Interview with Dmitry Kovalev dedicated to the 15th anniversary of AvKube

AvKube, a well-known design studio, has created more than 5,000 interiors over 14 years in the market. Dmitry Kovalev, General Director of AvKube Group of Companies, tells about the company’s achievements over the years of hard work and conquering new heights to please its customers.

- Dmitry Gennadievich, your company is a well-known business and trendsetter in professional interior design. What does the word ‘interior’ mean to you?

- Private and public interiors are two absolutely different things. Private interior is all about a person or a family. We need to get to know these people first. We need to see the future interior not only in the context of their everyday life, but also through the prism of their feelings, rhythm of their lives, goals, and ideas. Private interior is like a collage that shows the customer’s current standing and determines their future accomplishments. On the other hand, public interiors require a design studio to be a guru in industrial equipment, including ventilation, engineering, materials, and many more. Public interior involves the interests of a group of professionals. By creating a public interior, we help the customer bring their business to a whole new level. While private and public interiors incorporate two different practices, teams, and skillsets, we at AvKube are committed to attending to even the smallest details. It’s a challenging but interesting, professional, and intelligent task.

О дизайн студии Авкубе

- Let’s talk about being professional and intelligent! Who are your employees? Who are those people who can create a tailor-made image and put it into life?

- Our employees are our company’s eyes, hands, and thoughts. We are one. We apply Montessori method to our personnel, which means that every specialist does what they’re best at. Designers and architects are involved in creative activities. We see that they have a specific type of personality, and financial accounting is surely not their thing. At the same time, we have a financial department that can’t generate ‘creative interior ideas.’ A designer or an accountant can’t possibly know all about furniture, suppliers, logistics, and price quotes. These issues fall within the competence of our product procurement department. The same goes for construction with its engineering issues and complex units. Each of our employees is an expert in a specific field. This is the main principle we rely on. Project development requires involvement of at least 7 professionals. But we make sure that each of them does not work on more than four projects at the same time. Quality must not suffer. All our employees share our company’s values and fully understand the significance of each process in the operating cycle.

- An approach like that must make it hard to join your team, right?

- Indeed. We only employ the best! We don’t have a traditional personnel department. Like international companies, we have a recruitment and onboarding team that deals with recruiting, training, and onboarding new people. For example, at AvKube, a new employee gets down to work only after completing an introductory course on the company’s values and standards. We aim to enhance our employees’ competence through professional education programs and improving proficiency in the fields an employee is interested in (such as free English lessons, special trainings, etc). But we’re developing not only our skills. We help other people as well. On open days, art students and children from art schools can see us at work. During master classes, we tell the younger generation about a design project and how to implement it considering construction and product procurement issues. Furthermore, we have fun together. We visit museums, exhibitions, and theatres. Going forward helps us stay successful both in professional and personal life. Successful team is a reflection of the company and its management. I want to say ‘thank you’ to everyone – designers, architects, artists, accountants, managers, and senior executives – for building a successful, strong, stylish, and independent team. At, AvKube, my colleagues and I aim for higher goals.

- Here’s a tricky question. You can very well select and train your employees and improve your in-house work processes. But what about material suppliers and contractors? How can AvKube ensure high quality?

- It’s very simple. Doing business with suppliers and contractors is the same as working with employees: we only select the best. Our suppliers are our partners. For AvKube, a partner is a company that shares our professional values and can be trusted with our most valuable asset – our customers.

I personally select every single supplier, contractor, and manufacturer. Every outside supplier involved in the operating cycle is approved by me personally. Moreover, via CRM system each customer can see both our in-house employees and outside suppliers and contractors working on a project. Such an approach allows us to deliver high-quality services.

- Price is the reverse side of the coin, though. Meticulous and careful approach to selecting employees, partners, materials and services is a strive for perfection. And the customer has to pay for this perfection...

- While our services are not cheap, we save 30% (!) of our customers’ planned costs. How do we do that? We tailor the project to the client’s budget based on commercial offers from suppliers and contractors. We calculate all possible costs before getting down to work. This means that our customer knows in advance how much the entire project and each individual stage will cost them.

I know of no other Russian interior design company which would calculate the budget based on commercial offers as early as at design stage. All other design studios give a customer a rough estimate of costs. Furthermore, we know pricing strategies used by other market participants, see differences in collections and brands, and can tell a reseller with sky-high prices from a real manufacturer. These skills also help us save our customers’ money. We build integral and transparent relationships with our customers. Along with final financial reports after the project is completed, the customer is provided with interim reports on specific types of works. All stages of project implementation are transparent to the customer. The customer can stop any process or replace a contractor or designer. More importantly, we make sure that the project team have good interpersonal relationships with the customer. Our commitment to excellence allowed us to introduce payment by installments: instead of paying 100% in advance, the customer only pays 10% of design project price as the first installment.

- Dmitry, last year AvKube was distinguished with the highest award at the European Property Awards. Could you tell us about the award and what it means to you?

- European Property Awards is a part of the International Property Awards which have been held for almost 20 years now. At the final event in London, our interior won in the category ‘Interior Design Private Residence.’ Our designers managed to create a refined eclectic ensemble which reflected the taste of each member of the customer’s family. As a result of tireless and hard work, we delivered a balanced and cozy interior which brings together elements that seemed hardly matching at first. For us, an international award means recognition by the international designer and architect community. To win an international award and gain respect in the world of design and architecture, you need to work hard as a team of professionals, where each person is an expert in a specific field. You need to have refined taste, know all trendy products and be good at using them in an interior.

Moreover, you need to have in-depth understanding of both architectural traditions and new trends. The ability to listen to and address the customer’s needs is also vital to success. This award proves that AvKube is good at all these things!

- Almost 15 years is a respectable age for an international design company. It must be your big advantage…

- Many other designer companies have been operating in the market for as long as we have. But a beautiful cover often hides one contractor working at home or a tiny studio with two or three employees and freelancers. Unable to deliver a project complying with the highest standards, such companies pose a big risk to customers. At the same time, we have come a long way which you can trace not only on photos. AvKube is about indisputable facts, high-profile projects, real portfolio, offices both in Russia and abroad, and an extensive experience which plays a great role in the industry. Interior design, product procurement, and construction are art honed with time. And the older you get, the more proficiency and respect you gain.


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