Interview with designer Julia Subbotina (JS), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design Shanghai Multifunction Wardrobe.

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Interview with Julia Subbotina at Wednesday 13th of March 2013: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
JS : In the recent year I have become really fond of the Eastern culture. Probably it was the spirit of the east that inspired me to create the painting on the closet doors. However, I was not thinking about the exact allusions upon some cultural or historic concepts, I was rather trying to concentrate onto my emotions. Therefore, the edges of the closet were inspired by the PHILIPS TV set. Its lines are smooth and that is why it suits the closet so well. As for the white colour and for the mirror, I associate them with Dubai. Smaller painting reflects my vision of Shanghai. On the whole, this is how I see an Eastern closet.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
JS : “Shanghai” multifunctional wardrobe plays significant role in creation of the room space, especially in the small rooms. Seems invisible as a wardrobe but primarily is seen as a decorative component of the interior. Frontage pattern and laconic form act as a “decorative wall”, and this makes it possible to perceive the wardrobe as a decorative component. The wardrobe released the small room from excess shelves. The wardrobe expanded the room space by means of mirror frontage and made it an interesting detail of the interior. Side vertical elements of the outstanding volume act as a great addition to the central arrangement of the wardrobe. Up-to-date opening accessories were applied which enables use the wardrobe without handles – this is a tip-on system. Blumotion system provides gentle and noiseless opening and closing. “Shanghai” wardrobe releases the room from excess shelves which are needless in a small room. Behind the bed and over its head storage spaces are included. This makes it possible to store stuff of rather large volume. The wardrobe is simple in cleaning and not a dust collector.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
JS : “Multifunction wardrobe “Shanghai” is created for the clients of different status. The front of the closet can be decorated differently. The pattern can be made of various kinds of wood, or of one kind. The chosen print can be copied upon the mirror and is adjusted so that it coincides with that on the front. Stones can also be included into the pattern. The type of stone is chosen by the client. They can emphasize the status and the individuality of the client. The front can also be decorated with leather. You can also choose to create an exclusive closet decorated with leather with the same print stamped both onto the leather and onto the mirror. The effect is incredible, no one can ignore it!

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
JS : The manufacturing process of the multifunction wardrobe “Shanghai” started in the end of July 2012 and was finished in the end of December 2012 in the city of Perm, Russia. “Multifunction wardrobe “Shanghai” is being manufactured together with a wardrobe, a dressing table and a console cabinet. As soon as everything has been manufactured, Multifunction wardrobe “Shanghai” was transferred to Moscow, Russia. The manufacturing process of multifunction wardrobe “Shanghai” was proceeding slowly. However, it was carried out . Manual work required patience, not only with the manufacturers- I had to be patient too. As a result, the product did not leave anyone indifferent!

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
JS : Decision to create this wardrobe came in the flicker of second. It was caused by several issues:Rather small room to become a bedroom – the area of 16 square meters; owners’ character and life-style. Appreciates time, loves high-quality products, aimed at beauty and perfection.

DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
JS : I work for myself. I created and worked upon the design myself and I want to sell it myself.

DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
JS : I could not find the closet which would satisfy me. Therefore I did not want to stop, I wanted to make my idea real.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
JS : I was working upon the idea, visualisation, graphs, process control and choosing the materials.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
JS : This closet can be purchased by people who live in modern society. These people understand the value of time saving and of functionality. The closet can be decorated with hand-made painting, or with simple print that can be stamped onto wood – the price may vary. You can also choose simple wooden fronts, the price will be even less. Therefore people with different status can be attracted by this closet.

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
JS : This closet is multifunctional – it has bedside tables, lighting and shelves of various width, but this is not its only peculiar feature. My design idea is clearly seen. The closet and the wakk are of the same size, so I can say that it is also a decoration whioch is pleasant to look at, while the mirror makes the room more spacious.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
JS : Shanghai is a major city forgoing ahead. The name of the wardrobe is a collective image of this city – image of freedom, purity and fluency of line, curiosity about the world around, vision of the future. This wardrobe uncovers for its owner values of life they have never even thought about.

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
JS : I used AutoCad to make the graphs, and 3dmax for visuals.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
JS : Unique features and characteristics of the multifunction wardrobe “Shanghai”: 1.“All inclusive” system: - includes storage places of different volume; - built-in bedside tables being a part of frontage of the wardrobe opened and closed by one frontage push; - 2 built-in night lamps hidden under the outstanding volume on the both sides of the bed; - 2 PIR-based motion sensors built into the wardrobe on the both sides of the bed which is very convenient as allows for turning on and off the light by a slight wave of the hand. 2.Saves the space: - bedside tables built-in; - lights fitted-in. 3.Expands and clears the room space: - mirror overhang volume makes the room deeper; - all shelves are hidden behind the figured handicraft wall. 4.Simple and convenient in operate: - tip-on system – mechanic opening system without handles; - blumotion – gentle and noiseless opening. 5.Simple in cleaning and not a dust collector: - occupies the whole floor-to-ceiling height; - wardrobe doors are hidden; - there are no handles on the wooden part of the wardrobe. 6.Multifunction wardrobe “Shanghai” is created in a special focus of the interior and acts as a separate self-sufficient element.

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
JS : During my work on the creating the multifunction wardrobe “Shanghai”, I involved the experienced specialists in the fields of joinery and modern furnishing. These companies are reliable because of their vast experience.

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
JS : Blum и Hettich company allowed me to use the most advanced fittings, which made the closet even more convenient.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
JS : I agreed the idea of the multifunction wardrobe “Shanghai” with the customer in the short term. There were some difficulties , because the price always plays an important role. Eventually I found a company in the city of Perm. The multifunction wardrobe “Shanghai” was to a good quality.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
JS : This project can be useful not only for my client. While creating the bedroom design for my client, I could not find such a multifunctional closet. This is why I wanted everyone to see my layout. Actually lots of people need it, but lots of them could not even imagine something like this. This is what the advanced multifunctional closet Shanghai is!

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
JS : I found the process of creating the closet very interesting. When the idea shown on the picture turned into reality, I experienced an incredible feeling

DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
JS : Live multifunctional !