Vik­tor Udzenija shares his ca­reer jour­ney and cur­rent projects

Design Middle East - - Contents -

Vik­tor Udzenija, prin­ci­pal ar­chi­tect and CEO at Vik­tor Udzenija Ar­chi­tec­ture + De­sign, talks about his cur­rent projects and the im­por­tance of ev­er­last­ing de­signs

Tell us some­thing about your pro­fes­sional jour­ney from Lon­don to Dubai?

After fin­ish­ing my stud­ies in Mu­nich (Ger­many), I was picked up by my then pro­fes­sor ar­chi­tect Richard Hor­den, who used to work with Lord Nor­man Fos­ter for many years and got me rec­om­mended to join the of­fice of Fos­ter + Part­ners in Lon­don. After sev­eral years in the head­quar­ter of­fices in Lon­don, I got of­fered to move to Dubai to over­look the con­struc­tion and de­liv­ery of the In­dex Tower in DIFC. Dur­ing the years spent on the In­dex Tower, I had fallen in love with Dubai and upon com­plet­ing the project de­cided to stay in the coun­try and set-up my own stu­dio.

What do you feel is your prac­tice’s strong­est skill and how have you worked to de­velop that over the past years?

We strive to come up with new and unique de­signs for ev­ery project. I fo­cus on de­signs that are time­less in both their aes­thetic in­ter­pre­ta­tion and the ma­te­ri­als used that will age well over the time. We give the high­est re­gard to el­e­ments of sus­tain­abil­ity as well. De­vel­op­ing de­signs that are tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion all of these as­pects whilst also en­sur­ing great at­ten­tion to de­tail and qual­ity is some­thing that is at the core of our prac­tice.

What were some of the key in­flu­ences that in­spire the de­sign and struc­tures you make?

Dur­ing de­vel­op­ing a project de­sign, I am in­flu­enced by many im­por­tant fac­tors, be it the en­vi­ron­ment which is al­ways one of the most cru­cial fac­tors, where the build­ing is lo­cated, what are the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the given lo­ca­tion in terms of weather, sun path, views, and sur­round­ings. The client’s brief is very im­por­tant as it in­di­cates how the build­ing will be used, who will use it, etc.

You have an in­cli­na­tion to­wards prod­uct de­sign­ing as well. Tell us some­thing about it and the pieces you have de­signed so far?

I love work­ing on all scales of de­signs—be it a large com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment or a tower, or an in­te­rior space of a res­i­dence all the way to a piece of fur­ni­ture or a light ob­ject. I don’t like to set limit when it comes to my cre­ative process. One of my first in­di­vid­ual pieces of fur­ni­ture de­sign was the Lit­tle Rocker. A rock­ing horse carved out of a solid block of mar­ble. It was shown at De­sign Days Dubai with Car­pen­ters Work­shop Gallery, and later at the very first ret­ro­spec­tive ex­hi­bi­tion of best de­signs from the Mid­dle East ti­tled ‘Wasl’. I am cur­rently work­ing on sev­eral new de­signs for a lux­ury res­i­den­tial project, which we are soon de­liv­er­ing in Lon­don as well as a new range that will be shown in an up­com­ing gallery ex­hi­bi­tion.

Talk us through a few of your cur­rent projects.

We are soon de­liv­er­ing our first F&B project. It is the new Marea restau­rant in DIFC, Dubai, this two Miche­lin star Ital­ian restau­rant is ex­pand­ing and we were cho­sen to de­sign the first new con­cept out­side of NYC. The project is well un­der con­struc­tion and will hope­fully open early spring 2019. At around the same time, we will be de­liv­er­ing our first ever project in the UK, su­per lux­u­ri­ous pri­vate res­i­dences at Knights­bridge in Lon­don. One of our key projects un­der­way is mixed-use re­tail and res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment in Prague in Czech Repub­lic. We are very ex­cited to be ex­pand­ing our reach out­side of the Mid­dle East re­gion, which just shows us how much our work ap­proach is ap­pre­ci­ated.

What kind of changes do you want to see in de­sign and ar­chi­tec­ture in this re­gion?

I think the most im­por­tant change that we as ar­chi­tects are keen on de­vel­op­ing is the ap­pre­ci­a­tion for our craft and ex­per­tise. Sus­tain­able de­sign is also a fac­tor that is slowly be­com­ing more ap­par­ent in this re­gion. We can’t ig­nore the en­vi­ron­ment and our im­pact on it and vice-versa.

Vik­tor Udzenija sit­ting on his de­sign piece, Lit­tle Rocker

A stun­ning res­i­den­tial project by Vik­tor Udzenija in Jumeirah, Dubai

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