Best Interior Designers from Germany: Gregor Drobnic from Otto von Berlin – Gregor Drobnic is an interior designer and architect based in Berlin and the founder of the prestigious Otto Von Berlin. Gregor has been in the design industry over the last 15 years, working on several interior set and event design projects in Germany, Eastern Europe, and Balkan. His brand was conceived for creative spaces, offering a unique combination of ideas and services for a perfect home or public space. He is customer-focused, interweaving the space with creative approaches, functional visualizations, passionate perspective junkie, and a unique urban style lover. His special talent lies in personalizing visual ideas to transform people’s dreams into a personal space, his challenges are transforming a basic space, into a visual and functional eye-catcher.
Get to know more about this amazing interior designer!
Best Interior Designers: How did you get involved in the interior design Industry?
Gregor Drobnic: I think I was 5 years old, we were on a family holiday in Croatia. My father and I were sitting in front of a hotel and I asked him: “Who decides what the buildings look like and how the rooms are set?”. He explained to me: “They are called architects, they draw plans and define the layouts of the building. That was the moment: I found my true profession. My career moved on by changing my child’s room, pushing furniture from one wall to another and it always worked out. Fast forward, I finished classical architecture and found my passion in interior design already at university. Space always inspired me the most.
Best Interior Designers: How would you describe your work style? Do you have any kind of signatures that help to identify your projects?
Gregor Drobnic: I love cutting spaces with imaginary aches. That said, I can officially say, my architectural side comes out. These aches help me organize the layout of a project in full precision. The light line follows the furniture layout and usually, where the arches meet, the feature wall finds its place.
When the geometry is defined, I start layering with colors and materials. All my projects have a main color, a supporting one, a warm, like wood, and one cold material, like metal. I prefer to keep it simple – with a lot of thinking behind it. I like combining the main color on different surfaces. When the feature wall gets its color and curtains next to it appear in the same color, the whole space unites into a design concept.
Best Interior Designers: Being in love with our work is always the key to achieving better results. Are you in love with this job? What do you love most about being an interior designer?
Gregor Drobnic: My work is my hobby and I love what I do. When a project is in flow, I never mind sitting in late hours or weekends behind the computer. I was never a big fan of saying. ‘I have a job’. The best phase in a Project is when my ideas are realized and the space, which I was planning for a while gets the realistic shape, and then also the realistic scenery takes place (which was before happening in my head).
Best Interior Designers: Keeping up to date on all the trends is essential for anyone who wants to conquer this market. In what ways do you keep current with new trends?
Gregor Drobnic: It’s important to follow new trends, but more important is, how you are able to combine these trends into new projects. I don’t want that my finished projects look similar to the other ones on the market.
Best Interior Designers: Which major international events do you attend to get the latest novelties?
Gregor Drobnic: You can find me in Paris, on Maison Object, and in Milan, on Salone del Mobile, for sure.
Best Interior Designers: How would you describe your personal decorating style?
Gregor Drobnic: Decoration is the sweet cherry on top of the interior and I always think about: what does it need to achieve this moment and where this particular vase, those cushions, the flowerpot, or the statue should be placed. So-called dust collectors – I don’t like, because every object must have a meaning as well. When I layer the decoration in a project, I always start with a function that follows the form.
Best Interior Designers: All artists need some inspiration to work, and interior designers are artists too. So, what or who really inspires you?
Gregor Drobnic: I walk through my life with wide-open eyes! Berlin is my base and I get inspired while I’m walking with my dog Otto on the streets. It happens quite a lot, for example entering a new building I don’t talk much because I’m absorbing the space. What was the designer’s design intent and how it was realized. I love playing with hard and soft materials, I´m always curious to see a material mixture in the space.
I’m a huge fan of 1950s Brutalism, that’s the reason I like traveling on different history sets, to see perfect examples of brutalist architecture. I always get a surreal feeling, because the scale is enormous, but the love affair between the scale and all hidden details are my big inspiration.
Best Interior Designers: If you had to pick one project around the world that you wish was made by you, which one would it be?
Gregor Drobnic: Elrod House in Palm Springs! I’m a big fan of concrete and monument buildings. I have fallen in love with this house when I first saw it in the James Bond movie “Diamonds are forever”.
Best Interior Designers: How important is a perfect chemistry between you and your clients to achieve the best results?
Gregor Drobnic: Chemistry is one of the most important things to successfully finish a project, if there is a lack of it, I rather step out of the Project than move on with it.
Best Interior Designers: Do you think working with teams in interior design is better or worse than working alone? Why?
Gregor Drobnic: It all depends on the scale of a Project. I design private apartments and houses on a personal level with my client and this takes time- to get their trust and belief in me. This is also the reason, I plan them more or less alone, with side help in the background, if needed. I always say to my clients, I want to transform this apartment into your dream home and till we get there, some obstacles must be crossed. While designing retail, Hospitality, and office projects, you have to think about more people, who interact in this layout. At this level, it’s always good to have a team, because everyone thinks differently of how a space shall be used.
Best Interior Designers: Is there anything exciting that you are working on at the moment that you can tell us about?
Gregor Drobnic: I’m working on three residential projects at the moment, the layouts and my clients couldn’t be more different and this is what excites me the most. When I first entered one of these apartments, for the first time, my immediate thought was: ‘what an ugly duck’, waiting to be transformed into a swan. Everything is located around a big monospace: the entrance, kitchen, dining, and living room (too many electricity outputs on the ceiling and a really nice floor). There’s a staircase, leading into the upper floor. Its design doesn’t fit at all into the concept. After quite some layering which different materials, colors, and lighting features, I can hardly wait to see this project finished.
Best Interior Designers: What has been your greatest accomplishment as a designer? What goals do you have for the future?
Gregor Drobnic: I am really proud of my award, which I received in 2017 from Finest Interior Award in the category: Finest interior with art & Accessories. My work is my life and the best accomplishment is that people like what I do and they become my clients, because they saw what I have realized before.
Best Interior Designers: Do you have a favorite project or a favorite story about one of your projects?
Gregor Drobnic: I started my Interior design career as a personal furniture shopper, helping my clients to get their dream home. Soon after a journalist from Berlin spotted my work and published an interview with me in the local newspaper. I didn’t believe, that this interview would kick my interior design career in a full circle. A day after I got a request for a brand-new loft in the heart of Kreuzberg. The rest is history.
This loft has three doors. The main entrance and two bathroom doors. I was planing a lot of built-in closets, which function also as room dividers as well. The materials, I proposed in my design intent was corten rusty steel, the rest of the place was concrete. This was the first try to mix two heavy materials together.
The client decided, they shall stay plain- white at that time. Her comment was: “I’m a bit afraid of this combination”. 3 years later, I got an e-mail: ‘Gregor, you were right, I can’t see this white furniture anymore and I went back on the scenery and planed perfect rusty steel closets and the material mixture is perfect.
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