News

23/06/14

Western names in the property market: fashion or necessity?

The projects designed by foreign architects in Russia include the Moscow Kremlin, the Cathedral of the Assumption, palaces in Peterhof and Tsarskoye Selo, the Bolshoi Theater, the Kremlin in Nizhniy Novgorod and many other magnificent buildings that form the architectural glory and pride of Russia. Experts of Barkli Corporation have analyzed why Russian developers are inviting Western design and architecture topliners today.

Foreign architects started working in the modern-day Russia less than 20 years ago. Englishman Norman Foster was among the first foreigners invited by the Government of Moscow. He worked on projects for renovation of the Rossiya Hotel, the Pushkin Museum, Crystal Palace in the Nagatinskaya Valley and a house in the form of an orange falling apart at the place of the Central House of Artists. However, these relations lead nowhere, as none of the projects was implemented. He was followed in his conquest of the capital by Dutchman Erick van Egeraat who designed the village of Barvikha Hills and Gorod Stolits towers in Moscow-City. However, he did not succeed in completing them, and the projects were finished by other architects.

By the start of the 2000s, projects that involved foreigners were quite rare: e. g. the building of Sovmortrans on Rakhmanovsky Lane that was designed, among others, by Austrian Patrick Leibetseder, Millennium House on Trubnaya Street designed by British James McAdam, the Atrium shopping mall on the Garden Ring that was designed by Altoon+Porter, a US architect firm, and some other companies. Then the financial crisis of 2008 burst out, which prevented many developers from implementing their plans involving foreign experts. Russian developers, did not stop looking for partner architects abroad.

Around 10% of residential projects in Moscow and in the Moscow Region involved foreign architects and designers, including 11 Stanislavskogo (involving London John McAslan+Partners), multi-occupancy projects Legenda Tsvetnogo and Gorod Stolits (designed by US NBBJ), Krasny Kit, a multi-occupancy property in the town of Mytishchi (designed by Dyer). However, in the premium residential property market most successful projects involving world-class stars have been implemented by Barkli Corporation. It was this company that actually stood behind the invitation of the best foreign professionals to Russia.

At present, Barkli is building a residential property on Ordzhonikidze Street: Barkli Residence designed by Robert Stern, a famous US architectural genius. His firm ranks 34th among the top 300 architect firms of the world. In total, he has implemented over 400 projects across 25 countries and 110 cities of Europe, Asia, and South and North Americas. Stern applies a unique approach to space optimization. While many architects start designing a building with façade, Stern first creates perfect apartment layouts for a comfortable life experience putting first the comfort of apartment owners. After that he fits them into the internal space of the building, and only then he starts working on its exterior. As a result, the entire floor area is used as efficiently as possible benefitting both developers, and customers. For instance, in apartments of Barkli Residence, 90% accounts for living rooms and only 10% for auxiliary rooms such as corridors and other areas where people spend the least time. Accordingly, apartment buyers do not have to pay a premium for unnecessary meters which results in considerable savings: more than $100-200 thousand. Moreover, thanks to Stern’s ingenious craftsmanship, the level of functionality, comfort and exquisite aesthetics in Barkli Residence’s apartments is much higher than in any other apartment of similar dimensions.

Apart from that, Barkli Corporation can boast a successful track record of relations with internationally renowned Western designers.Barkli Virgin House, a club house in Zachatyevsky Lane, was its first international project where a Russian firm was engaged for the architectural part, and a foreign professional, for design. The luxurious entrance lobbies, apartment halls, the territory surrounding the building, walkable roofs and interiors for 19 apartments and two penthouses were designed by Kelly Hoppen , a renowned British designer. The calm and aristocratic style of Kelly Hoppen wins you over with the harmony of its calculated combinations, textures and forms and is highly valued by the most prominent politicians, businessmen and artists. Her customers include the British royal family, Elton John, Gwyneth Paltrow, Donald Trump, Hilary Clinton, Melanie Griffith, and the Beckhams, while the creative achievements of Kelly were distinguished with multiple honorary awards of the highest level, including the Order of the British Empire awarded by Queen Elizabeth II. “I wished my first project in Russia to be a special one, so when we were suggested this place, it was as if my dream came true”, says Kelly. “Since it was one of Moscow’s high-end districts, the design was to fit the place. So, we created something exclusive and luxurious. It was the quintessence of Kelly Hoppen for yoo style.”

Barkli Park, a residential development on Sovetskoy Armii Street, was another successfully implemented project by Barkli Corporation involving a foreign expert. Philippe Starck, a cult French interior designer of interiors and consumer goods, was invited to take part in the project. An example of elegancy and minimalism, his style has no boundaries. Starck’s universal talent defeats the imagination. The torch for Winter Olympics 1992; Microsoft’s computer mouse; Louis Vuitton’s luggage bags; Thomson’s TV set; interiors of French President François Mitterand’s personal space: everything created by Starck embodies the art of design. He is masterful in designing both ordinary things – from tooth brushes to furniture, and architecture and design of the most fashionable high-end hotels and restaurants. They are built in the US, France, Japan, Italy, UK, Mexico, Australia, Turkey, Hong Kong, and in many other countries. While other designers choose between beauty and comfort, maestro Starck proves that design can be both beautiful and functional. “Rich people can afford extremely beautiful things. Our missions is to make their dream come true,” says Stark.

Analysts of Barkli Corporation believe that the number of projects in the property market involving Western architects and designers will be growing as we go forward. “Foreign experts bring the state-of-the-art global trends in architecture and design to Russia”, says Yekaterina Fonareva, Barkli Corporation’s Commercial Director. “When Western experience successfully adapts to the Russian circumstances, this results in a mutually beneficial “cultural exchange”. The architecture of Russian cities gets enriched with new unique buildings and facilities. This phenomenon was witnessed many times in the history: a number of things that form the cultural heritage of Russia were built by foreigners.”

The collaboration with Western stars of design and architecture helps developers make their projects more attractive from commercial standpoint. Apart from the opportunity for a higher added value, the name of an internationally recognized designer serves as an additional magnet that attracts affluent customers. For many high-income customers, buying a premium class apartment means prestige.

“For buyers, such property is attractive for three reasons: prestige, comfort and superb quality,” sums up Yekaterina Fonareva. “They get an opportunity to buy an apartment with interiors designed by an internationally renowned and fashionable designer at an average price for the premium property segment. If the customers invited a world-class star, the cost of design would be significantly higher. Affluent customers are attracted by the opportunity to buy residential property that was designed by internationally recognized professionals, the best of the best. For their work was recognized by the most demanding customers across the world, and their experience and names are a quality brand as they are.”

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