Trust the expertise, talent, and creative ideas of Bulgarian architectural companies
One of the funny national psychological traits that Bulgarians often joke about among themselves is the unshakeable confidence that they know everything. Many people believe to be more informed than the experts and think they don’t even need advice. That is why they often treat themselves with homemade potions instead of prescribed medicines, repair their car engines themselves, and place bathroom tiles with the help of internet video tutorials.
The common Soviet-style residential buildings built during Communism and subsequently “upgraded” by their inhabitants are the visual testimony of a distinctive regional DIY style. In 2022, they look like patchwork in which everyone has added something of their own – a bright-coloured piece of heat insulation, a glazed terrace, a tinplate awning. Recently, we can also see homemade solar panels on the facades, boldly implemented in response to rising electricity prices.
The final result only proves how important the role of professionals is in shaping the environment we inhabit and why the services of architects, planners, and designers are so vital. Mostly thanks to them, the architectural appearance of Bulgarian cities has acquired a new, contemporary look, with beautiful residential buildings, modern public spaces, and business buildings of an impressive character.
The real estate market in Bulgaria is among the few sectors that have not stopped developing and growing over the years and were not affected by the Covid-19 crisis. Demand continues to grow and supply is becoming more diverse and of higher quality. Beach and mountain hotels of all sizes are being constructed, business buildings with futuristic designs, high-end residential complexes, boutique single and multi-family homes, outdoor and indoor public spaces with different functions and features. Interior design, whether of an office building, a restaurant, or a private home, is increasingly entrusted to architectural studios that make the most of each space, transforming it into a beautiful and healthy environment to inhabit.
In Bulgaria, there are many professionals in the field of architecture. In response to high demand and serious competition, they are becoming more flexible, innovative in the solutions they offer, and bold enough to experiment with their own approach and distinctive style. Some of them are graduates of top-class Western universities, where they had the opportunity to be in contact with world-renowned architects. Others have gained vast experience and expertise, revealing their talents and skills not only in Bulgaria but also abroad. The projects of Bulgarian architects are winning national and international competitions, and their quality and vision meet and sometimes surpass global standards in the field. They are the people who know how to realise a project from A to Z, assisting clients in all steps of the process – from the sketch, through the administrative procedures, to the tiniest detail in the interior.
Market research based on the building permits issued in 2021 demonstrates that the construction of residential buildings will continue to grow significantly in 2022, with most projects expected to be realised in Sofia and the district. New residential buildings rely on clean design, maximum use of space, and communicative location. Green areas and access to open spaces are becoming a must, while sustainable materials and energy efficiency are the focus of architects, engineers, and builders.
Many architectural studios are now using BIM technology, through which a 3D model of the building is created, containing information about every detail – from the building materials to the specific products to be used. The technology provides the option of constant update of the information, lowering the construction cost of any project.
New residential buildings are distinguished by a clear balance between functionality and vision, convenient location, and good distribution of spaces. The options vary according to the requirements of clients – from spacious two-bedroom apartments and penthouses to more compact homes and studios.
The offering in corporate and retail space is also diversified. Newly constructed buildings are designed to meet the changing rules of the environment. Good architectural companies are aware of all legal regulations for new building construction, and some of them are partnering with major construction companies and material suppliers. Thanks to this, they can greatly facilitate the process, controlling each of the execution stages.
Some of the architectural studios, featured in this issue of Vagabond, have vast experience and many completed projects in the field of hotel design. Contemporary hotel projects are usually on a smaller scale but with more individuality. Modern trends in architecture and the mandatory idea of fitting the object into its surroundings are followed. The luxurious feel and exquisite design approach distinguish those accommodations whose value is highly appreciated by visitors.
Single-family and multi-family houses
The Covid-pandemic made us all dream of more space and closer contact with nature. Since the 2020 lockdown, the demand for houses, as well as their prices, have risen significantly. Closed in their homes for a long time, people felt the limitations of standard city living and many decided to invest in homes or holiday properties located outside the city.
Architectural studios are increasingly working on single-family and multi-family house projects, complexes close to nature, spacious boutique homes with vast green areas, offering an impressive view. The aim of these projects is to create a balanced presence and harmonious relationship with the natural environment. Quality sustainable materials and innovative technologies are used and solutions are sought to maximise energy efficiency.
Design impresses with nice proportions and skillful combination of materials such as stone, wood, glass. Spaces are bright and airy, creating a feeling of warmth, comfort, and tranquility.
