Name: Yuna Megre
Company: MEGRE INTERIORS
Position within company: Founder and Principal
Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)
Yuna Megre an internationally acclaimed interior designer, hospitality creator, and entrepreneur based in Moscow and Los Angeles. Using the proprietary wergonomics concept-driven methodology, Yuna takes a human-centered approach to design, believing that everything that we create in this world creates who we are in return and that hospitality is a service of others to protect, care and delight.
After graduating in Business Management from Cardiff University, working at Saatchi&Saatchi, and studying Interior Design at Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London, Yuna returned to Moscow and founded design bureau MEGRE INTERIORS. With her analytical frame of mind and a background in advertising and marketing, Yuna Megre is known for her investigative and conceptual approach to design – providing a valuable asset to her hospitality clientele.
Today MEGRE INTERIORS is a Moscow and Los Angeles based creative house specializing in hospitality design with a team of over two dozen highly dedicated specialists – designers, architects, CGI artists, buyers, managers – who employ a team-based agile approach to creating concepts while delivering quality design & documentation in tight time frames.
Over 12 years of work, MEGRE INTERIORS have completed over 170 projects in London, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Baku, Tbilisi, Leukerbad, Geneva, Dubai, Doha, Zurich, and others.
Yuna Megre is a member of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), the Association of Interior Designers and Decorators (ADDI), the Council of Experts for Interior Design and the Architectural Environment (CEID), the HoReCa Designers Association amongst others.
How would you describe your personal interior design style?
I do not believe in personal style. You can not have the same result if your input always varies. At MEGRE INTERIORS what we focus on is wergonomics. We are human-centered concept-driven. What that means: the human-centered means that everything we do we do for people, who are going to be interacting with the environment. As hospitality designers – those are our guests, those are the local community and the human community at large. Not the clients that hire us, but those who will be using the environments we create, those are the people whose needs, wishes and emotions we consider and put at the center of our projects.
The concept-driven is where our Client’s impulse becomes central, their creative vision is the spark of creation. It means that for every single concept that we create, in essence, we create a separate DNA, a separate identity, that has its own traits, that has its own functional and emotional attributes, that has its own tone of voice, both visual and in terms of its story. In that way, they live completely separately from our designers’ ego and are based on that Client’s vision. They live and breathe and interact with people, they can adapt, grow, transform with time because of this separation.
Without the common ‘style’, I hope that you can tell that you have stepped into MEGRE INTERIORS environment through the commonality that they are thought through, that they are really meticulous, that they are easy and comfortable to interact with and that there is a completely logical believable philosophy behind each one. Everything that is in the environment makes sense to people, aesthetically pleases them, and satisfies their needs and wishes.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
Designers always tell the tale of inspiration in terms of places they visit, art, architecture, fashion, design, nature, etc. But what they should really say is – people. Because only through the understanding of people we are creating for, can one create something that ignites them.
People are the driving force behind everything I and my team do as designers. We are curating emotion-driven environments that facilitate harmonious human interaction. That is our mission.
Why is it so important? In a goal-driven world of today, spacial design is the thing that makes us stop in our tracts. Observe. Be present. In the moment. It is what brings us back to the process, to the now, to ourselves.
In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
The design starts to embrace the evolution from spacial and functional into experiential and immersive environments.
The most significant design trend is cross-disciplinary integration between design, art, digital, experience, etc. to sum it up – emotion-driven immersive design.
The biggest challenges, for this, and the coming years, to embrace the new paradigm, to push boundaries of what design is and include a wider array of factors into the design process. It will push designers to develop an understanding of the art and digital integration into the design, the changing psychology and sociology of people, to embrace changing
technologies and habits and to have to create for a future world that is hard to prescribe and anticipate.
Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2020 and beyond.
Responsiveness in design. The recent & ongoing world pandemic showed us how quickly the norm, the status quo disappears and pushed to the surface the need to address these challenges, to address adaptability in design.
Sustainability is a key issue globally and particularly to the design industry. Sustainable practices, products, environments are the future of our planet and we must do our part in making the future today.
Community & Harmonious human interaction. This theme has been gaining momentum for the past few years as the world changes, as we, as humans are faced with new functional and psychological challenges. Isolation and at the same time overexposure, need for community and at the same time need for privacy. Human lives, and thus environments are changing at an unprecedented pace and we are challenged with helping navigate this change, making it organic, making it positive and constructive.
Experiential design. The merging of industries and paradigms I outlined in the previous question is a big theme. What people are leaning to in the context of over-stimulation and over-information is purity of emotion. This is changing the landscape of the industry and its just the beginning of the journey.
Insteriors. A merging of the word “Instagram” and “interiors” it is all about the “snap-shot” mentality. We may disagree with it and feel it to be shallow, but we would be stupid to ignore that is it no longer enough to create beautiful spaces, it is no longer enough to create functional spaces. They have to be insta-shot worthy to be successful, especially in the hospitality sector. And thus we must design with this in mind.
What projects are you currently working on?
We are relative newbies in the hotel segment with only two years in the sector but we are happy to be making some waves. We have two completed hotel projects under our belt, as well as eleven in progress in various locations around the world. And we are very proud to have started working with Accor on our first chain hotel. And of course, we are not forgetting our roots, with over 12 restaurant projects in the making, and 2 retail spaces and a big office project.
What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
It is impossible to ignore what is happening in the world and how it is affecting us all as humans, and how it is affecting the hospitality sector. Thus all the plans and goals we had are certainly adjusting.
We are grateful to have been more than prepared for the challenges of this pandemic. Our offices work from two locations on projects all over the world. The agile practices, the cloud-based project management, communications, scheduling, conferencing, time tracking, and resource analysis tools that we have deployed a couple of years ago secured our ability to carry on business as normal while observing the quarantine guidelines.
We understand that not everyone has been so lucky, and thus are actively sharing this knowledge with our community to try and help colleagues survive this situation and to carry on with their work.
At the same time, it is ever so important in times like this to analyse, reflect and create positively. This is what we are concentrating on. Apart from working on Client projects we are dedicating time to our design collection that aims to address the challenges of environmental sustainability in conceptual design.
Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:
Your most treasured possession?
I don’t have one. Possessions are just that for me – possessions. They are just energy frozen in matter. I view them as emotional vessels for sentiments, for memories, for thoughts. Once an emotion, sentiment, thought becomes irrelevant so does the “message” it carries and so does the vessel that holds it.
Your favourite holiday destination?
Anywhere that is warm, sunny and has water is a winner for me. Though I must say this year I fell in love with skiing which is a surprise for me.
Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?
My favourites in the hotel segment would be Firmdale Hotels by Kit Kemp and Proper Hotels by Kelly Wearstler. Very emotional and comfort-driven.
Your favourite book, film & song?
I am a sentimental bug – Forrest Gump, Green Mile, Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Your favourite food and drink?
It depends when you are asking. At 11 am it is one thing, but then at 2 am it is a totally different story. I have to admit, I am a night munching-monster that craves comfort food.
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
Sleeping. Any parent would understand how rare and treasured that pass time is.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
Probably something related to psychology and sociology.
Megre Interiors have been Shortlisted for Restaurant – Europe Award, Bar/Club/Lounge – Europe Award and Restaurant within hotel – Europe Award in The International Hotel and Property Awards 2020.
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