An interview with architect Vessela Miryanova, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ARTEKS ENGINEERING AD for "24 Hours" newspaper.

Vessela Miryanova: “Quality in every centimeter”

We are talking with architect Vessela Miryanova, executive director of ARTEKS ENGINEERING, about the business in Bulgaria, about the high buildings and the height of construction, not forgetting the importance and key position of happiness.

What is the time for ARTEKS now?

It is working time, of course. We have said it before: the ground of our motivated team is the building site, not the political one, although it is a sort of pre-election struggle for us every day. What we are doing today is essential for whether people will choose a home from ARTEKS tomorrow.  We have been chosen by people since 1993, so right now we are focused on ABIGAIL BUILDING in Druzhba district and Videlina 2 in Tintyava Street. We are also starting work on Harmony Building in G.M. Dimitrov Boulevard.

Still, the situation must be complicated after the noise in the media that involved the name of the company?

It has never been easy in the construction and building, especially when it comes to a company with our breadth and standards. There have always been people who want to harm youand people trying to involve you in backstage political games, and I doubt that any owner of a big business would tell you something different. Even during the crisis after 2008 trials were enormous. We have proved that quality comes first for us, and we have even increased the number of our customers.Then we said to ourselves: "If there's no crisis, we cannot talk about a crisis." It is still true today. We have always thought long-term, not just for the moment. The quality of the product cannot be reduced under any circumstances: either from building to building, nor in time. The commitment to our clients is forever because we provide after-sales service as well. That's why we have as clients our customer’s children – the children of our first clients from the 90-ies. This is what people find in our buildings – consistency in quality.

Your shortest definition of quality in housing?

Quality is what cannot be added; it is built into every centimetre of the building. Quality in housing is inseparable from fairness in our relationships with the customer.

What have changed in the customers’ expectations?

All the customers want is a key to a place they can call home and find their happiness. Naturally, they always expect the best of what they know. Their trust, however, obliges us to offer and the best of what they may not know. The client today looks for healthy environment and cares about saving resources. Personal comfort is not regardless of the environment. This attitude stimulates us.Most importantly, however, remains the commitment our buildings to be always up to date, to keep their quality over time, the brand to be indefinite ARTEKS guarantee.

You mean the most important thing for the company is stability?

For a construction-investment company stability is the key word in all senses. Growth is also important. What we've done already, we could do it for a long time –undisturbed, and profitable. But after dozens of residential buildings and complexes, having introduced new products and used new technologies, once we've proven that  Bulgaria can and should have the best and most modern of what the world has, we have selected this peak: ZLATEN VEK Buildingin Lozenets district.

The construction of ZLATEN VEK Building has caused some contradictory reactions and protests challenging its legality

Every person can have their own preference, but you cannot follow your own rules of legislation. You can neither have such an interpretation of the law just to calm down people in a delicate moment. Legal matter may sound complicated or boring to people who don’t have experience in it, but we expect a final official judgment. As it often happens, we start talking about laws during election time….and we discuss only some chosen changes that are part of the whole change. 49 are actually the changes in the law. And involving ARTEKS in article 153 is an exact example. This change in the law affects dozens of complex infrastructures and other objects from first and second category.

Why exactly ARTEKS receives the opportunity to build this high-rise building exactly in this district?

ARTEKS does not receive any opportunities; we have bought this terrain having a project and permission to build. This applies to all our buildings. The company has never participated in a competition for public contracts, has never took money from EU funds. So to the question "why exactly ARTEKS?" I can say "why not? “.ARTEKS is an entirely Bulgarian construction-investment company that has the experience, expertise, ambition and persistence to do something extraordinary here and now. ZLATEN VEK will be an achievement of the Bulgarian housing construction, a unique building, with built-in pure Bulgarian symbols and writing.

There are some opinions that this building is too high for our environment.  

