UPWARD MOBILITY. THE RISE OF THE ARCHITECTURAL OFFICE SENAB PROJECT
OK, perhaps this office is not the most typical in Russia, or even in Moscow. Aside from the high quality of its designers, the firm also had the good fortune to find a Swedish partner, which enabled it to grow faster than other private architectural offices. Nevertheless, the development of this particular office illustrates the fact that architects are gradually finding their place in the new Russian economy. Wealthy clients have appeared, demanding high quality in detailing and materials, willing to pay the price not only for the building itself but also for the work of design-professionals. For the architectural office this means that it can invest in office equipment-computers, printers, plotters and the necessary software-and, perhaps even more importantly, improve its working environment, which is, of course, designed by the architects themselves. Three consecutive interiors:
Even before finishing the Moscow Architectural Institute, the four founders of the office set up shop in a small office space located near the Yauza riverbank just outside Moscow's Garden Ring. The office, then called AKANT, is part of a bigger organization, one of the first independent private offices in Moscow. Work mainly consists of making designs for the city of Ludinovo (Kaluzhskaya region), subject of the architect's diploma work. Due to a lack of funding, none of the projects are executed.
After working one winter without heating in their old office, it becomes necessary to find new office-space. They find it in the Sretenka-district, in an old apartment awaiting for restoration. Three rooms are made into one. One small room is reserved for their first computer. The first serious concrete commissions begin to appear, mainly renovations of apartments.
The commission for the interior of the Moscow Currency Exchange is their first big project, executed together with SENAB LF, a Swedish firm specializing in interior refurbishment. The turn-over resulting from the possibility to both design and fit out interiors with high-quality European furniture and finishes enables the firm to look for another location, which is found in the heart of Moscow near Pushkin square. After a thorough renovation this time not executed by the architects themselves but by workmen-the new office is opened in January 1995.