“We estimate our work much more realistically now”, says the architects from APATÉ STUDIO.
APATÉ studio was founded by four architects who were friends from university. They fulfilled their ultimate dream of working and creating together. We talked with one of them, Pavla Neradová, about business, sources of inspiration, the way they work with clients, and also, of course, about Teamogy, the system they chose for their daily work and management of the architectural studio.
Petr: What was the motivation to start your own company?
Pavla: Together with Barbora, Markéta, and Veronika, we collaborated on several projects at school and found out that we worked well together. Also, we really enjoyed being able to negotiate with clients and learn more about what they liked and what they wanted to better lead the whole project, not just parts of the process. We knew from the beginning that we wanted to be equal partners in the company and not have any hierarchy among us.
Petr: On your website, you say, “It is important for us to create a space that is a reflection of its customer”, which I like very much, but I think it is not quite easy to know the real wishes of the client. How do you find them out?
Pavla: It is all about dialogue and communication. We don’t try to create an unmistakable manuscript as a studio, which will then be reflected in all solutions. It is very important for all of us to understand the customer; we listen a lot. We talk about pictorial references; we try to capture the atmosphere that space should have with the help of references and materials. We often process mood boards from the discussions we hold, to make sure the style is clear. We use these to continually check whether we understand the client correctly. We describe everything in emails; our emails are quite long :).
Example: The mood board from Apaté studio serves to “harmonize” the client’s ideas about the atmosphere of the interior
Petr: I think that if a person reads about his business and his plans for it, he will rather welcome the fact that someone deals with it carefully and thinks about everything. I wonder how much time communication takes? For example, over the complete interior design process of the whole apartment 3+1, how much time does communication take up?
Pavla: From the overall work that needs to be done from the first contact with the client to the final proposal, communication can take up to ⅓ of the total time. I think so far, we have been lucky with clients that have been on the same page with us.
Petr: And where do you get the inspiration for your work? In your industry, you can work with an inexhaustible amount of materials and shades, and then there are the new technologies…?
Pavla: Every year there are fairs, which we like to visit in our country and abroad. For example, we have DesignBlock. We follow professional magazines and communicate with manufacturers who try to present their new collections and news to us.
Petr: There are 4 architects in your company. How do you cooperate on the projects?
Pavla: We actually tried two different ways of cooperation. First, we all worked together on one project the whole time. However, this method seemed difficult for us to communicate and share responsibilities. So now we mainly use the second method: we each lead the project alone. We only provide feedback to each other when someone needs help with something or needs advice. We are there for each other.
The investor wanted a simple interior in dark colors. Because the main living room was very spacious, we could afford to incorporate a large dark kitchen with an island and black furniture. The black color of the interior did not ruin the impression at all; on the contrary, it made the whole space cozy and elegant.
Petr: I want to ask the question of when did you think of looking for a system for your company? From your stories, it seems like everything works nicely for you.
Pavla: Having four partners in the company, we wanted to have a tool that would make everyone responsible for a specific segment of work, but at the same time, we would be able to share all of the information in real-time and would make the data accessible to all of us. Likewise, reports and information on individual Jobs, which we work on separately, are all kept together in the same place. This is especially important for our personal feedback on how well we estimated the time required for the Jobs, whether we could work more efficiently in one area, or whether we underestimated something in terms of pricing.
Petr: Which systems did you use before Teamogy?
Pavla: Slack for communication, Fakturoid for creating and recording invoices, and Toggl for work reports and time tracking. We also had a lot of shared Excel sheets via Google Drive.
Petr:What did not suit you in the previous solution?
Pavla: First of all, the fact that information about projects, communication, price offers, and time reports were not in one place. Although specific applications served well for individual tasks, they were not integrated, so it was still necessary to put the individual “reports” together manually – a price offer, actual purchase costs, time reports, meeting reports, etc.
Petr: What is different in the studio now after deploying Teamogy?
Pavla: We have a better overview of the current status of all of our projects. In reports and time reports, we can immediately find out how far colleagues have gotten with their projects, what they have been working on, how much time it really took them, when we need to create a price offer for a new project. We are planning new jobs much better. From one report, we can see how many projects are unfinished / open / in progress, what their statuses are, how many of them are finished, and, if for some reason, they are still open. (For example, we may be waiting for payment, waiting for drawings from professors, or statements from the office.)
Petr: What do you mainly use Teamogy for in the studio?
Pavla: To record time for specific tasks and projects, and we use this data from Teamogy to value our work much more accurately. It is mainly a feedback tool for us, thanks to which we have a clear overview of the complexity of various tasks. Until we saw the “hard data,” we still tended to underestimate the complexity of the work. In retrospect, you say to yourself, “It didn’t take that long. I must have done this in a second.” We can immediately see on the financial board how many invoices are issued, and how many have been paid. Thanks to this, we can prepare financial sheets much better.
Petr: And the last question about Teamogy: How quickly did your team learn to work with Teamogy in the studio?
Pavla: It was not a problem for our small team. It only took a few hours.
Petr: Thank you very much for the interview, and I wish the Apaté Studio well.
Apaté Studio was founded by four architects. It offers creative and contemporary solutions. In the studio’s designs, you will always find an effort to create a space that reflects the owner. The authenticity of the place, the client’s wishes, and an imaginative approach are the main pillars of the designs.
Previously during his studies, Petr connected his name with the company AD-IN-ONE Europe. He knows the Teamogy system from many sides, which clients can appreciate during its presentation and consultations. Petr focuses on how clients with Teamogy can be even more profitable, efficient, and competitive in today’s market. Petr is careful and happy when clients are satisfied with the quality of his work. In his free time, he is a big football fan.
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