A capital city should have a breadth. To be bold, modern, to build bridges to the future. The endless repetition of already made things is more dangerous than the experiment. Big cities are incubators of innovative aesthetics, as it is artfully bound to all what is been inherited. There are number of examples of this even in the conservative Switzerland Basel, Zurich, Malmo (Sweden), in Denmark. What if there are some extreme opinions for a building? Why does everything have to be so harmless, equal, and invisible? A town with perspectives should not seek the arithmetic mean of the tastes, it has to educate in aesthetics, provoke interest in what’s different, to stimulate the new, and to have a bold vision for the future. I don't like some buildings, but they are not the thing that disturbs me.

And what is it?

When you step on a tile in Sofia, it is not certain that it will not start moving under your feet. But do we need the whole public interest, all the energy of a European capital to go to embellishment and repair of partial areas, sometimes with a doubtful result?

Yet this is not an argument in favor of tall buildings.

Even if you ignore the contribution of the high buildings to the modern aesthetics of the big city today, there's a pragmatic side. Sofia should provide a place for one and a half million people. Directions, as we know, are two: horizontal and vertical. Why is it believed that the first one is only "normal"? Why don't you see how expensive it is the city to span? We need to provide infrastructure, transportation solutions? Just because we don't see these costs, it does not mean that we are not paying them as citizens. A high-rise building in the heart of the city is a way to use a desired location for many people. There is a strong interest in customers to ZLATEN VEK BUILDING.

Is there an inherited skepticism about high-rise buildings in Bulgaria? Is it possible that “the prestigious high floor” turns to a tendency?

The most exciting and impressive achievements in architecture nowadays are in high-rise building, because of the shortage of land in urban areas. There is no point in constructing tall buildings in the suburbs of the city. . On the other hand, throughout the world the good tall buildings are not only building of floors; they are concentration of qualities and benefits. In addition, a building can implement principles and systems for comfort of habitation by saving resources. For example, the recuperation system, which we have introduced in the Diamond and Diamond-2, not only purifies air from dust, fine particles and pollen, but also uses this air to regulate the temperature in the rooms. The solar panels, high-quality woodwork, everything leads to energy efficiency.  The separate collection of rubbish in ZVLATEN VEK is quite easy and invisible. I mean, this is a building that not only provides healthy environment, but also stimulates the ecofriendlyway of life for the people in it.

Who are the people that buy in ZLATEN VEK Building?

Prominent people in their fields: athletes, artists, businessmen. A lot of IT specialists – young and successful people who have lived abroad in such modern tall buildings and are waiting for them to be built here. Technological comfort is becoming increasingly important for these generations. There is a talk about the potential of Sofia to be a kind of IT capital, so that high-tech buildings will become more and more wanted. ARTEKS is already building them.

Yes, but what do people out of the building get? Those people living in "Lozenets“ district where according to your project must be an impressive building?

Another place for personal time: for meetings, for sport, for shopping. The access to the residential areas will become by electronic cards, but the first two levels will be free area. There would be a shopping centre with a café area, restaurant, gyms and pool, landscaped terrace with water mirror. Projects such as ‘Golden AGE" expand the center of Sofia. In fact in the most dynamic and the most exciting European cities, such as London, there is no centre in which everything interesting is in concentric circles until it subsides in people’s "bedrooms", but a series of zones with their appearance and intense life. Not to forget something special in VLATEN VEK-the so-called viewpoint, that is the place on the top of the building, where everyone can admire the panoramic views of the city. Precisely because of the iconic building, residents of Lozenets district will raise the prices of their properties in that area.

What gives you strength and confidence now?

Belief in God. I have been involved in laying the foundations of our company, ARTEKS, and I know they are very strong, because they are based on the hardest rock-God's laws and rules.Now we can suffer some hits, but this is a test which we will pass. If something is strong in its core, when something good is in its base-hard work, caring for people and when it is full of good vibrations, with love and light, it will pass through all the storms and turbulence and will be even stronger, and it will work with an even greater blessing!       
And it will be so!
I believe in this!