“Spaces are often made smaller unnecessarily. We can also come up with many clever things and practical solutions.”
Born in Svitavy, Martina studied in Brno at a secondary business and hotel school before moving to Prague to pursue her career in advertising. She got into the field of interior design while building her new house. After successful cooperation with designers and bad experiences with craftsmen, she found out that this kind of work might be her life’s dream. So at the age of 28, she studied at the IDK design school, focusing on interior design and has been active in this field for three years already. You may know her from the TV show “How to Build Your Dream”.
The first question for you is sent by Miloš Čermák, with whom we spoke about corporate and office space in the last edition. Your domain is more designing living spaces, but do companies also hire you? Or rather, are companies used to hiring designers to design their new conference rooms, for instance?
“It happens, but in general you could say that companies are not willing to invest much. The “big ideas for little money” theory prevails. But it could also be the case that we are not a large studio large companies usually hire. There could be orders by investors in other price ranges.”
What individual improvements to their environment can companies expect?
“From our experience, companies initially concentrate on the spaces visited by clients before going on to improving the rest of the company. Very few think of their employees first. We are not so far along yet, but it should be added that this thinking is gradually beginning to change. It’s not easy to work in an open space, so it’s important to make a pleasant and attractive environment.”
What are the most common requirements?
“Functionality is always the first, but not at any price. It’s always necessary to reflect on the purpose of the space. Firstly, I am usually given free hand in terms of creativity. But there are the inevitable trade-offs and cuts, with clients looking for solutions in terms of maintenance and practicality. They often reduce budgets as well, so we are unable to implement some creative ideas.”
What do you base your interior design proposal for companies on?
“Of course, I work from the corporate colours, the focus and the field of the company. I’m interested in knowing if the company is young or more traditional. I’ll design something different for a bank and something else for a start-up such as creating some kind of crazy video. Age is an important factor. A good design – whether a flat or an office – must reflect the activity that takes place there. It’s necessary to know the requirements the space should fulfil and its style. Then it should not happen that someone will bring crocheted blankets and porcelain vases to a minimalist interior. I adhere to the practical rule: the design must be done in such a way that even when people occupy the space, the interior does not significantly change. However, this rule does not so firmly apply in companies, as there are different people found there, each with their own habits. Offices should reflect the given company. It’s necessary to question the clients a lot.”
What shouldn’t you skimp and save on?
“Definitely not on the furniture and the floor – it depends on what is the greatest wear and tear. For instance, chairs for a few hundred Crowns usually don’t withstand the wear and tear long enough. You can theoretically save on walls and painting, but definitely not on the basic furnishings. These furnishings are quickly destroyed by regular use. The staff also does not take as much care with someone else’s assets than their own , so it’s all the more important to ensure the quality and durability.”
The trend in corporate space has become various atriums, relaxation zones, gaming corners and so on. What do you think should not be left out by a company?
“In my opinion, it’s the ability to have privacy, a place where a person can relax for a bit. A place that offers the chance to have a private conversation, which classic open spaces do not provide.”
Why should a person hire a designer and not rely only on themselves?
“The main reason is the ability to have and maintain a broad perspective. I designed my own flat for half a year before solving everything to meet my expectations. What we need is someone who understands our needs from a different point of view. Another reason is the question of disposable space, which lay people rarely manage successfully. Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that people don’t like paying for ideas, in general, while they don’t have problems paying for material things. I definitely hope this changes in time.”
As part of our relay you can send a question to another respondent, who will be the promoter of quality eating and the publisher of the Grand Restaurant Guide, Pavel Maurer. What would you like to ask him?
“I’d like to ask him what he would caution against or recommend to companies that have their own canteens or buffets, in terms of both food, and the interior and the equipment.”
Image source: FTV Prima