Anastacia grew up in a military family traveling around Russia. Her grandfather was a famous engineer in Belarus, who inspired her to pursue architecture. Her parents claim that the first time she knew she was going to be an architect was at the age of 5.
I've always liked to look and study my grandpa’s drawings. They were full of tiny details. Unfortunately my grandpa passed away very young during a car accident. It really affected me, so I decided to follow his steps after all and continue his journey. I studied in Voronezh State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering for Architecture and Design for 6 years.
After working in Russia for 7 years, she moved to Dubai to broaden her experience and joined a consultancy working primarily on restaurant projects. She then moved to a design and build company focusing on corporate and hospitality projects.
How would you describe your personality?
I’m truly an introvert. Sometimes I can look too serious and unemotional but people who know me very well know that actually I’m very kind and a funny person who can make people laugh and smile quite often.
What has been your biggest challenge? How did you overcome it?
I have moved from place to place a lot during my life and my biggest challenge was to be apart from my friends and family. Especially when there was a time with no internet or mobile phones and the only source of contact was mail. I don’t think I will ever be able to overcome this but thank god with this modern technology like skype and face time you can be closer to everyone and the boundaries are no longer a problem.
How would you define your design style? What do you think has shaped the way you design?
People say you can always define a designer's signature aesthetic. I’m always trying to work in different styles but keep the same ergonomic and proportion principals. I believe, the key to successful design is right shapes and an ergonomically well done space.
Top 5 favourite architects / designers. And why?
1. Santiago Calatrava
2. Zaha Hadid
3. Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli
4. Antoni Gaudí
5. Le Corbusier
These are the most talented people, and were designing beyond their time creating extraordinary solutions, which had no prior examples in the world by the time they build it. All of them were creating the future in reality. Their work continue to inspire us even today -with its complexity and uniqueness.
Name a mentor or someone who impacted your career and life. And how?
I was lucky to meet many talented people who have shared their knowledge with me during my design path and to name just one would be unfair. I would say all I know is the effort of people I met in my life. People who supported me and believed in me as an artist.
Is there something you would do differently if you ran a design school? What do you think there should be more emphasis of in design schools?
I’m really glad I got to learn design in my university. The only thing I would do is keep it as noncommercial as possible and get more support from the government to get better salaries for teachers. Because what they are doing is a really hard job.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I still havn't lost the ability to get inspired by the small things in life - like ripples on the water or the smell of Sunday morning grass (not in Dubai though).
Talk about a time you failed at something or thought you did – but how it molded you in some way.
I learned that everyone can make mistakes, what matters is not to quit at this moment but to keep working to achieve a better result.
A quote you live by… or a quote you love.
"Design creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future."
I strongly believe in this.
The hardest part of your job is….
Do not lose passion no matter what. Sometimes life will put you in the position where everything goes gray – it is at this time when you need to protect this light inside you and keep creating great things.
The part of the design process you love most.
I like all of it, except for one thing.
The part of the design process you least like.
And this is numbers and reports- I truly believe I was born to create beautiful things, and reports is not one of them.
Do you have a dream project? What is it?
I want to create the typical school project that can be easily built in poor regions. Because I believe the key to prosperity and peace is knowledge.
If there is one thing you want people to know or be inspired by from your story – what is it?
I spent my childhood in small military bases deep inside the woods of Russia. I studied in simple military schools playing with rocks and flowers. I studied architecture in a city many people have never heard of. Now I work in one of the most progressive cities in the world creating beautiful designs together with a team of designers from around the world. I believe, I achieved this only because I was always following my passion and I believed in myself. With this story, I want to say that nothing is impossible in this world. Just follow you dream with passion and faith. Only you know what is best for you.
Are there any other outlets you express creativity? How did that come about?
I did a course of ink graphics in university. I swore that after I finish it I would never ever take the ink in my hands again. It was hard for me to draw all those Corinthian order shapes and shadows. But after I managed to finish this course I liked it so much, I started to make ink portraits as a hobby.
What makes you happy?
My family gives me power, inspires me and makes me happy every day.
What is your morning routine before you begin work?
I like to prepare breakfast in the morning. It wakes up my creativity, and provides me with power for the full day.
What music do you listen to when you work? (If you listen to music)
I might be the only person in the world who prefers to work in silence.
What are you most excited about for what’s coming next?
I’m very excited for the expo 2020, because it will be my first expo that I will be able to visit myself.
What is an important lesson you’ve learnt over the years as a designer that you would like to share with other designers?
I've learnt that you should never stop learning. The minute you think you know everything – life would prove that you are actually don't.
What is the difference working in Russia and in the UAE? What do you prefer?
For me it is really hard to compare because this like is to compare to worlds – one has a thousands of years story and other one is just born. It is very different and yet similar, like a baby and old man. Therefore, in each you would find good and bad. I prefer good team, and good team has no place or nationality. It is all about creativity and passion.
Anastacia's story tell us that sometimes circumstances may not work in our favour - but if we choose to follow the path we set out for ourselves, with drive and passion, ultimately we find ourselves in the life we wanted to be living. As an architect and designer, Anastasia's work experience spans more than 8 years. She has conceptualized and implemented numerous projects and hopes to be able to see many more come to life in Dubai and all over the UAE. One meticulous detail at a time.
Written and edited: Kamsin Mirchandani