Alexander Trusov: "Architecture and design are the interface of material pragmatic and aesthetic expectations"
Alexander Georgievich Trusov is a Belarusian architect, designer. He was born in 1963, graduated from High School-College of Art in Minsk in 1981, the Architectural Faculty of BPI in 1986. Member of the Belarusian Union of Architects, the Belarusian Union of Designers. One of the co-founders of “Chetvertiy kvartal” Design Studio. Participant and winner of numerous international and national art competitions and festivals.
Alexander, you are an architect, but you have been working for many years in the field of interior design. Why have you done such a choice, and what is the difference between them?
Perhaps it is fate. Since childhood I wanted to be a designer and even tried to matriculate. I was not admitted. I chose the architecture with a clear desire to transfer. But "It" appeared so exciting that I stayed and finished my studies. I do not regret. Architecture provides a more global outlook, although in the design you are always engaged in details whose place and purpose you know exactly.
What is the fundamental difference? First of all, the implementation time. Architecture directly depends on the level of development of society, economy, politics, hundreds of agreements and, most importantly, on large investments. Consequently, the architect often has to wait for the result of his work half a lifetime. Since I am an impatient person, also prone to experimentation and originality, the interior design is what I need! Minimum agreements, small investments, no restrictions on creativity, personal contact with the customer, short implementation time. What else can you ask for?
But then the relationship with the architecture developed somehow?
Unfortunately, it went sour with the "big" architecture. Everything was doing all right. Employment in the public institute "Minskproekt" under the direction of the architecture masters Leonid Levin and Yuriy Gradov. Invaluable experience. Participation in architectural competitions and awards. Practical training at Norman Foster’s in London. Fantastic. Perestroika, the fall of the Berlin Wall! It seemed the architecture coming out of your ears is around the corner! In the 1990s - work in the architectural studio of Alexander Chadovich. Again, competitions, awards. And stagnation in society. No architecture is realized. But you only live once. That time interior design was just in the process of revival. I tried it - "tasty", quickly, creatively. But it is impossible to return from there to the great architecture. Hats off to the dedicated and talented architects, who patiently, step by step, realize their potential and great buildings. Shkolnikov, Vorobyov, Zeitlin, Kostich, Iwashko and many others are the real fighters. Sea of patience, talent and loyalty to the profession. I cannot but decorate the interior.
Judging by the first publications in magazines of 15 years ago, you actively used the colour. What has changed since then?
People change. They look for themselves. This is normal. I did not notice, but somehow one friend of mine, an architect Victor Bobryk said: "Alexander, you have already begun to work in earth tones". Indeed. You calm down approaching the maturity. Discos and doping are replaced with prudence and moderation.
Your works manifest a wealth of textures, interior painting. Where is it from? And in general, what are your style preferences?
In my youth, in art school, I really liked pastose painting. The best representative of it was Vladimir Tkachenko’s studio. Magic of texture and colour, vividness and ornamentation. But pupils had not enough money for "zinc white paints". We could not but struggle with glazing.
Time passed, and at one of the sites I noticed a builder stirring filler in the bucket. White! A lot of! And cheap! I began to experiment. With a spatula-size palette-knife. Large strokes require big walls. And as I was always worried about "synthesis of arts", I began to actively implement this in the interior. It proved popular, and at the same time dispelled my youthful gestalt!
But such "fakturizm" demanded a lot of time and diligence. Fortunately, architects A. Dashko and B. Shchedrin, who had a command of brush better than me, raised this technique to the power of brand, to the real monumental painting (so far only in private interiors).
As for the style of objects, then, of course, I prefer modern, refined, high-tech interior. But I try to add a little warmth to this minimalism with the help of textures, art and light. After all, not everybody is a hermit.
The other extreme, which I adore, is low-tech. You can use everything - wood, twigs, tile trimming - anything that did not fit the other objects, second hand. If only an artist mixed! Moreover, such an approach is environmentally friendly, inexpensive, absurdly extravagant and in searches breaks the traditional concept of harmony. This is jazz! Not of the sounds but of the things and fabric. It is comfortably to stay in it and view the textures. The formula is as follows: density of textures and art per 1 m2 of space exceeds the maximum permissible rate".
