We ran across Magdalena Keck‘s portfolio a while ago, when we featured some of her work on Freshome. We decided to forward our 15 question interview to her as a challenge and she kindly replied. We received some strong and determined answers which unriddle an impressive experience as an interior designer. And if they were not enough, we’ve also added a few photos of Magdalena’s projects to convince you of her passion for hard work.

  • Freshome: What determined your passion for design? Tell us about the moment when you decided this is the way to go.
  • Magdalena Keck: I have always had passion for art. Have been always drawing as a child, attended art classes as a teenager and eventually studied fine arts and then interior design. Interior design is like any other media, you work with color, light texture, time and dimension. The difference is that you also work with people, who are completely integral to the process.

Tribeca Apartment

  • Freshome: Can you remember your first design project? Describe it a bit, whether it is a gizmo you worked at as a little kid or something that was sold at a large scale
  • Magdalena Keck: It was probably rearranging my room. I got rid of the bed and put the mattress on the floor. My parents ordered low bookcases for me, so everything was really low. I had my own huge abstract painting on the wall. It was painted on a sheet of galvanized metal.
  • Freshome: What field of design are you most interested in? Do your works have anything to do with it ? (We are asking this because not many designers do what they actually want)
  • Magdalena Keck: I most enjoy working on residential projects, but also on retail projects. Each presents different opportunities for expression. In residential projects I enjoy paying attention to details, individual needs and desires. In retail concept development is a key – it is one of my favorite aspects. Many of my residential projects have outdoor spaces and I do increasingly become more and more interested in landscape design. It is something that I am definitely going to peruse further.
  • Freshome: Chronologically describe what you are going through (feeling and thoughts) on your way to work.
  • Magdalena Keck: Excitement, discovery, lots of work and research , frustration somewhere along the way, problem solving, fulfillment, pride.
  • Freshome: What is your favourite book/magazine on design? How about your favourite site?
  • Magdalena Keck: Right now I like French Elle Decore, and I always go back to FRAME and Object.

Upper East Side Residence

  • Freshome: What inspires you?
  • Magdalena Keck: Anything can really. It’s quiet easy. I am never short on ideas. Usually the minute I start the project I can see it. Often it is the space itself, or the person I am working with, piece of art they own or desire to own. Anything, really.
  • Freshome: What is the most frustrating aspect of your job as a designer? And the most rewarding one?
  • Magdalena Keck: Most frustrating aspect is when people make stupid mistakes that could be easily avoided. Most rewarding: have a Client who enjoys their space and is comfortable in it.
  • Freshome: From your point of view, is design an art or a science?
  • Magdalena Keck: I have to say 50% art and 50% science.
  • Freshome: Tell us something unusual that happened in your carrier.
  • Magdalena Keck: I interviewed with Naomi Leff years ago for a consultant position. I didn’t get the job. It turned out to be for the best. I opened my own studio. Few years later when I was looking for an office space I came across a beautiful space with a fantastic view on 18th floor of a building on 27th Street that looked very familiar. I found out that Naomi Leff Associates had closed and moved out. That’s where my office is now.

Soho Flat

  • Freshome: Let’s say you entered a contest. You have to come up with a design for the first house on the Moon built for extra-terrestrial living. How would your project look like?
  • Magdalena Keck: I would have to go the site and meet the Client to tell you. Naturally the thing to do would be to use locally available materials. The challenge would probably be to free yourself of human preconceptions what a HOUSE is.
  • Freshome: If you had no limits (money, resources), what would you create?
  • Magdalena Keck: Roof top shade garden on every building.
  • Freshome: Share something you would like the world to know about you or your ideas. 
  • Magdalena Keck: Take what you need (make it beautiful and functional) and leave the rest out. Nothing new yet so hard to implement for so many people.

Brooklyn Terrace

  • Freshome: What do you think of our site?
  • Magdalena Keck: It’s great and apparently very popular. I had magazines from Poland, Portugal and Italy publish several projects after you have mentioned my work. I enjoy seeing variety of projects and topics.
  • Freshome: What advice do you have for young designers or architects reading this interview?
  • Magdalena Keck: Keep your eyes and ears open, absorb and learn, be open minded and considered, but don’t compromise. Opportunities and inspirations are everywhere.