Elke Altenberger is a Vienna-based interior designer specialized in planning and conceiving the layout of interior spaces and their lighting. Throughout the years, she’s been actively working with several leading international brand names specializing in interior decoration. Elke Altenberger has been able to bring her special talent to fruition in service to her customers, serving them with her own individual, artistic sensitivity and creativity. Boca do Lobo is proud of being a part of Elke’s journey and, to celebrate it, we talked with this top interior designer to find out more about her amazing work.
Boca do Lobo: Being in love with our work is always the key to achieve better results. Are you in love with your job? What do you love the most about being an interior designer?
Elke Altenberger: There is, by all means, no question about it – as far as my profession is concerned I do not feel any causally determined particular priority. I think it is maybe the last 5% I am always chasing after in projects – the 5% more than my client expects and gets finally acquainted with – the 5% complementary experience in the projects – the 5% unexpected which appoints to the real character of a project. I love to run my own business and I essentially love to finish projects successfully.
Boca do Lobo: Do you have a favorite project or a favorite story behind one of your projects?
Elke Altenberger: There is always a story or eventually a kind of little drama behind each beginning of my projects. Mostly I then deal with realignment of relations, priorities, cultural orientation on grand scale first. Confidence is the fundament of individual identification – specifically in a country like Austria in which people do not easily tend to be specious easy and openhearted.
Boca do Lobo: How important is a good chemistry between you and your clients to achieve better results?
Elke Altenberger: This is definitely crucial for each and every project I do. Arranging habitation is a fundamentally personal matter. If project partners do not find a common denominator one should no go for this delicate cooperation.
Boca do Lobo: To conquer such a demanding audience, is truly important to be informed about the latest trends on the field. How do you do this?
Elke Altenberger: I think this has always been an essential part of my life. Art and culture, internationality, living and fashion of course is an environment in which I was reared up and was ready to also take risk for in various projects and studies together with a large scale of people I worked and lived together with. Some 10% of my time I spend for visiting fairs, exhibitions, dedicated travel and even more with close suppliers relations in the closer and wider scope of it. And of course we have an open house and a bigger family in which creative characters have welcome entry.
Boca do Lobo: How would you describe your style? Do you have any personal “signature”?
Elke Altenberger: Oh, what a calamitous question. I know someone who is nearly daily pushing me into this – my final and personal 5% who change everything! For now I think there are two sides of success in our segment: the one is the total customer satisfaction throughout all delicate elements of a cooperation together with the add on additional output – this means that I think that my clients want to identify their personality reflected in the objects I am in charge for. So the factual perspective of my work seems to be slightly higher than the emotional one. The second is my personal expression / signature as an artist. This part of mine is yet subordinated to my conviction of normal customer need.
Boca do Lobo: All artist have some kind of inspirations, and interior designers are no exception. So, what or who really inspires you?
Elke Altenberger: This is ‘the someone’ mentioned above who is nearly daily pushing me to exceed the foreseeable and expectable barriers of a project. This sometimes is pretty radical but it helps to cross borders. We however more and more leave predefined trend areas, mix it with client’s perceptions and sometimes reach a kind of new decorative language.
Boca do Lobo: Is there any project in the world you’d like it had been made by you?
Elke Altenberger: No – not a specific project. Currently we are mainly occupied with private accommodations and will – sooner or later – move more into the corporate project business – but this mainly is a question of our aspired size of business. It also seems that the corporate business we are working together with rather tends to convert into off standard and highly individual expression. This is a wonderful field of activity – our company will have to grow more into this.
Boca do Lobo: Choosing the right piece for a design set might seem an easy task. However, it takes a lot of time and attention to find the perfect match. Which advices you have for those who do not know how to start a challenge like this?
Elke Altenberger: Courage, quality, information, interest and persistence…. Rearrange the order as you like it. And finally talk to your interior designer – him or she is right into this matter…
Boca do Lobo: Which are your favorite brands, those that can never be missing in your projects?
Elke Altenberger: Well this of course is also a matter of budget disposition. By doing total installations under given budget limits we concentrate on a thread definition and within this we allocate some 20% leading quality pieces which represent the aspired uniqueness. Boca do Lobo, for example, offers variety, quality and expression which facilitates our 20% work and represents a bunch of image and personality. If we are working with wider budget dispositions the range of brands installed is of course large. We are then heading for more or less expressive unique discretion in various fields. This means that pieces and brands which are loudly and commonly known is certainly none of ours. Brands who represent timeless quality and neatly suit themselves into various epochs and styles combine quality and specific taste. We are so producing strains in time and space with specific expressions. This is what we are looking for. The famous Portuguese Brands like Boca do Lobo, Delightfull, Koket, Brabbu and Maison Valentina have this spirit developed within the last years and are therefore the reasons why we appreciate the cooperation.