LRT’s “Stilius” programme features interior designer Dovilė Švilpienė for the first time about her career path.

The path to interior design was not a straight one, although I don’t feel that the internal changes were very radical – all my previous activities were united by the creativity gene. I have felt the need for creativity, whatever it may be – art, literature, music, dance – since I was very young. My intensive years in the Gymnasium for the Humanities meant that literature, as an oral art form, seemed to me at that time to be a field where I could fulfil myself. After entering Lithuanian philology, I devoted myself to my studies – after my bachelor’s and master’s studies, I entered the doctoral programme in literature, wrote my dissertation, and published scientific articles.

No matter how much I was involved in research and writing, I kept experiencing a sense of scarcity rising up inside me, often accompanied by the question of meaning – what is the point? What is the value of my activity? Pure literary scholarship is very selfish – it constantly takes but rarely gives back, writers’ works are at least reviewed, and literary scholars’ articles are at best quoted by students in their coursework.

Interior design is the complete opposite of creativity – you never feel alone – every idea, every day’s work is for specific people who enjoy it, who share their impressions, and who give me back the reward of attention and recognition, which becomes a source of inspiration again.

I made a radical leap into interior design about 8 years ago, when I got my first commercial commission. I was instantly hooked on interior design, and I felt a great responsibility towards the people who trusted me and put their homes in my hands. I was constantly thinking about the spaces to be furnished, the combinations of colours and textures, the original design of furniture.

As I took on more and more interior design projects, I began to feel a great need for professional drafting, 3-D design and visualisation skills. I think I had just finished a 10-year phase of education and jumped almost without a break into new sciences, because all the creative impulse had to be translated into the technical language of computer graphics, structural engineering, architectural design. The innovative professional tools I have acquired allow me not only to create, but also to translate to my clients a photographically accurate vision of their future interiors, to fulfil the most complex technical and architectural requests.

The most important thing for me is to make the people who live in my interiors feel the fullness of being. Trust and collaboration are very important – it’s especially important for me to feel what makes people happy, in what kind of environment they are relaxed and happy. My interiors start with a long conversation: I find out about the expectations, inclinations and needs of the future inhabitants, I ask them about their hobbies and lifestyle. I ask them to tell me how they dream of feeling in their own home – do they like ideal cleanliness and clutter-free surfaces, or on the contrary, an environment full of accessories and travel souvenirs? Do you have artworks, other things dear to your heart that need to find a place in your new home? Interior design for me is about the individual elements that make up the space that is most suitable for the people who live there.

I like to work with unique, unconventional architecture, spaces with exceptional volumes and structures – I see all the features that come out of the standard framework as an advantage, as the uniqueness of the space – and that’s why the greatest satisfaction comes from realising such a project, from the realisation of the ideas, which make the strange, narrow, high or curved rooms look like a harmonious home.

I am very demanding of myself – I can’t even imagine presenting a client with a project that hasn’t been fully thought out, perfected down to the smallest detail, and I have a well-reasoned explanation for every decision I make. When designing interior visualizations, I represent real surfaces and finishing materials, and I draw furniture with precise dimensions and proportions, having already thought through the production process in advance – which is why I often feel a sense of moaning when I complete a project, as if I have been here many times before.

I consider it a great success that the variety of projects prevents me from turning into a narrow-minded designer who creates interiors in a specific style and with a similar footprint, perhaps because I am also enthusiastic about taking on unconventional projects that require specific knowledge, such as the reconstruction of a spa pool with a spa zone.

I do all the stages of an interior design project myself, from the technical drawings to the 3D visualisations – it’s very important for me to feel that I have absolute control, so that I don’t have to make any mistakes or inaccuracies. Interior design for me is about continuous development, broadening my horizons, the need to be interested in global interior design trends, to understand the historical development of art and interior design, and to understand innovations in the fields of materials, construction and finishing technologies. Every year I try to participate in the major interior design exhibitions in Paris and Milan, so the geography and nature of my business trips have changed considerably, remembering the dark archives of science in Warsaw.