The Expert Guide to Interior Design: Interview with Elena Uranova, Art Director and Chief Architect of ‘Instatus’

Elena Uranova is an art director and chief architect of “Instatus” – interior design company focused on the segments of residential and commercial real estate of the “Business”, “Premium” and “De Luxe” levels. Elena is also an author and inspirer of all design projects created in the studio. She has a degree in Architectural Education from Moscow Architectural Institute with specialization – Architect of residential and public buildings.

What inspires you when you create new designs? I get inspired by the space itself! When you get to a new facility, walk around the rooms, study the details, then your imagination begins to come up with future scenarios of people’s lives in the interior. You try to notice the peculiarities of natural light, the proportions of space, the geometry of constructive elements that you either need to hide or make the centre of the future composition. Mentally, you draw a parallel with the client’s story about himself, his wishes and style preferences. The very identity of the client is already an inspiration! Every time it’s a new and interesting story! When you get to know new people, you always want to feel how they live, understand their tastes, so you can create such an interior that will reflect their personality and become the embodiment of the dream of an ideal home!What are the most in-demand trends in interior design nowadays?
One of the trends is the rejection of excessive “adornment”. The multi-level ceilings and complex decorative designs are replaced by simpler and more elegant forms. Also, people become bolder in the use of color. If earlier, our clients (in Russia) in 90% of cases wanted a beige interior, now it is much more interesting color combinations. Background color is often white, grey or blue. Of course, we cannot fail to mention the trend of natural materials. For example, if it’s wood – then with a brightly expressed texture, if it’s natural stone – then with a large-format and a contrast pattern, etc. Also, all kinds of geometric prints are currently in trend. They give designers an amazing opportunity to express themselves and feel like real artists! They look great both in the modern interior and in the classics. From the trends of 2017, one can single out fashion for plants. They are everywhere: on wallpaper, in textiles and in pots. In general, greenery, or rather the green color – called Greenery – is the color of 2017. It is the color of a young spring foliage, characterizing the renewal of life and interior. In general, bright complex colors – this is what really looks stylish in the interior and emphasizes the individuality of each owner. It can be turquoise, cowberry, marsala, turmeric, lapis lazuli, and others. These colors can show themselves not only in the decor, but also can become bold colors on the walls or the ceiling.How do you recommend your customers choosing the decor items?
For almost all of our projects we come up with furniture! Whether it’s built-in wardrobes, chests of drawers, mirrors or work desks, etc. This makes it possible to do a truly unique project. And “custom-made” does not always mean “very expensive”! The materials can be not too expensive, as the main thing is interesting geometry, creative print, and beautiful accessories! Designers make it all exclusive. This can be played out really well. If you take an ordinary chest of drawers, paint it in a bold bright color and then add unusual handles, you will get a designer’s thing that is quite pretentious to become a “highlight”. Decor – this is a separate story! We believe that decoration is a special art. With the help of professionally selected decor, you can change the interior beyond recognition! Create your own charm, a certain mood, add graphics, highlight areas and bring accents to the interior. The main thing is not to be afraid to experiment! In our work we practice this approach. When we finish the work on the project, we bring a lot of different decorations to it. We try, we choose, we combine them together and keep really worthwhile items that can become the ‘spice’ of the interior.What was the most interesting project you worked on and why?
After all, we’ve had many different and very interesting projects to work on! This was a coffee house, a summer residence for recreation and fishing, a hotel in the resort city, the interior of the shopping center. But one project that can definitely be highlighted is a country house built in American style with an area of more than 1800 m2. We worked over this interior in 2011. This object to some extent became the starting point of our style preferences and became the beginning of our love for American classics!How are Russian projects different from the Western ones? Which style prevails in Moscow?
It seems to us that Western projects are more based on decorating techniques. In popular foreign media, you can find interiors where the walls are painted in one color, often it is white. And the whole picture is made up only because of impeccably selected furniture, textiles and decor. Such projects are more refined and restrained, and at the same time very stylish! In Moscow, there has always been a more complex approach. Since many customers believe that it’s easy to arrange furniture in white walls, they can do it themselves, and they just want to see the design, many designers in Moscow, out of habit, come up with complex multi-level ceilings, unusual decorative designs and niches. In small spaces, this looks cumbersome and far-fetched. But it should be noted that now the sphere of interior design in Moscow has significantly stepped forward! And many talented designers in Moscow make really chic interiors, in which almost all the furniture is made to order under the sketches of the authors of the project. They skillfully “play with color” and perfectly master the techniques of decoration. We, in turn, always look for inspiration in the works of foreign colleagues, we visit international interior exhibitions and strive to make such interiors that would be relevant and fashionable not only in Moscow but also in the Western world.What is ‘the ideal project’ for you?
Undoubtedly, the ideal project is when our tastes and tastes of customers coincide! When they have complete trust in us, as professionals in this field. And if we are given a chance to prove ourselves in an unconventional design, experiment and try bold interior solutions, interesting color combinations, then this project is doomed to success!Do you have any ‘specialty’ or your ‘character’ in the interior design?
First of all, our strength is our architectural approach to interior design. Being architects by profession, we are accustomed to create such an interior design, which can be called the “architecture of the interior”! That being said, it is work with light, form, volume, insolation, engineering communications. This is not an “embellishment” of each room, it is work on space in general, identifying the strengths of the object, as well as interior design, according to the principles of the “golden section”. In addition, we are very fond of inventing exclusive furniture, which is made in carpentry production according to our sketches. This, of course, makes the design unique and not template.


Photos: Courtesy of Instatus