As with the construction of buildings, landscape architecture is of great importance here. A building never exists isolated from its environment, and the more meaningfully and optimally the outdoor spaces, such as gardens and courtyards, are shaped, the more complete the overall look is.
Not only psychologists but also architects are convinced that the environment affects its inhabitants on different levels. The way in which spaces are constructed has not only a visual but also a psychological effect and contributes to our overall health – the idea of an interior is far from limited to its practical and aesthetic function.
The architectural approach to space design is the foundation upon which any quality interior is built and which allows for a meaningful visual upgrade. A well-conceived project can transform even undersized apartments into functional spaces providing optimum comfort.
Тhis is where sustainable materials that create a healthy environment play a key role. The successful combination of colours, textures, and shapes adds character to spaces. Carefully selected details become accents that reflect the individuality of the people inhabiting the place.
In good interiors, the rule that less is more applies to everything but light. It is an essential factor in the way a space will look and the sensations it will bring.
A thoughtful combination of all these elements can only be achieved by a professional who sees the opportunities a space provides and can make the most of them.
Among the new home interior requirements is the presence of a workspace that allows remote working.
Although the pandemic has transformed the common lifestyle, allowing people to work from home, the time of offices has not passed. They are simply changing their form and functionality. On the one hand, corporate office buildings are increasingly expanding their purpose to include not only workspaces, but also dining areas, sports facilities, and places to socialise.
Co-working spaces are also becoming popular, providing the option to rent a part of a shared office. The great interest in them proves once again that working people need socialisation and a workspace a little further away from the living room.
In addition to responding meaningfully to corporate identity and values, office interiors have another function – to inspire teams and motivate positive attitudes and productivity. Bulgarian designers are meeting the high demands of international companies in the country and are working on projects not only in Bulgaria but also abroad, proving their expertise, skills, and talent.
They say that everyone is the architect of their own life. However, not everyone can be the architect of their own home or office. And they don’t need to be. The professionals we feature in this issue of Vagabond are always ready to design and fulfill the dreams of their clients.
Quality, ethics, and satisfied clients are the focus of Skica Studio (www.skicastudio.com, + 359 882 925 586, firstname.lastname@example.org), which never changes. The studio offers the full spectrum of services – urban planning procedures, architecture, and interior design while focusing on the specific needs and preferences for functionality, shape, and style of each investor. It has built a portfolio of signature projects in the fields of office, commercial, residential and industrial design, including special purpose buildings and master planning. The company is following both local and international standards in project management, concept development, and building design, providing a complex feasibility study of the project’s potential and architecture that matches clients’ and market requirements. The successful cooperation with some of the best professionals on the Bulgarian market – engineers, investors, consultants, managers, and brokers, is a priceless advantage in the realisation of each project.
The design of extraordinary high-quality buildings of any scale is the mission followed by Blueprint Architects (Sofia, 11 Yanko Sofiyski Voyvoda St, +359 889 642 497, +359 883 362 297, www.blueprintarchitects.eu). The philosophy of the architecture company is based on honest communication, uncompromised quality, realistic budgeting, and control of every single stage in the execution process. The team finishes a project only after they are sure the best has been done, thus gaining the trust of diverse clients – from private owners to the biggest investment companies. Implementing a BIM design approach, the company saves time and money and prevents problems before they have occurred in the real environment.
The main activity of the architectural bureau Bularch Ltd. (Sofia, 10 Bogatitsa St, floor 4, ap.12, +359 2 865 737 9, www.bularch.net), founded in 1999 by architect Boyan Zahariev, is the design of all kinds of spaces of diverse scale – from interior solutions of houses to residential and public buildings. The company is a leader in the implementation of large-scale projects in Bulgaria, among which are the buildings of Festа Holding, Anel Hotel, City General, etc. The company provides high quality, propriety, competitive offers, accuracy in performance, and loyalty to the client. The young and ambitious team is distinguished by high professionalism, thorough approach, and creativity. Cooperation with the largest companies specialised in construction structures, plumbing, electrical installations, etc., allows the architectural bureau to offer a complete package of design services.
Finding the best solution for each client, Architectural Studio Tehnopol (Sofia, Druzhba 2, Tsarigradski Complex, bl.283, phone +359 878 820 106, www.tehnopol.bg) established in 2009, has now realised over 800 projects of all scales – from residential buildings to infrastructure projects of great public importance. The company offers feasibility studies, investment design, consultancy during the construction process, building regularisation, and representation of the client before the competent authorities until all necessary permits are obtained. The founders of Architectural Studio Tehnopol, architect Lidiya Poluhina, and engineer Vladimir Poluhin believe that research and study, experience, and teamwork are key to the realisation of any investment project. Care for the client is at the heart of the overall service, which the company offers to make the process easy and prevent possible bureaucratic complications. Responding to new trends in real estate market demand, the company is currently focusing on houses and boutique residential building design.
