Behind each project of the prestigious architectural and interior design bureau, there is the ambition to faithfully transcribe the personality and tastes of the owners. There is also the desire to place the work in timelessness with the idea of passing on a precious heritage to his descendants, fulfilled with emotion, a mirror of your life. In the middle of the happy few, ALTER EGO Project Group is a sesame towards the ideal house. Forbes shares its coup de coeur and spoke with the co-founders, Julia D. Lantieri, also CEO, and Vyacheslav Labzin, creative director.
Forbes: Throughout the years, your company has been awarded by many prestigious design awards, and in the past months, most of them were taken by a project on the Cote d'Azur. In this very competitive environment, how do you experience this recognition?
We are happy that our projects have received such a high recognition from the professional community. This is certainly the merit of our strong international team, that performs as a well-coordinated reliable mechanism, even under very trying for the whole world circumstances. Our award-winning project on the Cote d'Azur is an example of successful synergy when the wishes of the Client and their willingness for innovative ideas coincided with our creativity and experience in the realization of unique and complex turnkey projects.
Forbes: What else makes your company stand out from others?
Our clients. Each our client, either developer or private customer, came to us with some incredible ideas and tasks which in the existing practice had no analogues or ready-made solutions. How come? We don’t know, whether we’re drawn to them or other way round, it’s hard to tell. But such a path of 20 years, at the very edge, at the highest level has developed and perfected a mechanism that “does not sink in water and does not burn in fire”.
Forbes: And what is so special about this mechanism?
First and foremost, our architectural or interior design concepts always hit the customer’s wishes on the first try. Sounds strong, but there is no other way to start working on a complex, unique project. It’s not a miracle or luck, this is our duty, we must do our best to hear the client and understand him properly: we need to establish a trusting and comfortable relationship. Quiet often clients don’t have time to go into details, decoding their thoughts, they are not obliged to know and apply correct terms. This part of the mechanism is the most human, perceptual, when the customer becomes the center of your attention.
Forbes: When we are dealing with a demanding clientele of aesthetes which is monopolized by business, what is the recipe to enter the minds of these people to match with their requirements and artistic sensibility?
There are simple ingredients: experience, good education, wide vision, and most importantly – passion for what you do. When a master loves his work, a person who comes to him will always feel it. Accurate hitting the client's wishes on the first try (sometimes even before he manages to finalize them in his head) means that an invisible connection has been found, a person has been heard and understood, and understood not only at the conceptual level, but at the level of further interaction - we already know which project timeline to build, which team will be most effective, which contractors will be able to meet the client's expectations, and much more. So, the plan will be formed with the client at the center and considering his ability to spend time on this project.
Forbes: This is the first step. After laying all these pillars and foundations: what challenges you the most?
Indeed, when it comes the time for materialization, it comes the times for challenges! So, the next fundamental element of our mechanism is a backup. We always have not only plan B, but also plan C, just like in planes, all important systems there are double-insured: if the main system is off, the spare comes into action, the spare is off, the one that insures it is activated. Of course, we’re not responsible for saving lives, but in our work the breach of deadlines is unacceptable, and unfortunately there’s always something that goes off.
Implementing architectural and interior design projects is one of the most complex processes, as hundreds of thousands of small bricks, made of creative search, constructive solutions, applied technologies and materials, must fit each in their place at a certain time. Does this happen without a hitch? Only in fairy tales:)) The more unique is the project, the fewer standard elements it contains, the higher is the risk that something will go wrong. In such a project, exclusive materials may run out at the most inappropriate moment and the least problem if they are crafted by man, but if created by nature and no supplies left… In a bespoke project, some of the contractors are rare specialists, few not only in the particular country, but worldwide, and they may have some unforeseen situations, and it is not so easy to replace them. Not to mention the classic obstacles: bureaucratic, logistical, climatic, etc.
And the delay of one brick increases the delay of following bricks, not in arithmetic, but in geometric progression. That’s why we’re so scrupulous and always develop plans B and C together with plan A.
Forbes: On what essential aspect do you never compromise despite the pressure of timing?
Quality control! This is one of the key that drives our mechanism. Of course, everyone has it, but the difference is in the amount of time and human resources allocated for this purpose, and ours is the highest. Quality control for us is an investment in the project success. One shouldn’t save on it: the phrase “a miser pays twice” perfectly illustrates the possible consequences. All professionals in our industry know that the quality and aesthetics of façade part, which sees the client entering his new home, depends on whether the layers behind this façade, hidden from the client's eyes, were designed with millimetric precision and impeccably executed.
Even the smallest flaw or compromise in the choice of materials and technologies will come out at the final stage and can spoil not only the general impression of the client, who was so impatient to see the result, but also the quality of his future life in this house. Besides the total control at all stages, the quality of project implementation is also affected by the selection of suppliers and contractors. And our 20 years of experience in complex bespoke projects enabled us to obtain an impressive pool of serious, reliable, highly professional, rare contractors.
A very important point, our know-how, so to speak, is the constant search for new suppliers and contractors, not because there’s something wrong with the old ones, but in order to be able to implement plans B and C, and not to be totally dependent on existing partners. It’s very important to be free in your maneuvers, this allows you to find the most rational solutions and save the client's resources.
Forbes: Anticipation sometimes collides with the unknown…How do you compose with it?
Our international team is formed not only with talented and creative designers and architects, but also with accurate and reliable managers, who are responsible for making it work like a Swiss watch mechanism. A close look at the elements of our work mechanism reveals that they are all aimed at making the dreams of our customers come true and saving the most valuable resource, their time.
Forbes: Tell us about the most interesting project you are working on now.
I can’t single out just one project as the most interesting and important for us. Among new directions for the company’s development, we could highlight the Gulf countries. And especially we’re focused on Saudi Arabia since the region is quickly developing due to the reforms carried out within Vision 2030 including spheres of tourism and hospitality. Our deep knowledge and many years of experience in private premium sector are highly demanded by hotel developers, allowing them to embody the principles of unique comfort and exclusivity in commercial hospitality projects.
Due to the change of travel conditions, that we are witnessing now, people’s requirements for a hotel are also changing, as they often have to spend more time there. So, new boutique hotels more often make use of the experience of bespoke residential construction, creating the most comfortable and thoughtful living conditions for their guests. And we are very pleased and excited to cooperate with developers in this industry.
Forbes: It is interesting to observe that despite the pandemic, the hospitality giants are continuing to invest and open up (Bvlgari Hotel in Paris, Six Senses Ibiza, The Peninsula London…). How ALTER EGO Project Group intend to play a role in this dynamic ecosystem?
Since for the last 20 years we specialize in creation of large private projects, reflecting the smallest details of our clients’ lifestyle and preferences, we can say that we know exactly what a guest of a premium hotel needs to feel truly comfortable even being far from home. So, to the hospitality brands focused on an individual approach in their projects, we are ready to assist as experts in the residential field.
Forbes: At last, what advice would you give to our readers who are interested in your company?
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