Bergman and Mar

Designer in Profile: Petra Arko, Founder & Creative Director of Bergman and Mar

Name: Petra ArkoBergman and Mar

Company: Bergman & Mar

Position within company: Founder & Creative Director


Tell us a little about your background in design…
I grew up in Slovenia during the socialist era. We didn’t travel abroad and there was a huge lack of variety of products with very few imports. I have always been passionate about art, product design and interiors. We didn’t have interior design courses so instead I decided to study economics. At the age of twenty one I travelled to Australia, and stayed for three years and finished my studies there. After this I moved to London and after few years in business consulting I’ve heard about a dream course – KLC interior Design diploma which was the best year yet!

I worked on commercial projects first, then moved to residential design. Bergman & Mar was born just over three years ago!

How would you describe your personal design style?
The core paradigm of the studio is that good design has to be aesthetic, functional and long-lasting. Surprisingly, it doesn’t always mean it has to be expensive. The studio invests significant time in uncovering your designers, artist and artisans predominately in Britain, Europe and also around the world. This philosophy has unsurprisingly attracted both developer and private clients. The studio has earned a recommended status on several developments including as King’s Cross Gasholders, One Crown Place and Lillie Square.

Where does your design inspiration come from?
Inspiration comes from variety of sources. A huge influence is travelling, both in UK and abroad. It allows you to see and feel products, enjoy their interaction with the space and identify good and bad interior solutions. My favourite hobby is uncovering talented artists, artisans and craftsman and using them in our projects.

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
We understand that interior design tends to fall for trends and temptation is to use ever popular fast fashion furniture. Our industry significantly contributes to the landfill, creates devastating carbon emission and robs landscapes of precious resources.  Our studio believes that we must deliver interiors that minimise this impact. We work with local crafstmen, source ethically and sustainably sources materials. We think that design has to reduce it’s impact on our planet.

Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2019 and beyond. 

  • Handmade
  • Natural Materials
  • Honest
  • Supportive to the communities
  • Timeless

 If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?
Your project should be unique in some way. It has to stand out. Choose pieces you invest in and pieces you can afford to spend less on. Budget should always accommodate quality and never buy something that you know won’t stand the test of time!

How important are The International Design & Architecture Awards?
The Awards have been celebrating and supporting the designers for 10 years. It is extremely important that our industry has an independent party collecting the projects and celebrating the hard work we all put in. It’s an industry led by passion and huge internal drive, and it’s incredibly important that the work with so much personal investment gets recognised.

What projects are you currently working on?
Most recently we have been appointed as a Lead FF&E designer for the luxury residential towers South Quay Plaza in Canary Wharf working alongside Foster+Partners as we deliver interiors for this prestigious development by Berkeley Homes. The studio will design all communal areas, such as lobbies, spas, pool, the highest bar in London, resident’s cinema, numerous roof terraces, cowering spaces, games rooms and more.

Together with the developer Pocket Living an idea was born to create Show Apartment that will celebrate local and British makers, artisan and artist which we have just completed. The studio has invited talented emerging and established craftsman that will exhibit their pieces in a beautifully curated space Pocket’s new development in Chiswick.

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
Based on the makers’ collaboration, the studio is developing a curated selection of furniture that will include mostly British makers which will be available online. Bergman & Mar’s Vision is to expand the delivery of honest and quality design across the globe to discerning clients and developers.

 Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:

Your most treasured possession?
My two girls (technically not my possessions, but it’s hard to choose material things over them

Your favourite holiday destination?
South Africa – for the variety, nature, great food & wine and best friends

Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?
Bambu Indah – a beautiful handmade bamboo resort in Bali with the most magnificent natural pools and view of the rice fields.

 Your favourite book, film & song?
Jacques Prévert’s  Paroles, film trilogy of Before Sunset, Before Sunrise, Before Midnight & favourite song everything by Damien Rice.

 Your favourite food and drink?
Italian all the way with Silent Pool Gin & Tonic

Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
Normally working. It never feels like work, it’s my passion and my hobby!

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
Artist! I love painting and sculpture. One day I will switch to this full time.

Bergman and Mar