Proektta Studio (Sofia, 2 Louis Eyer St, +359 889 317 381, +359 889 301 111, www.proektta.com) is a joint venture of architects Tanya Mitakeva and Andrey Arnaudov, whose professional paths crossed and grew into a fruitful partnership. The result of this synergetic collaboration is remarkable, and their projects have been awarded prizes in the Building of the Year architectural competition. The studio's focus is on high-end detached houses, with definitive design, fitting into the context. Recognisable in terms of style yet distinct, the studio's signature projects cannot go unnoticed, regardless of their scale or purpose.
The pursuit of comfort, usability, and individualistic flair is at the heart of VA Studio's work (Sofia, 67 Prof. Tsvetan Lazarov Blvd, +359 888 423 887, www.va-studio.bg). The modern look is achieved through the skillful combination of classic approach, contemporary materials, and the specific desires of each client. The beautiful and functional spaces, created with attention to every detail, reflect the spirit of their inhabitants. The studio brings together the experience, creativity, and professionalism of two generations of architects to design and realise office, home, and gym interiors; create detached houses and boutique buildings; refurbish and renovate existing structures. The team works with reliable subcontractors and oversees every stage of the project’s realisiation, ensuring quality execution and flawless result.
DENEF Studio (+359 877 848 407, www.da-denevarchitecture.blogspot.com) was founded in 2015 by architect Mariyan Denev. The studio’s style outstands with bold solutions, an innovative approach, and the sense of shapes and lines from the future. The company’s portfolio includes the design of houses and buildings, outdoor and indoor spaces, interior and exterior of bars and clubs. One of the distinctive buildings created by architect Denev is the multifunctional complex "Impulse". Located in an industrial area in Vidin, near the railway line, the building combines the functions of a hotel, restaurant, and a discotheque. The geometric approach used is a purposeful counterpoint to the environment, creating a sense of abstraction and а visual connection to the high-speed trains of the future and the trace they leave on the railway track.
Timeless spaces, precise details, and a sense of uniqueness and harmony – that’s what the interiors of Lago Design architectural studio (Sofia, 18 Yantra St, +359 882 908 669, www.lagodesign.bg) look like. The studio’s missiom is to provoke and create Haute Culture in the environment that we inhabit. Created in 2003 by architect Lyuba Dobreva and engineer Gergin Aleksandrov, the studio started its activity with public and residential spaces interior design and went on with detached houses design, planning, and execution of wooden facades, and furniture and interior details production. Lago Design's finished projects impress with an architectural approach to construction and bespoke elements created to fit harmoniously into the overall vision of a space. The creative impulse of the authors and the imagination that knows no limits can turn any interior into a unique piece of art that enriches and provokes emotions.
Determined to follow their own vision and inspiration, two young architects founded a small studio in the uneasy 2010 year. Today, Cachè Atelier (www.cacheatelier.net) is a leader in the area of office interiors, partnering with many of the big international companies that operate in Bulgaria. Their interior projects have been constantly awarded and ranked at the top of global design charts. The studio has completed projects not only in Bulgaria but also in Austria, Spain, and Dubai. Individual solutions, the skill to experiment, and to achieve an excellent balance between functionality and vision are the guiding lines in the work of the team. The studio’s works are so impressive that they have set a sustainable standard in the way office spaces are built in Bulgaria. The founders of Cachè Atelier believe that an architect's job is to create an environment where people feel good, are productive, and smile – this is the effect achieved in every space they have created.
Focused on modern landscape architecture, Landscape Design Studio (Sofia, 64 Patriarh Evtimiy Blvd, phone: +359 2 73 48 14, +359 896 72 48 14, www.LandscapeDesignStudio.eu) offers harmonious, attractive and sustainable solutions in the landscape design. Driven by the "А Sense of Nature" slogan, the studio’s team develops customised sustainable solutions for each project, whether it's a large city park, residential complex green area, or house courtyard. The landscape design projects stand out for their attractive vision and reflection of the historical and geographical characteristics of the site, through which beautiful, functional, and quality outdoor spaces with their own identity are created. Spaces, designed by the studio, bring a sense of nature, attract people and become a source of health, life, and pleasure. Services provided by the studio inlcude a wide range of activities in landscape architecture, urban planning, and design. They offer a balanced solution in terms of ecology and geographic characteristics, architecture, and environment.