Archi.ru: Having celebrated the tenth anniversary of the workshop last year, have you set yourself the task of bringing the company to a new level?
Sergey Estrin: You know, I am always a little shy about such formulations. From your words, it turns out that I sat down and made such a strong-willed decision: that's it, let's move to a new level. No, in a sense it happens by itself, being a natural consequence of our work, our approach to it, if you will. The projects created by our workshop are distinguished by consistently high quality and individuality, in addition, we are able to work on tight deadlines and very reasonably master the customer's budget. All this together makes our clients come back to us again and again, as well as recommend us to their partners, which automatically leads to an increase in the number of orders. And this situation did not suddenly happen either - it was just that for some time we managed to separate the stages of work on projects, making sketches for one, working documentation for another, overseeing the third. But when in December last year we won five tenders in a row, it became clear that our well-coordinated team could no longer cope with such a volume of work.
Archi.ru: How much has the workshop staff increased?
S. E.: We hired seven new architects and one project manager, so the company now employs a total of 30 people. At the same time, in principle, we did not invite GAPs from outside. This is our rule - to let our employees grow to the status of the chief architect of projects, and they, in turn, recruit the designers they need to their teams.
Archi.ru: How did you manage to expand your office without moving to a new location?
S. E.: This is luck, for which I am grateful to fate, because I really love the Malaya Dmitrovka area, where we have been working since the founding of the workshop. I categorically did not want to move from this charming quiet center of Moscow, so for a very long time we lived in rather cramped conditions. The room next to us, in the next entrance, was vacated a few months ago, and we looked closely at it several times, but, to be honest, it confused us with its extremely irrational layout and lack of daylight. And then I thought: why not treat this as a creative challenge? And, you know, it happens: if you change the angle of view, get to work - and everything develops by itself. We very quickly made a project for the reconstruction of this space, selected finishing materials and lamps, just as quickly made repairs, and here it is, our new office: bright, stylish, harmonious and, in my opinion, perfectly illustrating our approach to organizing the workspace.
The addition of these premises allowed us to more than double the office area. In total, we have created 20 new jobs, that is, now we even have a certain reserve for the future. Of course, this does not mean that 12 computers will be empty in one corner waiting for future employees - on the contrary, we evenly distributed the architects in both parts of the office so that they can communicate, exchange experience, and keep abreast of all projects that are currently being worked on. the workshop works.
Archi.ru: What qualities should an architect have to be able to work for you?
S. E.: Almost all the professional skills of a person who has received an architectural education can be taught. Therefore, the main thing that I want to see in a future employee is that you can rely on him. I have great respect for architects who admit that they do not know something, and I really do not like whiners who themselves do not understand why they come to work in the morning. In general, I will not open America if I say that the most valuable quality of employees is responsibility and a conscious approach to work.
Archi.ru: What exactly won tenders prompted you to expand your staff and office?
S. E.: We won a tender for the arrangement of public areas for the Eurasia tower in Moscow City, proposing to the customer a concept providing for the design of this part of the skyscraper in the form of a forest. We received orders for the design of the headquarters of Leroy Merlin and the First Freight Company, as well as the new Visual Care institute of our long-standing client - Johnson & Johnson. Plus, we have just completed three versions of the office concept with an area of 20 thousand square meters for NLMK. An extremely interesting work for us is the project of an agritourism complex in the Moscow region. On a 140 hectare site, we host many different functions - guest houses and hotel, spa complex, sports facilities, restaurant, etc. This is a new experience for us in large-scale urban planning work.
Archi.ru: After many years of working almost exclusively in the genre of interiors, several voluminous projects have appeared in your workshop portfolio at once.
S. E.: Strictly speaking, organizing my own bureau, I did not intend to deal primarily with interiors. On the contrary, from the very beginning, my team and I strove to develop two directions in parallel - interiors and volumetric design - but life so developed that at first the interiors really prevailed. Perhaps this is also because earlier we were more resistant to offers to work somewhere outside the capital: there was no time and human resources to travel outside Moscow. Now, when our old customers are returning to us more and more often, the geography and typology of our work are expanding by themselves. Plus, if we talk about volumetric design, it is easier to build an object in the region than to kill years of life in Moscow for its approval and alterations.
Archi.ru: Your residential building in Novorossiysk, which received several professional awards last year, is a very complex object in terms of the structures and materials used. Are you not afraid that if the quality of construction in Moscow leaves much to be desired, then in the regions the situation is even worse?
S. E.: We are attracting the best companies, including foreign ones, who are interested in the opportunity to enter the Krasnodar Territory market for the implementation of this project. I am sure that we are solving the issue of the quality of construction - and the geographical location of the object here does not play a decisive role.
Archi.ru: What typologies are you most interested in now as an architect? What buildings, in your opinion, is the future of architecture?
S. E.: The development of society, it seems to me, promises many interesting things for architects. Many are predicting a green, clean and innovative future. But, perhaps, comfort will be associated not only with green areas. The city itself will develop as a creative organism - and provide people with fundamentally new opportunities for self-expression. And this can and should become a specific feature of cities - London and New York, for example, are already following this path.
Archi.ru: New York, London - I admit it. But Moscow?..
S. E.: Why not try Moscow too? The financial center does not work out of it, the industrial center has already failed. Transport parking? But this is somehow not enough for the capital of our country. We live at the dawn of the intellectual era, when the very nature of urban employment is changing. The workplace is acquiring new functions, and it is this, even more than before, that occupies a central place in a person's life - as an architect, it is extremely interesting for me to think about this, as they say, with a pencil in hand. Even if my sketches are not useful, it will be interesting to look at them in a few years and compare them with the environment that will arise in the city.