Life in Rural Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan|life|December 12, 2018 / 05:54 PM
It's easier for women to work as interior designers in Kyrgyzstan than men: Designer
Karolina (left), Daria (center), Marina (right)

AKIPRESS.COM - Kyrgyzstan might be globally known for its nomadic culture, centuries-old traditions of nomads, yet modern day people here live in fixed habitation. And even hire interior designers to create aesthetically pleasing environment for their every day life.

AKIpress talked to 3 young women – Marina, Karolina, and Daria, who run their own interior design studio, to get to know with the tips to avoid common design mistakes, how Kyrgyzstan catches up with global trends, and how is it to be in this profession for a young woman in Kyrgyzstan.

The studio is called Svoya Studio, where Russian word 'svoya' stands for 'our' – Our Studio.

Karolina: It's a well thought-out name. We did not want it to be named after a trendy fruit or vegetable like Tomato or Avocado, which people choose to name their studios lately.

Marina: The idea is that we wanted our own interior design studio, where people would feel like home, feel very comfortable and free to share their thoughts and ideas with us, where we could help people make their dreams come true. And that's how we've got the name – Our Studio.

Daria: We also love when our clients ask our studio's name and we reply “Our Studio” and they ask it again “Yes, your studio. What's your studio's name?” It's always funny.

Is it hard in Kyrgyzstan for young women to work in this field?

Daria: Well I think it's easier for women to work in this field in Kyrgyzstan rather than men. According to my own observations, men cannot find jobs in this field as good as women. I don't know why.

Marina: First of all, now we're doing what we like doing and what we are good at, it's not about making money at this stage of our job. What I want to say that it does not matter if you're a woman or a man. What matters is the desire and passion. If you have that, you'll succeed in every sphere.

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What interior design styles do you like and what do your clients prefer?

Daria: So far, we were lucky enough to have clients who trust our taste fully. We cannot say we have one style, because interior design is all about a mood of the time, a spirit of the time.

We love minimalism, what we do is more of an eclectic style – a mix of styles. If we are asked to do classic, it's not always fully classic, because we try to make the design authentic and very comfortable for the client's living in the first place. Therefore, the styles get mixed.

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What are the current trends in the Kyrgyzstani market? Do we keep up with the global trends?

Daria: Global trends come to Kyrgyzstan very slowly. Pantone's choosing a color of the year... any things trending globally – they do not affect the choice of clients in Kyrgyzstan at all.

Karolina: Does Kyrgyzstan keep up with the global trends? Sometimes

Marina: Well, that's because our people are not ready for that. And we don't chase after the trends; comfortable, cosy, functional finish is what matters for us more than trends.

Daria: I think we need time. Loft just came here recently, for instance, and people more or less got used to it. But some brave new ideas like curved arch, or cave-like wall, or very minimalistic room – the things that are extraordinary for Kyrgyzstan – no, our people are just not ready for that. But these things are trending around the world.

Karolina: Interior design trends are not always a novelty, by the way. Curved arch, which is trending today, was not invented in 2018, they existed many-many years ago. Interpretation of curved arch is just different – tall, bright colored, or narrow. But our client in Kyrgyzstan is not ready for such maneuvers in the interior design. People in Kyrgyzstan look for a light and space – the clearer idea the better.

Another reason why the people here are not ready for the interior design trends to be incorporated into their home is that because their choice is very dependent on the opinions of others: girl friends, relatives, neighbor. You know the things like, “I saw my friend's remade apartment, I want something like that.”

Additionally, Bishkek not always can catch up with all of the trends right away, because most of them are very expensive to be incorporated. You might need to order some materials from abroad, it takes time and a lot of money, because we don't have anything we want in the local market. We work with materials available in our market, and the results always turn out to be very good despite the above-mentioned problem.

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What are the common design mistakes that should be avoided?

Marina: The most common mistake is designing a home based on the beautiful Pinterest picture and not on a building layout, architectural planning. Illogical furniture layout. And cloning the design of others: what works for others might not always work for you.

Karolina: People treasure every centimeter of their space, whether it is a collar or curtain wall. We always look for a space to be as even as possible. And when we offer to hide some centimeters to make the space even, clients get frightened. Even when it's about some 3 or 5 centimeters. But visually, it's disgusting to see the uneven wall.

Ceiling_painting_of_the_Marble_Hall_-_Melk_Abbey_-_Austria I personally don't like too much luxuriant or colorful wallpapers and when each room of the apartment or home has its own different design. It's better to stick to one design throughout the entire apartment, because it's a single space. Your ceiling at the entrance hall should not have a fresco to remind you about your last year trip to Italy when the rest of your home is not in the same style.

Again, returning to the space issues: people here in Bishkek and outside build homes with huge living rooms, huge halls, huge kitchen, etc. But when it comes to interior designing, they cannot understand why the room is so empty and not comfortable. And then they start filling the room with “theater curtains”, huge table with 24 chairs, too luxury wallpapers, but it never looks comfortable, never looks stylish. It's a stereotypical design choice, most of the big homes here, or at least the ones I've been to, have such big rooms that owners try hard to fill out with unnecessary staff.

Daria: I think choosing wrong and low-quality items and materials, for instance, for a classic style, is a design mistake that should be avoided. It's not going to work and turn out to be a classic design.

What inspires you and what frustrates you in your job as a designer?

Marina: Clients. In both of the situations. I get inspired by my colleagues a lot; we are a role-model group work.

Karolina: Irresponsible and unprofessional contractors-builders who are the ones who make our design come true sometimes frustrate us. And again, the professional contractors inspire us a lot. The same with the clients: they can make us sad, they can make us happy with just simple friendly attitude or dedication. Achieving the design that we planned is very inspiring. Our competitors inspire us a lot.

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What was your most unusual project so far?

A small 57 square meter apartment for a family of 4. It was a 1-bedroom apartment and the owner wanted to turn it into a 3-bedroom apartment. It was a very risky project. And we could do it. We counted each centimeter there and come up with a fullfledged sleeping room for parents, a fullfledged bedroom for children and a living room combined with kitchen. It looks spacious and it is very functional. It was technically well thought-out project, especially wardrobe and kitchen.

If you had no money/resource limits, what would you create?

It would be a production of high-quality construction materials like plates or wallpapers, some interior design items or any other items related to art, which Kyrgyzstan does not have so far. We would start producing one of a kind interior design products, which could also be exported.

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