Too good to be true

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This charming apartment with a French twist situated in the center of Moscow is the future home of a young Russian art director. This beauty really looks too good to be true. And it fact it’s not real, it’s only a home to be, a 3D vision creatively made by INT2architecture, a young multidisciplinary team of architects, designers, artists, photographers, and philosophers based in Moscow. We talked to architect and designer Anastasia Sheveleva about the trendy 3D visualizations and this amazing home where many of us would definitely like to move in right now…

- Anastasia, what is the idea behind this beautiful space?

– The 55 sq. m. apartment is in a pre-revolutionary building in the center of Moscow. The “shell” of the apartment is designed as a reference to French neoclassicism – white walls, high ceilings, tall windows, parquet, plaster cornices, boiserie, wooden shutters. The white walls emphasize the proportions of the apartment and the purity of the architectural form.

These classical elements are the backdrop for the “antibody” – a minimalist black box, in which all the technical spaces are grouped (WC, boiler room, kitchen, closet/laundry room). The Box is a compositional center around which the main functional areas are situated: kitchen with a four meter-long kitchen island and bar; lounge area with leather lounge chairs, bio-fireplace and projector; and bedroom with a small workplace.

The modern interior elements contrast in color, material, and style with the classical ones, simultaneously complementing each other. Thus, the objects acquire individuality, creating a wholesome architectural space.

- Who are the owners of this place and what was their vision?

– The owner of the apartment is a young single man (32 years old), he works as an art-director for one of the Russian TV channels, loves to travel. He had great input on the design project (being an architect by education).

- A distinctive feature of this home is its floor.

– The floor is nothing extraordinary. It is a common solution in neoclassicism – traditional chevron parquet.

- Creating a 3D visualization of an interior before putting your hands on it in real life, seems to be a hot new trend in the world of architecture and interior design.

– In Russia it is not so much a trend as a brutal reality for at least the past decade. After the USSR’s collapse in 1991, Russia leaned toward a new ideology: hyper-consumerism. International brands, garish advertising, rapidly spread western lifestyle crowded the lives of Russians. Following the abolishment of state socialism in the Post-Soviet realm, Russia (especially Moscow) developed a thriving sector of “owners”. Buying an apartment and furnishing it like an eighteenth-century French palace became the new obsession and designers became a trend and an instrument to realize people’s long-time desire to “live properly”. At first, designers used hand drawn graphic, and after the 2000s and the growth of computer design software, visualization became a trend here. Visualization in this situation was a very convenient instrument because the clients, on the one hand, wanted to see the result before the realization and correct it if necessary, and on the other hand, usually mistrusted the designer they’d hired. Which raises the question of the necessity of the designer in the first place but this is a whole different topic.

Moreover, in Russia we do not have an opportunity to try furniture or decor items in the space before we buy it, as is very common in the US or Europe.

I wouldn’t say that visualization is a global trend right now. Rather, it is an Asian trend (Thailand, China, Russia…).

- Does the final result usually differ a lot from the initial idea in the visualization?

– If the client is determined and really supports the idea then the realization would be very close to the visualization. However, clients (especially in Moscow) are usually very private about important things that can influence the realization process. For example, the budget they had in mind. That, as you can imagine, can throw the entire project in the basket in the end.

- What styles, designs and ideas inspire you?

– We are inspired by clever simple solutions which can be found in any style or design.

- How would you describe the interior design scene in Moscow? How do people like to see their homes here?

– This is a very big topic, enough for a separate big thesis. I can’t describe it in several sentences. Moscow is a complicated megapolis with people from all over Russia and former USSR republics, people with different backgrounds, education, tastes etc. There is no one recipe for Moscow in terms of interior design and there is no Russian interior style in general (like Scandinavian style). I would even say more often there is a lack of style.

This interview is published in Llamas’ Valley | The Aesthetics issue. For more inspiring photos and stories download the beautifully interactive edition on your iPad.

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