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Interview with Aida Bratovic, founding director of STUDIO Aida

Hello! Can you tell us about yourself?

My name is Aida Bratovic and I am a founding director of STUDIOAida.

STUDIOAida is a boutique Architecture and Interior Design studio working on high end residential and commercial projects in the UK and abroad. Our concept is to take something familiar and recreate it in a way that no one has seen before, through working with inspiring collaborators. Every design is tailored to the individual and we commission one-off pieces from the very best furniture makers and artisans of our time. 

Colour coordination in North London residence and Soft colours in our North London project

What’s your backstory and what attracted you to design?

I was born in Sarajevo and studied architecture at the University of Sarajevo before completing my studies at the Bartlett School of Architecture UCL under the tutelage of Simon Alford and Paul Monaghan. 

I was a director of a large architectural practice for nearly 15 years before I decided to set up on my own, concentrating on giving clients a more holistic approach to design,  combining interior design with architecture from the very beginning rather than leaving it as an afterthought.

Since the early days, I was more attracted to making dolls houses and furniture for them than playing with dolls. With the first of Lego for my 10th birthday, there was no doubt in my mind what I was going to be.

Our first STUDIOAida team in 2014

What do you love most about designing?

Great architecture and interior design, whatever the scale makes a positive and relevant difference to our lives and the way we live them. Every detail is important. It should give us inspiration and joy and make our lives better. I love when we manage to take the clients out of their comfort zone and show them something that they love but have never thought about before.

Who, for you, has been the most influential designer/designers?

So many to choose from but one that truly made a mark on me as a designer are Adolf Loos, Mies Van der Rohe, Tadao Ando and of course Zaha Hadid for her courage and refusal to conform and compromise.

Today I admire people like Peter Zumthor, Vincent Van Duysen, Pierre Yovanovitch… 

Where/how do you find inspiration for new designs?

It does not all just happen in our heads. It is crucial to be engaged and open and to seek knowledge and inspiration all the time, be it at the museum, theatre, gallery, cinema, or just strolling around the city. I often go to Princelet Street in East London to marvel at colours and the simplicity of Georgian architecture, or places like Hampton Court Palace to look at the embroidered fabric, or just sit in the Turbine Hall in Tate Modern.

Describe your approach to functionality v aesthetics.

My architectural training will always make me choose function over form, but I very much believe it is possible to do both. 

Describe your approach to choosing/using colours.

I have long abandoned using only the shades of white in our projects. Colours can calm us down, excite us, makes us feel happy and safe. 

In practical terms I would always recommend painting basement rooms and small rooms in darker colours, I know that seems illogical, but it will make them feel softer and larger.

Dark corner in our Knightsbridge project

How are green awareness and the increasing popularity of eco-friendly products affecting the design process(now, and in the future)?

Finally, I think, the tides are changing and we have started to realise the danger and consequences of the climate change and how crucial it is for all of us to do our bit before is too late. Wherever possible we try to use eco-friendly products in our projects.

What is your all-time favourite design (yours)?

Always the current one that we are doing.

What is your all-time favourite design (someone else’s)?

I would love to live in Mies’s Barcelona Pavilion, please.

Advice for readers who want to redesign their homes/workplaces?

Don’t be scared to experiment, what is the worst it can happen. Don’t paint your house in primary colours and don’t paint every room a different colour, it will be unsettling. 

Consider employing the professional from the beginning,  It will save you a lot of money and aggravation. 

What does the future look like?

 The future is definitely green.

Where can we go to learn more?

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