Interview with designer Erna Berger Moise

1. First of all, what does it mean to be a designer?

It means having finished a design college: Arts or Architecture. Here you can study this artistic approach: Interior Design, Textile Design, Fashion Design or Scenography.
You can’t talk about this field of art as a hobby, you can’t claim that all of a sudden you decided to become a designer because you like it, and to ignore the required training. Unfortunately, this ammateur attitude has created a lot of imposture in our country, since the interior design has become fashionable. After this, design requires a lot of passion, creativity, individuality, documentation and ambition to finish your projects.


2. How did your story start? When did you realize that you wanted a career in this field?

I graduated from „Nicolae Grigorescu” Beaux-Arts Academy, Textile Design department in Bucharest, after previously studying, for 4 years, at the „Shenkar” Arts and Textile Design College in Israel.
The moment when I decided I wanted to approach the interior design field was 1997, when I received the suggestion to design an high-end restaurant that we named „Basilicum”, the restaurant being ours. I admit that, at first, I was nervous, because it was a first, but very soon I was overwhelmed and fascinated by this field, very closely related to my field of study. I created a theme, a name, a logo and the visual identity of the space, and I designed an avantgarde restaurant that looks more like a museum, recreating a bygone time and a particular state of mind. The project remained close to my heart. I has an extraordinary professional satisfaction and the appreciation of the public, result that I would never have expected. Thus, my preoccupation and implication continued in a natural, organic way.

3. From where do you get your inspiration?

They are very varied, depending on the nature of the project, on the requirements of the clients and on freedom of expression that is allowed in each project. Thus, sometimes I choose a theme that has been inspired from a period of time, from an artistic current or, on the contrary, from different structures and textures from nature. The inspiration can come from a colour pallette that you settle on, or from the complementarity of some colours that you admire in nature, but you can also get inspiration from a painting that fascinates you or from the different trends and influences of modernity.

4. What is your opinion regarding the evolution of Romaninas? Have they changed their mind regarding interior design in the past 10 years?

There is, for sure, an evolution, mainly because they acknowledged the fact that, when you want to design your home, you need a professional, you don’t work on your own, but this wasn’t the case 10 years ago. The expectations of the clients also changed; they are more informed regarding the main tendencies of interior design in other countries with tradition. Obviously, along with the possibility to accede to quality here in Romania, the number of projects increased progressively. If there is something I feel sad about is that you don’t get enough freedom of expression as a designer yet, limitation that can alter the final result of the design.

5. What’s the project that is close to your heart?

Basilicum are the projects close to my heart, because here I could create the atmosphere that represented me best and that reflected my spirit entirely, because there hasn’t been an exterior leader. Another project, completely different, in another register, was the Draft FCB headquarters. Here, I also had complete freedom to express a surreal visual narrative, a manifesto that hasn’t lost its avantgarde, „statement” spirit after all these years.

6. From which part of the country do you get the most projects?

The majority of the projects come from Bucharest, but I admit I didn’t quite want projects elsewhere, given the fact that we have many interesting ones here. This hasn’t stopped me from having projects, for example, in Barcelona.

7. What types of people request your help?

I have a very heterogeneous clientele, Romanians and foreigners equally, young or mature people that wish special, unconventional designs, projects with a strong artistic character, complex multidisciplinary works that combine daring ideas with high-end design and mural painting techniques.

8. What do you do when you get a new project? Are you involved only in the interior design aspect?

If we’re talking about an interior design work, the approach is a complete and complex one, solving all the aspects in detail. If we’re talking about an architecture project, obviously we finish the project taking into consideration all the aspects, until the final phase.

9. From the internationally renowned designers, who’s your favourite?

Mark Newson

10. From your point of view, what do young designers need today in order to succeed?

They need innovative ideas, tastefulness, attitude and personality, and a lot of perseverence in sustainting and materializing their own interior design ideas.

11. What would you advise the young Romanian designer, in order for him to become a professional?

They should be very well documented in this vast field of work, they should know the history and evolution of design, the styles of classical and modern interiors.
They should also study the renowned designers from all periods of time, that influenced the contemporary art. They should relate to the general design and to the interior design from the countries with a past and a tradition worthy of study and admiration, like Italy, France, Spain, Austria or the Scandinavian countries. Unfortunately, we, after all the evolution on the last years, are still very far away from the level at which design is made abroad. I therefore advise the young designers to have guiding marks and standards from these countries, and to not let themselves be influenced by vernacular models! It would be an immense self-limitation. I never related to anything that went on around me, I tried to be myself, to have my own vision, being aware of the high level at which people work and think abroad.


Arrangements made by Erna Berger Moise