YoUAre Design: how Ukrainian architects are reinventing their future


Interviste, YoUAre Design, Katerina Avtonomova,

Life changed dramatically in Ukraine on 24 February. Ukrainians are constantly having to overcome obstacles to live their everyday lives. Our point of view is always oriented towards architecture, and we believe the best way to express our great empathy and solidarity with the Ukrainian people is to describe how a group of professionals has reinvented itself and found a new way of working, in the hopes of a better future.

YoUAre Design: how Ukrainian architects are reinventing their future

YoUAre Design, with “UA” written in the colours of the Ukrainian flag to establish a direct connection with the country, brings together a group of highly qualified design and architecture professionals. We talked to Katerina Avtonomova, coordinator of YoUAre Design, about what they are doing.
Katerina Avtonomova, how did YoUAre Design come about, and what do you do?

After the initial difficulties when the war broke out, I started thinking about how I could carry on with my life, and work has always played a very important role in my life. I knew a lot of studios and architects and saw that all these talented professionals were without work, and all that know-how was going to waste. Plus I saw families that didn’t even know one another before helping each other, people from other countries opening up the doors of their homes to refugees, getting to know each other and becoming friends. I asked myself whether this kind of experience could be transferred to architectural studios: whether distant studios could virtually open their doors and work with Ukrainian studios. And in view of my experience with the products of the Iris Ceramica Group, and how important it was to talk about them so that architects could be aware of the qualities and benefits of these materials, I realised that Ukrainian architects also needed other people to get to know them, to talk about themselves and present their know-how. What better way to do this than to work together, speaking the language of architectural design? YoUAre Design is a network of studios willing to share their know-how, to work on architecture, design, 3D modelling and furniture projects.

I took a look at your web site https://youare.design/, and when I watched the video I was pleasantly surprised by an aspect of your presentation, a detail which is not negligible, but is definitely a very pragmatic, constructive aspect. What you are proposing to do is not just offering highly qualified services for other architectural studios. I believe you want to "plant seeds", that is, establish new contacts and partnerships with other studios and consolidate existing relationships, in view of the future reconstruction of the country when, as we all hope, the Ukrainians will be able to go back home and resume their work and their lives in peace.

Being able to start working again regularly is definitely our short-term goal, but we’re also interested in setting up partnerships with studios all over the world to share the know-how of our architects and studios. The partnerships we have set up will play a key role in the future reconstruction of Ukraine. The studios and companies with which we have created and shared projects will be our potential interlocutors in the reconstruction of the country we will be working on in the years to come.

We at Floornature publish architecture and design projects, and we sincerely hope that the entire staff of YoUAre Design will soon be able to talk about the projects they have built in Ukraine.

Agnese Bifulco

(01-20) images courtesy of 33BY Architecture
(21-24) images courtesy of Arkush Bureau


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