We are glad to host Alicia Kotlarek – graduated at IED Milano in Interior Design in 2012. We appreciate her lively and energetic communication. A positive and solid evidence about study experiences and apporach to the professional world.

Q: could you tell us the highlights of your study path? How did you meet, along the way, Istituto Europeo di Design?

A: I have always been interested in arts so when I finished a foundation year at L'institut Supérieur des Arts Appliqués (LISAA) in Paris I decided to move to Milan – the capital of design. After visiting few schools I decided on Istituto Europeo di Design because it offered a variety of courses and the program I chose seemed to be balanced between practical approach and theoretical knowledge. 

Then I moved to London and I completed a master’s degree in Interior and Spatial Design at Chelsea College of Arts, UAL. The course was very specific; it focused on conceptual approach to dealing with space. I worked on my personal project, profound research thesis, and presentation. All that would not have been possible without solid basics from IED.

" After graduation I started to look for a professional experience and I sent my portfolio to Karim Rashid. I couldn't believe I actually got a 4 months internship at his studio in New York "

It was such an important step in my career. I learned a lot there for my career. Mr. Rashid is a living legend, a true visionary, passionate and consistent with the style he creates. He is also a great and inspiring person.

After this wonderful experience, I started working in H2 Yacht Design based in London as an interior designer and 3D artist. It turned out that girls are not expected to work with 3d modeling so my skills from IED together with design studies from Milan were precious.

For over 2 years I have worked on a few projects. The average length of super-yachts varies from 50 up to over 100 meters and more. They have all amenities you can imagine. Currently, we are extremely busy working on the largest yacht in the world for a private client.  Every year we travel to Monaco Yacht Show and it is great to be there not as a tourist, but as a designer. Everything sounds amazing but the work is very intense, I sacrifice private life and spend all days in the office.

Q: what would you say is the most important acquisition during IED study program?

A: a project must be treated as wholesome and IED prepares to work on every stage of it; from concept, through CAD drawings, realizing 3d models through FF&E boards until the final presentation.

Finishing IED students are technically self-sufficient in designing; then of course they choose or are chosen to work on certain task or specialization. I think my advantage is that I can work on different stages of the project and visualize it on my own. So I would recommend focusing on computer studies but also on Marketing. It seems to be just a boring lecture, but it turns out to be one of the most important skills for us because design is as much art as business.

" Also - as a student – if you work hard on your projects you are likely to have a nice, almost professional portfolio at the end of the undergraduate course. Because we worked on interiors, concepts, product, lighting, we designed for famous companies - we can choose what we need to show. In comparison with other schools – I think that makes IED win. "

Q: do you have a professional goal that you would like to reach shortly?

A: I am aware that I am at the beginning of the professional path and I try to learn every day. I love yacht design and I see a lot of possibilities in that world, but I’d like to try realizing some crazy visions too, so maybe scenography...? I am also quite interested in product, jewelry design and hopefully one day I can combine all those disciplines and simply create! 

I think that ultimate – utopian - dream of every designer is to work on his/her own designs, preferably with no budget limits and open-minded clients and cooperating contractors – in few words – we all dream of being like Antonio Gaudì and finding our own Eusebi Güell. Good to be a dreamer. 

Q: how do you figure out the design development in the next 50 years?

A: I would be very rich if I knew the answer but I can tell you my personal wish. The challenge is to think out the box and notice how sustainability, beauty, and functionality can influence each other.

Simple mechanisms taken from nature can be used to create smart and eco-efficient systems. There are natural materials that respond to temperature changes or absorb humidity and with scientific and technical support this phenomenon can be used to reduce or maybe replace some old fashioned electrical systems. Sounds futuristic but the research has been made and it is exciting to hear about self-cleaning concrete, pollution reducing materials applied on building facades. Combination of diverse disciplines of science and design might bring spectacular and functional effects. 

Q: could you tell us some funny tips about the companies you work with?

A: as I mentioned, I currently work for a company where I am lucky to be a part of the most prestigious and extravagant projects. This hermetic yacht industry is full of anecdotes, but most of our clients’ names are top secret and the contracts are extremely strict about privacy – so I cannot reveal any details. 

" One of the first projects I worked on was a unique superyacht designed and fully adjusted to the owner’s … dogs. "

So you see it is challenging to follow the client’s wish. However the crazier one, the more fun for us – the designers! 


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