But what about the classics in the interior?
And we love it. With aspiration. But there everything is said. Act by the formula! Thingy there thingy here! Experimentation ended in 500 BC in Greece. And today all is left to reduce this dress to the size of an apartment or to inflate it to the size of new castles. People like it. Apparently, the classics has balance between detail and pauses. And the most important is that this style bigs up the status of its owner, and it does not matter that it is of foam and from Uruchcha or Zhdanovichy.
Relationships with customers is a special chapter in the novel titled "Interior Design". How do you build them?
Customers are our fellows in arms and friends along the way towards the result. I always try to explain them what challenges are ahead. The path is long, costly, nervous, but vincible! Not the entire interior can be described in detail drawings. Major surprises begin during construction. The wrong tile was bought, in order to save, - the designer worries! Shuffles units, details, colours – respects the customer! And so on until the construction completion. I cannot imagine how one can build without the author's supervision and consultation with the author! It is like an orchestra without a conductor. Only notes - nothing personal.
In general, "Interior is luxury", as our colleague Lyudmila Tatarinova said. Not everyone needs this! Only those who cannot live without it. And since so, we are coming the customer’s way. He gets the interior, and we get the "crown". Wear it for 5 minutes and then it's time to take it off. I have to go to work tomorrow! I wish every customer to find his "comfortable" designer. The path is not easy, but worth it. It can only be mastered in mutual respect.
Who implements your projects?
Building orchestra! I myself do not understand this sacrament materialization of the mental. Imagine, from the sketches, the 3D-ideas you get a real space for life, work and reposal. Of course, the first violin is the customer, his energy and finances. He is motivated the most. All the orchestra pit is the builders. Pipes, drums and strings come in at different times. They look at the conductor – the on-site foreman or, better, the project manager. A lot depends on the building orchestra! And only in the darkness of the hall, in the dress circle there is sitting the author of the work and from time to time prompts: "The violin in the sixth row! The wrong fugue on the tile". And if the first violin agrees, the fugue will be "re-fugued".
I know that you share your experience, thoughts and ideas in other formats as well...
Yes, and I like it. For the past seven years, I have been teaching as a visiting scholar at the Belarusian National Technical University on the faculty "Design of architectural environment". We conduct "Residential Building Project" together with fellow practitioners. Subject is favourite and clear. This is the basic discipline. Not everyone should build skyscrapers and community centres, but as for a cottage the student can make money out of it. It’s inestimable, that the Department invites the practitioners. We take students to construction sites, show the reality. We dismantle the components and parts, learn how to save and... present with cakes for the best projects! Nobody cancelled competitiveness.
What would you wish the young designers and architects?
Search! Remember that all the fundamental discoveries of our time occurred at the intersection of sciences. Finger any combination of all kinds of arts. Surely there is something undiscovered. "Architecture is a destiny of the elders", Mies van der Rohe said. Architecture and design are the interface of material pragmatic and aesthetic expectations. They are not always friends. And this subject is practical. Accumulate experience. Try, make mistakes, and only after reaching maturity present your works to the world.
In the Book of Ecclesiastes, whose leitmotif is the theme of the worldliness of our acts, there are the words full of wisdom and truthfulness: "So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him?" What "your work" would you like to look at and show to others?
How intricate! I'm afraid there is nothing to show. The world is difficult to surprise. Maybe in about twenty years and until then I am looking for my place in the world.
How do you assess the current level of interior development in Belarus?
For post-soviet 25-yeared development – not bad! But this applies mostly to the private interior. We involuntarily tend to compare with the Western world, and there we certainly caught up with, and maybe even surpassed. On the balance there is a Slavic thorough approach to the place in which we live, and Western attitude - "a machine for living". Thoroughness outweighs, as it provides a long and happy life. As for public interiors, there is a failure here. State officials lack courage. And if they don’t, they lack time. When there is the first and the second - the money run out. But the second chance may never come...
Interviewed by Valentina Martinovich
Original article: http://obstanovka.by/trusov_interview.php
Magazine "Obstanovka", 2014, №4