Monika, please tell us briefly about your career ladder. How did you become part of the Semrén & Månsson team?
I started working as an architect right after graduation in 2000. I worked in several architectural studios before I came to Semrén & Månsson. In different positions. Initially as an assistant and later as a project manager. I also had my own business for some time, which allowed me to get acquainted with working with the client and the Investor.
I heard about Semrén & Månsson when they decided to set up a branch in Poland. I liked their approach to architecture and their commitment to teamwork and employees. I submitted my CV and had an exciting meeting with Magnus and Maria. After that, together with another person, I went to the office in Gothenburg for training. Then, I started working here in Szczecin and was quickly promoted to project manager and then to manager of the entire office in Szczecin.
In your opinion, what does Scandinavian\ Swedish architecture mean for Poland? What distinctive features do you see as an architect?
In a few words, it is simple in form, people-friendly architecture. No unnecessary fuss. A form pleasing to the eye, functional for living with suitable finishing materials. But not only buildings, it is also the space around the house. Greenery and places for people where they can spend time together. This creates an area you want to live in.
Is this all true for the north of Poland, which is so close to Scandinavia, or for the whole country and central Europe in general?
The whole country and probably Europe in general, I think. I often hear about projects advertising themselves with the slogan “Scandinavian lifestyle”. It’s good if it brings real, reasonable solutions, not just a saying.
When it comes to the north of Poland, the Scandinavian style is even more visible here. In Gdańsk and even here, in Szczecin, the city uses post-shipyard and post-port areas as construction areas. New living spaces are created directly on the river. It reminds me of what used to happen in Goteborg. We discover it decades later, but it is a good inspiration and direction.
How does the business approach help in the architect’s work and communication with the client?
Contact with the client and feeling we are achieving a goal together are very important. The business approach makes the work of an architect not only an exemplary implementation of the guidelines provided by the Investor in the attachment to the contract. These are conversations with the client, discussions, a thorough examination of his needs and a response to them. We are finding the best solution that provides both excellent and functional architecture but is also effective from an economic point of view. Such work gives satisfaction.
Please tell us about your plans in Poland and central Europe.
Previous crises have shown us the resilience of our approach – the value of Scandinavian design has remained relevant for many years. We are appreciated not only by the big players in residential real estate but also by residents. Even if the Polish market has suffered lately, we see many new opportunities in Poland and neighbouring Central European countries. We are also honoured to start several new projects in Ukraine and to take part in the vital task of rebuilding the country after the terrible war.