Let’s sit down AND TALK WITH ELENA

Elena, you have an architecture degree and are now the project manager for retail design at DFROST. Does that leave any space for the creativity aspect you probably wanted out of your career?

I get to contribute my own ideas to the product creation process from the start by providing feedback and suggestions. My experience has given me a good sense of what matters. In most cases, combining creativity with feasibility yields the best results.. For me, the real puzzle starts with development planning: I come up with implementation solutions that are as iconic as they are simple and logical. That is a challenge that always keeps my job interesting. Never losing sight of the bigger picture and doing continuous cost-benefit analyses is an important part of it, and it recharges my creative batteries again and again.

That sounds exciting. Can you tell us what exactly your job involves?

As soon as we get a new client inquiry, my project management work begins.

I first prepare the briefing, draw up the schedules, create a quote and estimate the extent of the work involved. Then I plan the kick-off meeting. Close collaboration with the creative department is extremely important when it comes to feedback about the client’s demands, their feasibility and all budget planning. As soon as the creative process concludes and the design freeze is applied, I move on to development planning. At this stage, I produce CAD graphics and detailed descriptions of the implementation process using detailed drawings and material and size definitions. I also manage all departments involved in the project while keeping an eye on reporting and the feasibility of the project at all times.

In the next step, I request quotes from producers, calculate the costs and produce a production quote for the client. As soon as we get the client’s approval, production starts. Intensive communication and production monitoring is key here. During the production stage, my main role is that of a trouble shooter. Once production concludes, I handle the finished products and take care of logistics planning, management and monitoring.

The final step is the preparation of the invoice for the client, project documentation and a hand-off involving reporting and client feedback.


Are there any aspects you absolutely need in a job?

I really enjoy realising ideas from the initial thought to the final hand-off using small models or any other tools. Working with our producers is fun, too: I get to contribute, try things out and test a wide range of materials.

Of course, a respectful working environment and solution-oriented work are essential. My motto is: work smart, not hard.

What has been your greatest professional success?

I can’t really make a blanket statement on that. I feel most accomplished when I can see a finished product in real life and all the drawing and details I created beforehand have been realised flawlessly. That’s what I want out of my work.

Who is your architectural hero?

My role models in architecture are Luis Barragan and Carlo Scarpa.

What will be your next project with DFROST?

A travel window for Neubau. After that, we have some trade fair projects for the brand coming up—and many other challenging projects, doubtlessly. Our client’s new projects and ideas never fail to surprise and excite us.

Do you fit in our team? Let’s get in touch.