What is the latest trend in contemporary architecture?
Architecture development reflects society's development. It is normal for the world trends for regulation of human activities and environment protection to become a vital part of modern architecture.
The so-called passive houses appeared with the main goal to minimise buildings' energy consumption. After them, the idea for energy saving went further, reaching the concept of 'active houses' that create more energy than they consume.
Now all of this, together with the development of electronics, shapes our notions about the so-called smart home. In it are used VRV systems, computer technologies and social networks so that the house and its functions can be remotely and automatically controlled to distribute the energy between the different functional zones in the building, and from the warmer to the cooler places in it.
How does Idea M create international partnerships and what is your latest international project?
We work on a lot of projects, our main idea being to inspire foreign investors to come to Bulgaria, with the help of EU programmes. This May, an architectural exhibition in Potenza, Italy, is being organised. It is dedicated to development of historical city centres. We hope that the relationships we develop there will help the mutual relationships and investments.
What is the starting point when you begin working on a project – the client's idea or your vision?
It is a complex process. Before sitting in front of the 'blank page,' you need several conversations with the client to know him better as a personality and to feel his psychology and philosophy. It is crucial when you want to offer an adequate project to the client. As nowadays most of the communication with the client is via telephone and email, it is sometimes hard to see the genuine reaction to your ideas. This is why direct personal contact is so important. Besides this, every client has his or her preferences towards a particular architectural tradition or trend, often influenced by materials seen on the internet or specialised publications. We always have to keep in mind this and also the client's personality, particularly when designing a family home: it should feel comfortable and safe for its inhabitants.
Are there differences between designing for Bulgarian and for foreign investors?
Foreign investors have the culture to respect the architect's ideas and expertise. Of course, they give ideas and share their opinions, but they don't try to impose them. With Bulgarian investors, there is still what to desire in this direction. Another difference is the attitude towards residential properties. Bulgarians remain strongly attached to the idea of owning their home, and having their own space. So far, the attempts to bring to Bulgaria the trend for terraced houses have had limited success. Here people still prefer having a space only for their own.
Idea M specialises also in public projects. What is important when designing a public space?
When we start working on such a project, there is a line of questions we ask, considering the building as a living organism. All of its functions should be correctly positioned and synchronised between themselves, so they can work without obstructing one another. It is important to realise that the feel of luxury does not come only from the materials you use. The building's functionality and its connection with its surrounding infrastructure are more important. It can be achieved only if the building is like a unitary organism that is a harmonious part of its surrounding space.
How do you organise your work in the office of Idea M?
We are ten colleagues in the office, of which three are architects. But as the company is more than an architectural studio and offers as well services in the fields of design and cadastre, we keep an open system with many contributors working from home or part-time. We also provide traineeships for architecture students via the EU's Erasmus programme. Our employees have full freedom to pursue and realise their creative ideas, as long as they fit into the deadlines and comply with the quality requirements.
Idea M started to develop as a wholesome team with plenty of specialists after in the early 1990s we had foreign investors we could work for, but lack of resources and time obstructed us in dealing with the commission. Ever since, my goal was to make Idea M highly specialised and professional organisation able to manage more than design. Today, when a client comes to Idea M, we provide full services in the management and documentation needed for every step of the process, design during all stages of the working project, the approval from the relevant institutions, and putting it into operation.
Pernik, Struma Street, block 28, office 1
phones:+ 359 76 63 09 90;
+359 896 86 08 29