Photo Anna Vishtak
About 4 years ago Svyatoslav Zbroy and Dmitry Bulgakov established ODESD2 industrial design bureau. Since that time they’ve produced and sold out about 160 types of furniture objects over the world, organized the school for designers and have been promoting “made in Ukraine” design as a competitive, top-grade and unique one.
About idea of creating the bureau
Svyatoslav: I am responsible for the designs, and Dmitry is responsible for the production part.
If we talk about the idea of Bureau, we have come up with it about 4 years ago. The main idea was to create an enterprise that could produce high-quality objects of industrial design. We put a simple goal, which we have already achieved. We create, design the idea of an object, we prepare all related documentation and implement the objects commercially. ODESD2 is a comprehensive company that develops, manufactures and sells serial product. We have invited the best consultants, "senior partners" who helped us to avoid many mistakes that often occur in other similar companies, like for example, the lack of service. In Ukraine, there is good technical base with excellent professionals. The only question is in management and services, which are not developed due to the historical nature. This is a post-Soviet country with a vertical power system and at the moment it goes into a decentralized one, where essential services and customer support are important. We try to avoid mistakes and help all our partners to do the same. For example, we created our own trading system: the network of integrated solutions (software included), dealer network, the network of regulatory documents, acts for this network formation. All of this satisfies our foreign partners, dealers. It is the normal working process in their countries, but here it just has Wow effect. We often hear from them: “We didn’t have a clue that this could be done in such a progressive way in Ukraine”.
About the school for designers
Svyatoslav: We have our own school in which we teach people the basics of industrial design. We invest in them, so they create serial objects that we will produce then. The designers will get guaranteed royalty payment. A lot of well-known designers are joining us.
For our company that has started with two people (and now we have more than 25 employees) the design school is now the most important project. If we talk about three components of the process - creation of ideas, production and its commercialization - they are already not a problem for us. But the most important thing right now is to develop design school. Two times a week after 6 o’clock we conduct lectures on different topics related to industrial design with the aim to give people the most complete view of the industrial designer profession. And after the students graduate the program, we can give these professionals an opportunity to develop further in this area. At the moment we have about 100 people and 75-80 of them visit the lectures regularly. They come for training about design theory, design process, sketching, computer design programs and creation of all supporting documentation. Production is the final course, when it is possible to go to the manufacture and see how the ideas are made live.
People come to us with completely different skills and knowledge. Classical architecture school in Ukraine does not provide this kind of knowledge now as we do.
Dmitry: We have full production cycle. There are several manufactures all over Ukraine: for works with wood there is one in Cherkassy and three ones in Kiev; for works with textile there is one in Lviv, one in Cherkassy and the two ones in Kiev, for works with metal there are three manufactures: one in Kharkiv, one in Cherkassy and two in Kiev. We use Ukrainian raw materials, Ukrainian workers and we import only paints/varnishes and some metals. We can name it as «Made in Ukraine». All objects come to Kiev, where they are assembled and go to the stores and dealers for sale. Warranty is offered for all products.
We think about mass production in Ukraine or in China, or may be in the U.S. depending on the market share. This is due to the logistics. We export our facilities there and it is easier to produce the required amount for the U.S. market right there, because the freight is very expensive, it makes the cost of the product.
Svyatoslav: Our level of the process organization allows us to conduct business anywhere. Production is always a question of localization. The main task is to help these designers to develop their skills.
Dmitry: As a rule, the designer focuses on creative thinking, how to create a project. But implementation, running into series, selling the products require your finances, knowledge and time. We undertake all these tasks.
Svyatoslav: We have collected the best team and help designers to promote their ideas here. Our goal is to develop Ukrainian industrial design industry.
About Ukrainian design
Svyatoslav: It has been existing all the time, it is very ancient tradition. Craft was developed very strongly in the Ukraine. Now the problem is in the design industry, in a range of services and resources. In Ukraine we don’t have it. Our bureau’s task is to create this industry.
What prevents the industry from development now?
Well, nothing. Yes, the economic situation in the country is an endogenous factor, which we can’t change quickly.
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Is there any discrepancy between the things that Ukrainian designers are ready to offer to the consumer and the things that the customer is willing to accept now?
There are no divergences. Proposal is the primary thing now.
Is our consumer financially ready for up-to-date propositions?
Yes. The point is that there are not so many propositions for now to create culture of consumption. In Europe the culture of consumption was formed after the World War II in a very active way due to the fact that the designers began to develop actively some areas of industrial design aimed at meeting the demand of the postwar times through functional design. On the territory of Ukraine it will take time and a lot of products of high quality in different price categories will start to appear.
Our bureau uses only best materials what makes the price competitive with the one of European producers. In Ukraine we have fixed the price of our products in the national currency, and every day at 7 o'clock on our website the price is recalculated for overseas buyers, and for them we are getting cheaper because of the currency rate. But in Ukraine these products are now in the highest price category. If we talk about future projects, we are developing collections of different price categories, such as medium, low and social furniture. We understand that there will be a demand for this. Only in our school there are 100 designers, 30 of them work on the objects of furniture of different price categories. Our goal is to create a tolerant offer for our market in different price categories. Of course, consumer is ready for this and he is waiting for this, because he will have a choice. The problem is that we still have a low culture of consumption.
In which countries do you have dealers?
There are 10 in Ukraine and 5 abroad. They are in Canada, USA, Poland, the Netherlands, and United Arab Emirates.
What style for interior design is popular today in Ukraine?
Scandinavian style prevails now. It will continue to develop. Plus high-tech will be popular. Style forms for decades. As to the high-tech style now in the country there are almost no high-quality proposals, but we are working on it. I think that together we will create a new design style. It will be a kind of eclectic, combining different design directions. Now, we as a country, as a community of designers are at the beginning of recovery, but over 4 past years our bureau have managed to get on the right vector of development and this is very important. This is a period of accumulation of knowledge, ideas, training, and testing capabilities to create unique objects. It is time for laying the foundation. The designers will create projects, our bureau will produce them, then gather the opinions of our customers from around the world and implement all of this in future ideas! This is the New Chance for Ukrainian Design.
Interviewed by Anna Vishtak