Inspired by numerous travels and diverse cultural perspectives, the Russian interior designer Anna Kovalchenko shows her works and passion in her important blog “L’Essenziale” (“L’Essenziale”): she focuses on aesthetics and functionality for the decoration of her clients’ apartments.
Face to face with Anna Kovalchenko
Q: What is your educational background and when did it start your passion for architecture and interior design?
Interior design is my second education. Despite I always had a passion for design and architecture initially I studied for Hotel management. After graduating I worked for some time for the hotels but finally understood that it is not my thing. That was the point when I decided to make my old dream come true and enrolled in KLC School of Design in London.
Q: When and how did your interior design studio was created? Can you tell us its history?
When I was studying interior design I tried to get real experience and completed several small projects for family and friends. When I moved to back to Moscow and got my first “real” client, I decided that now it is time to start my own interior design business.
Q: The name of your blog is “L’Essenziale”, an Italian word. Does that mean that Italian design and style has a strong influence on you?
Italian culture was always a great influence for me. I admire their sense of style, creativity and lifestyle. I fluently speak Italian and that’s why picked an Italian word as a name for my studio. It means “essential” and I try to focus on those most important essential things when I create my designs, which for me are aesthetics and functionality.
Q: How would you describe the differences between Italian and Russian taste for interior design?
Italian style always influenced Russian taste in architecture and design – some of the most famous building were created with the help of Italian architects. It continues to be the case even now. Italian furniture brands are extremely popular here and are associated with good quality and great design.
Q: Your studio currently follow mostly projects based in Moscow. Do you plan to follow some projects abroad?
Yes, in fact the plan for upcoming years is to expand abroad and make some projects which are not based in Russia. Traveling is my passion and working somewhere outside Moscow will challenge me as professional and also allow me to express my creativity in a different way.
Q: You traveled a lot though Europe and overseas: how did your travels influence your own design style? Are you able to find time for travels even now?
Since I left Moscow when I was 20 I am always traveling. Now even when I run my own business I try to travel at least 4-5 times a year. Luckily my work allows to do many things remotely. I try to avoid touristic places and experience local lifestyle. It is always a boost of creative energy for me. When I travel I feel like inspiration is everywhere – enough to look around and notice beautiful combination of colors, unusual patterns, interesting architecture…. I always take thousands of photos which I then use for my moodboards.
Q: L’Essenziale focuses on four fundamental elements of design: design process, history of styles, decorating news and trends, and ideas and inspirations. How do you use these elements to combine your ideas with the needs and taste of your client?
I think that studying history of styles is absolutely essential for any design enthusiast not only professional. Current trends are often new interpretation of something already created in the past. That’s why I have written “History of styles” ebook now available on my site. Knowledge of past styles and current trends not only helps to show your expertise in front of clients and gain their trust but also analyze their needs and taste more accurately.
Q: What are the interior design styles that influence the most your works?
In the interiors I like to mix and match different styles – for me this creates a more lively feel in the space and also allows to reflect personality of its owners.
However, personally I like modern Scandinavian interiors and take lots of inspiration from looking through various Scandinavian magazines and books.
Q: Do you have specific elements which characterize your choices for the furbishment of an apartment?
It is always a reflection of client’s preferences, requests and budget. Location and architecture play a great part as well in my choices.
Q: Have you had the chance to have a look to the Nizza Paradise project? What do you think about it? Based on the location and on the architecture of the complex, how would you decorate the interiors of one of its apartments?
Yes, I have seen it and find it amazing. The surroundings of the complex are simply stunning. If I was to decorate one of the apartments I would focus on highlighting incredible scenery of the place. I would complement it with simple shapes, relaxing colors, coziness and comfort.