Inspirationist exclusive: Interview with Oleg Klodt – Founder of Oleg Klodt Architecture & Design

Oleg Klodt was born into an artistic family, which traces its origins back to Pyotr Karlovich Klodt, the sculptor of Imperial St. Petersburg. It was unsur­prising that Oleg, too, would follow a career connected with art. Oleg Klodt launched his architectural practice shortly after he graduated from the Moscow Architectural Institute. Oleg Klodt creates classic interiors, characterised by their elegance and chic, and fashioned with innate intelligence. One of the characteristic traits which manifest themselves in his work is paying attention to the finest level of detail, and creating bespoke pieces of furniture and decor that were individually designed, down to the level of door-knobs and window handles. The delicacy of this approach lends an exclusivity and individuality to each of his interiors.

© Frank Herfort

We caught up with Mr. Klodt in an exclusive interview for Inspirationist:

© Frank Herfort

INSPIRATIONIST: Where are you from, and where do you live now? 

Oleg Klodt: I’m from Moscow, and it’s where I live now.

I: What’s your background?

O.K.: I studied at the Moscow Architectural Institute (MARCHI).

© Frank Herfort

I: How did you fall in love with architecture and why?

O.K.: Actually I became a designer and architect almost coincidentally. They were ideas which had fascinated me when I was a student, and after I graduated I leapt straight into my career – without even thinking of any other kind of profession at all. Originally it was architecture which interested me – but the economic climate in the early 2000s in Russia prompted me to start working in interior design.

© Mikhail Stepanov

I think every architect or designer is a psychologist too, in some ways.

I: Where do you spend most of your time, and what does a typical day for you entail?

O.K.: I have a really packed life – I love what I do, and usually work around a 60-hour week – and often quite a lot more! A big part of my job involves meeting people – in fact I think every architect or designer is a psychologist too, in some ways. And alongside all that, I still manage to create the architecture of spaces, plan building layouts, and design pieces of furniture.

© Mikhail Stepanov

I: What is your favourite part of your job?

O.K.: There’s no one aspect of my work I could pick out as being closer to my heart than others – I like everything I do! I’m a perfectionist, so I believe that everything we do has to be done to the best of our abilities – and this means my work demands my utmost concentration. I really enjoy planning and creating spaces and meeting people. My work as a designer is multifaceted, and we have to bring all those different elements together successfully.

© Frank Herfort

We can really design anything at all now.

I: Can you describe the evolution in your work from when you began until today?

O.K.: At the beginning we had low-budget projects which involved a lot of plywood as a finishing material, plus we had to make a lot of the details ourselves because back then, the design industry wasn’t really established in Russia. We had to think up our own solutions. This kind of creative approach became the norm for us and, as a result, complete, individualised makeovers of architectural spaces became our credo. Over the years we’ve fine-tuned this way of working, broadened our technological approach to design, and researched, analysed, and developed relationships with manufacturers. I think you could say we’ve reached the apogee – we can really design anything at all now.

© Frank Herfort

I: If you had to choose one single architect who has provided a source of inspiration for you personally – who would it be and why?

O.K.: It would be hard to choose just one architect – in fact, I can’t think of an architect whose complete output I like without exception. For example, I usually like Rem Koolhaas’s work, but the building he created for Garage in Moscow left me cold. I like some of Richard Rogers’s projects. And of course, Norman Foster has done some very interesting work – probably because first and foremost, he’s more of an engineer than an architect.  It affects the way he works. His architecture is provocative, you could even say controversial in its style – yet all his major projects have a certain simplicity that characterises his approach.

© Sergey Ananyev

My favourite building is actually Westminster Abbey. It’s my favourite cathedral, in my favourite city, and absolutely jam-packed with the history of England.

I: Which is your favourite building?

O.K.: You’ll probably laugh at this, but it’s actually Westminster Abbey. It’s my favourite cathedral, in my favourite city, and absolutely jam-packed with the history of England. When I see the tombs of those two rival queens, Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart, lying next to each other, I find it completely fascinating.

I: Which of your designs is your personal favourite and why?

O.K.: I can’t easily answer that question – each of my projects has its own special significance for me!

© Sergey Ananyev

I: How do you unwind?

O.K.: I like sports – I exercise at a gym and play football, plus I love travelling with my family and spending a lot of time with my kids. Sometimes I can relax during business trips – exhibitions, award presentations, that kind of thing.

© Andrea Martiradonna

I: What kind of music are you listening to at the moment?

O.K.: In the sphere of classical music, I like Beethoven and Sibelius. If we’re talking about modern music, then Nightwish.  And of course, I have a lifelong love of The Beatles!

I: What is your favourite colour?

O.K.: It’s easier to name the ones I don’t like – yellow, green and pink. Overall I’m more interested in complex muddied colours than clean hues.

© Andrea Martiradonna
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