Dream came true
How did it all begin? Was design something you wanted all along or have circumstances lead you in that direction?
You could say that it all started rather early for me, since I decided to become an architect when I was 12. From an early age, I would pay attention to the way things around me looked, the way they were arranged, and I would think about how the space where I was staying could be improved, spruced up or expanded and utilized in the best possible way. In elementary school, I already started sketching furniture, and my parents had trusted me enough to have a carpenter make the things that I designed and decorate our apartment with them.
As it turned out, the first unusual pieces I designed attracted the attention of other people. And that's how it all started. Our complete apartment was done up according to my designs, and then my "business" expanded to friends who wanted something different from what the furniture market had to offer. Of course, the interior design does not end only with flats.
In addition to my need to design, there were some other circumstances which led me to discover my true calling during my childhood. My love of sailing is what linked my experience from the faculty in Belgrade and my dreams and led me to Milan to take my master's degree in yacht design. And that's how vessels came to be a part of my business as well.
You combined your work and your family life and with your husband you run a successful design studio. Do you work on the projects together or independently?
I'd rather say that it's the job that brought us together and we were able to make a happy family, and later a successful company. When we met, we were in different studios that worked on projects of the same level and in a very similar manner. We even had the same clients, but in different areas. After a while, it became only logical to join forces and thus "m2atelier" was established.
Yes, we do our work and run our business together. There are some projects which are lead mostly by me and others where Marko is calling the shots, but both of us are generally very committed. This combination brings nothing but benefit to our clients and projects.
It is also very useful for both of us to be able to run our ideas by each other and hear different opinions, or have our ideas confirmed or challenged and modified. We do this for each other and I think it's a big plus in our business.
In our case, by joining our studios and jobs, I'd say that we profited in all respects. We combined our knowledge and valuable experiences. Along with developing our work and strengthening our studios, we started our family that is more precious to us than all our jobs put together. By merging our business, we quickly increased the number of satisfied customers around the world, which are now coming from all continents, which reinforces our confidence in what we do.
I have to say that it hasn't been easy for us to reach all the customers at the right time, but now it's a bit easier.
Some people wonder if the decision to work with one's spouse is the right one, because if the business is not going well your family life may suffer. This was something we understood from the very beginning, either this will work or it won't. Fortunately for us, it worked out pretty well. Anyway, as you now, we are not the first couple in the field of architecture.
You had the chance to work for big brands. Which project, would you say, was the most important for you?
We have and are still working for a lot of important brands from all over the world. And what's more, we do a lot of private projects for the same people, which gives us validation that our work is appreciated and we often end up becoming friends with the people we work for. It makes things all the more pleasant and enjoyable.
Projects often involve different approaches and duration. From boutiques stores which sprig up on construction sites after only 3 months, through residential projects that may involve short and quick reconstructions, or building from foundation which may last a couple of years, to yacht building projects which may take 3 to 4 years, depending on a client's swiftness in decision-making.
We take the same approach whether we are doing a yacht or a dog kennel, and nobody is given any precedence or our preference. I have to admit that the projects we are working on now are what any architect dreams of and, even though sometimes we may be working too much, we are very pleased that our efforts are paying off.
You are also passing down your rich experience to young people - as a lecturer?
They say that knowledge is wasted unless it has been put to use or passed down to others.
I can hardly speak of any success if I cannot convey my experience, first of all, to the people I work with and create things. It's an everyday task. In a way, it is even more pleasant sometimes, because the age gap is small, while in some cases it may seem a little unusual.
In addition to the staff in my studio, I also pass down my knowledge and experience to young people from the Polytechnic University getting their master's degree in yacht design, whenever I have time and when the conditions are met to hold lectures for students. This way I sometimes find new associates among them.
Your job sounds perfect, but are there any things that sometimes make you think about change?
Every day I become convinced that this job is really perfect for me. I have never thought that I was making a mistake. It can sometimes be like a double-edged sword, because there is no end to devotion, and you may only imagine when two people from the same house share the same way of thinking and the same passion. There are moments when you work at night and do not sleep for two days in a row. There are moments when it's really difficult, because every construction site, or shipyard have different problems and the things requiring immediate solution are just piling up. But, in the end, you feel rewarded when the project is over.
If I ever get tired with this race to finish everything in a day that lasts only 24 hours, maybe I'll change something.
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