The more time we have to spend inside due to the pandemic, the more we come to realize the importance of interior design. In this interview, GEORGIA TODAY talks to the creative mind behind the Zurab Dvalishvili (ZD) Studio, a man who believes that while less is more, design is in the details.
WHEN AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GO INTO INTERIOR DESIGN?
I’m an architect by education. In 2002, I enrolled in the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, the Faculty of Architecture. I had my first contact with interior design when I was a student, when a designer I knew suggested I help with computer visualization on “premium” projects. I always tried to add my personal touches to the project during the visualization, which the author allowed. I graduated from the Academy in 2007 and became actively involved in practical activities and gained a lot of experience in the fi eld of interior design. By 2009, I had already placed an independent order, and the large number of projects completed to date, the demand for my services, gives me reason to believe that I do the job I love successfully.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE STYLE OR DESIGNER WHOSE VISION GIVES YOU INSPIRATION?
As an architect-designer, I feel comfortable in loft style and minimalism. A role model for not only my generation is Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and his motto-quote: “Less is more”.
In general, all styles are acceptable to me, and they depend greatly on the building for which the interior design project is being completed. My big dream is to be able to revive old, abandoned industrial buildings one day, to give them new life – the kind that make for an ideal space for a loft-style, elite hotel, office, or even a house.
HOW IMPORTANT IS A PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION IN BECOMING A DESIGNER? While today, in the age of the internet, absolutely everything can be learned, I believe that professional education is essential, where experienced lecturers teach and share their experiences. That’s where you learn teamwork, which makes it easier for you to adapt to practical activities. WHAT IS YOUR WORK PROCESS LIKE? The premise of a successful project is a proper approach to the case. For me, every project is a priority, be it the design of a large hotel or a small cafe. At the initial stage of the project, the environment is studied, the building is examined and measured. Then sketches are created and the necessary materials are found in both local and international markets. I’m also actively involved in the implementation phase of the project, so that not even a small detail is missed, and all is executed in accordance with the project. I believe the design is hidden in the details. TELL US ABOUT ONE OF YOUR PROJECTS. It’s diffi cult to single out any project. But it was very interesting to work on the last two projects of the Studio Lemons offi ce, which in 2019 was named winner of the international competition “Architectural Award” in the nomination of Best Public Interior; and the concept residential apartment project on Chavchavadze Avenue. The residential interior was just recently completed. This project was distinguished by the fact that the client is an amazingly talented person and we didn’t shy away from adventurous, even scandalous, decisions. We wanted to create a unique living space, so, for example, we created a white wall where the client drew a modernist painting. That was risky because there were two doors in the wall space prepared for this painting, so we got the idea to make so-called “minimal” doors, fi xed to the wall socket, which, except for a small incision, are virtually invisible. In the kitchen, the facade and surface are completely covered with 3.5 mm technical granite, creating the effect of dark metal and concrete. In this interior, the leading figure is Qeeboo’s lamp designed by Marcantonio. The lamp is a 2.6-meter-tall giraffe holding a classic style chandelier in its mouth. In general, I try to create a friendly atmosphere at the place we’re working on, so the team really works as one “family”.
WHAT MATERIALS DO YOU LIKE TO WORK WITH MOST?
Like most designers and architects, I prefer natural materials. I don’t like to use a large amount of wallpaper; I like working with wood, stone or other unique materials more.
DO YOU USE LOCAL PRODUCTS OR FOREIGN ONES?
I use local materials as well as those from foreign companies. I’m personally involved in the ordering process. Great prudence is needed not to make a mistake anywhere. In case of a mistake, along with the financial loss, the customer may also lose valuable time. Some products are made to order and it may take 3 to 5 months to arrive.
HAS THE PANDEMIC HAD ANY IMPACT ON THE OPERATION OF YOUR COMPANY OR ON YOUR ARTISTIC VISION AS A DESIGNER?
Fortunately, we’re working in the usual rhythm, but it’s still caused some difficulties. The pandemic’s impact on the projects has had more practical implications than artistic ones. We just have to consider the specific nuances to be on the side of safety during the pandemic.
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To date, ZD studio’s portfolio of architecture and interior design combines more than 100 independent, well-managed and high-quality projects. Dvalishvili believes that with his team of professionals, the company has the resources to deal with any project of any complexity