Alena Statsenko, former student of IED One Year Course in Interior Design – Milan – is presenting her experience as student and professional in US and how her experience literally changed her life!

Q.: could you tell us what was your career path prior and after the IED course? Which has been the educational contribution of IED compared to your natural creative skill? 

A.: in 2007 I decided to switch from a linguist-psychologist to a creative field and entered a 1-year course at one of Moscow high-schools. Fortunately I had a good teacher in architecture who taught me a lot in architecture and style. But these were theoretical knowledge by books. Yes, we also had practice but it was always for the sake of “to pass an exam” or “to do just in order to do” mode. Same was I made my thesis and graduated from the university with an A-level diploma and the knowledge hardly useful in the real working life. Worked for a year in one company, then another one, then stayed at home for a couple years trying to do something on my own. Failed – got back to office work and failed after the trial period. My bosses there were very professional, very cool and… alumni of Italian universities. And I could not understand what they demanded from me. What was a concept without sketches? How can you start your work without having a floorplan? Surprisingly, you can and you should. Seeing their amazing works, I decided to go to study in Italy as well. 

“ during my studying at IED all my previous knowledge about design turned for 180 degrees ” 

Q.: what is your occupation now? Any interesting projects that you can share with us? 

A.: if I knew in advance that it would have been so difficult to find a job after IED I would still have had no doubts whether to study there or not. After IED I was literally re-born and can say for sure that design is not only a profession – it is my hobby and lifestyle. I am grateful to my clients who trust my style and ideas. Now I temporary live in America, have not succeeded yet in working with local clients – a license is required. But, in the meanwhile, I get projects from Russia or create some concepts just for myself and for my portfolio. For example now I’m working on an interior of a yacht – it is a project for myself but it is very exciting! I would consider it a path where I would dream to develop in the future. Every year I come back to Milan for the Design Week and also when I have a possibility I go to Venice Biennale. Also I’m still learning the Italian language – I fell in love with it! 

“ after IED I was literally re-born ” 

Q.: you obviously had some expectations while choosing IED for your studies. What were your expectations and what was the reality? 

A.: we had very strong teachers who motivated me a lot. I was so inspired that had no doubts that when I would come to Moscow design companies would crave working with the specialist with Italian education. Now Russian design is changing and getting better, a lot new really good designers are emerging. While in 2015 I was shocked – wherever I came, no one appreciated me. One girl who was meant to become my boss (but fortunately this never happened) told me: “What is there so cool about your Italian education? I did not study anywhere while I am the boss. Why would I need your hand sketches? My 3D models are faster and cooler.” So after a while I decided to start working for myself. During studying in IED I fell in love with participation in various design contests and I go on doing it also now – this includes interior and product design for Russian and Italian companies, as an example for Riva1920, Porada, Antonio Lupi, Elica. 

Q.: Italy is a renowned country with a mix of a great value of traditions and with a unique creative atmosphere, with headquarters of worldwide known brands. Do you think this played a part in determining your decision to choose a school in Italy? Why did you choose IED Milan for your education? 

A.: I am definitely not the only one considering Italy the motherland of fashion, therefore I had no doubts at all while choosing the country for my education. While Milan and IED happened accidentally. In reality the decision to study was spontaneous and belated. The majority of schools either were about to start the courses, or required such a huge list of documents that I was not able to collect, or were super expensive. So I had to choose between 2-3 schools. Additionally, before going to Milan I got interested in yachting and when I found out that the program of the interior design course would include yacht design.

“ the puzzle was accomplished: only IED! ” 

Q.: now when you are IED alumnus, what would be your advice to those going to IED for studying?

A.: you are an adult and you are the one taking the decision to study. So I advise you to be serious in your approach during the course. The way you approach it will define the knowledge you will get. Every course has plenty of lazy or know-all students but your goal should be to get the maximum from the course, the teachers and Italy. If the course seems too difficult – don’t complain, you will feel better when working; the course seems to be too easy – make additional projects. Do not miss a golden opportunity to learn from the best of the best. 


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