Oleksandra Taran was born and raised in Ukraine. Despite childhood aspirations to become a flight attendant, she developed an interest in interior design and received a Master’s in Interior Design from Kyiv National University of Technology and Design in 2012 before attending NYSID’s MFA-2 program and graduating in 2016.
Was there a particular class or instructor at NYSID who most influenced your learning experience?
Taking Retail Design with instructor Mark Bradin had a big impact on me. The best advice he gave me was to keep design simple, neat, and easy to understand; and to develop a unique, personal design style that is memorable to my clients. With his help, retail design has become my passion!
Tell us about your thesis project, "A Retail Store of the Digital Generation."
My goal was to create a multi-brand store that would combine brick and mortar elements of design with the high-tech features of online shopping. The architectural signature of the store is an asymmetric, cone-shaped atrium, featuring a massive sculptural media communication system. My design offers unique architectural and technological features that celebrate the products and provides a place to see them in action.
What are some difficulties you faced as an international student in NYC?
The main difficulty I faced in coming to NYC was adapting to the city’s rhythm. New York City fascinates and overwhelms: its speed, colors, and crowds all seem to fly by! In my first two weeks in the city, I had migraines by 12pm! However, after living here for a few years, for me, it’s no longer possible to live anywhere else in the world but New York.
Tell us about your current position - what projects are you working on?
I work for Point Design Inc., a very creative retail design firm with unique and stylistic approach to interior design. My company challenges me creatively and I am proud to be a part of this team. Since coming on board in 2016, I have had the opportunity to work on retail projects in the Philippines and Indonesia . On one of my most recent projects, I helped to refresh an existing design to create a new visual mood using new materials and colors, and helped to establish a brand new style and rythym to the atriums and focal points on the perimeter walls. This particular experience taught me a lot about the hidden structural systems that are invisible to the customer, and about the ways to connect elements in order to obtain the particular design shapes that allow a hypothetical design to become a real one.
What is your favorite part of the design process?
My favorite part of the design process is the conceptual stage: brainstorming design strategies, planning, and problem solving. I love to immerse myself in a project’s challenges and try to listen and understand the needs of my clients and address them early in the design process. I know that if I succeed in doing this, I am likely to develop a long-term relationship with my clients.