look like that. The technological way of development of our current civilization will lead us to the deepest understanding of that world, of that universe and of the reasons for being.

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

SS : Design is a fate.



Gray and Gold interior design

Gray and Gold interior design by Sergei Savateev

Design Legends Logo

© 2020 Design Legends - All Rights Reserved

Design Legends platform highlights valuable insights from the best designers from across the globe; a great resource for all designers to learn, reflect and think about good design and how good design helps create value for the society.

Design Legends website was created by DesignPRWire and A' Design Award to promote truly great designers, outstanding architects and inspirational artists that contribute to the development and advancement of society with their outstanding works.