Interviewer: Today we have with us Yulia Shlomenzon, a young and rising star in the Israeli Architecture scene with a unique combination of experience and passion for creating spaces, design, aesthetics, photography, and social media marketing. Yulia, thank you very much for agreeing to clear the schedule of your busy daily life to meet and share with me, and the readers of this interview, a bit about yourself, about your amazing work in the world of architecture and marketing, and about your exquisite photography.
Yulia: Sure, with pleasure, thank you for inviting me.
Interviewer: Well, tell me about the most significant thing you've done in the past decade - and especially in your schoolwork.
Yulia: Truth be told, is that in all of five years of my university studies, during which I had managed to go to student' exchange in Florence, to work with leading architects, and of course to study and implement architecture; the most significant and challenging role I had done was to produce the Graduate' Exhibition 'A+' of the graduates of school of Architecture, University of Ariel Shomron. Have you any idea what a mess this was? I really did not know into what lions' den I got myself into. So, what was I doing there? Oh, yes, these activities:
Administration and Leadership
Constant administration and coordination between executive officials of the architecture school, the university, the entrepreneurs, and contributors of the building, the 'New Spirit Organization', important entities of the Jerusalem municipality and, of course, the students.
I participated and administrated the division of the Class (70 people) to execution teams with appointment of team leaders. This meant that every week me and the team leaders had weekly meetings to ensure all are aligned and executing what's needed.
In addition, I had taken an active part with locating the unique structure for the exhibition as I needed to make sure that we will have the most unique and original grad exhibition this country has seen in a while.
As part of my leadership activities I was entrusted, together with a selected group, to brand the exhibition. This included activities such as - choosing the name, the branding concept for the exhibition at the highest level seen in Israel: A+. Also, I did some administration for the graphic line - the design of the invitations for the exhibition, the production of the book of graduates, the writing and designing of cover stories, ensuring a perfect design implementation of the exhibition' area construction, all with no compromise in bringing the vision into reality.
Management of the exhibition' Facebook page -in activation of other students to increase impact and reach. This included raising awareness for the exhibition and for the graduates' projects. As FB is not the only social tool I had shared management of the exhibition' Instagram page together with another student.
Design, development, and production of an innovative clip for the SAVE THE DATE of the exhibition. which was attended by all graduate students of the class in a Flashmob video.
Ongoing photography of the students', their submissions of works, their projects, and publications in the different media.
Collaboration with the website designers dedicated to the exhibition and graduates.
Ongoing work with the university's advertising managers.
Oh, and let us not forget the PR that I engaged into which basically meant that I was gathering all interesting and relevant information to interest reporters and thus publish articles in newspapers, magazines, and relevant websites; while initiating relationships, and contacting leading independent reporters in the architecture sphere with great concern for ensuring professional articles which will reflect the level of works in the graduate class.
To make the exhibition stand out even more, unconsciously I took upon myself to produce additional three events supporting the exhibition:
A formal opening night which included an official ceremony and a performance by a music band. This is an important evening as the vast majority of the most important guests were invited and participated for this evening – which actually constituted as the opening salvo of the entire exhibition.
Exhibition' closing event to officially end the full month' of the exhibition. For this event I contacted the leading architect Pizo Kedem to give a lecture and planned a noon and lunch for the guests.
And just to spice up the exhibition I initiated a unique evening at the exhibition' premises for a one-of-a-kind, Pacha Kucha style marathon of short lectures. This event was attended by twelve designers and artists who gave short lectures – each of whom I contacted personally and convinced them to voluntarily come and give a short lecture, to participate and be guests during this event.
Interviewer: Sounds somewhat challenging.
Yulia: Yes, it was entertaining, you might say J
Interviewer: You have graduated and…? What did you do?
Yulia: Truth be told, during my studies I was already working in the notorious architect's office of Rechter Architects. There is no doubt that just working with the architectural legends such as Amnon Rechter was adequate and challenging enough - especially when you consider the face that I've done this at the same time of writing my theses, preparing my final project and (of course) producing the graduates' exhibition - about which I had told you previously.
But with my graduation I realized that I needed to fulfill myself and my abilities at a different angle within the world of architecture. So, seizing the opportunity to become the marketing manager for a leading architectural firm - Barre Levie Architects, while leading the firm to a new level of awareness and scope of activity – seemed only natural.
And so today I run the marketing and public relations activities of the firm. Among other things, I am engaged in:
Creating the future, strategy, and administration
In my job, I'm directly subordinate to the firm's owners and so I promote together with them the thinking process and redesign of the marketing language, goals, messages, and strategies of the firm for years to come. Among other things, I am a regular participant at the strategic marketing meetings. From that I'm responsible for execution of the updated marketing strategy and I also provide for the project management and the re-design of the firm' brand (Redesign of the logo, website, defining the firm's vision for coming years).
It is also my responsibility to coordinate and classify the entire scope of the firm's marketing projects, in addition to preparing presentations for lectures and conferences in and outside of the office.
Marketing and Advertisement
Getting the firm into the world of social networking. With the understanding that in this world today are found the future customers, and since this a fertile ground for increasing the brand awareness for the firm, I created the firm's existence in the following social platforms: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube. In all the above social networks, I conduct publications on daily basis, which include the collection of materials, photographing, writing, proofreading and bringing them to the finishing level suitable for publication, in accordance with the strategy set down by the firm's owners.
After years in which the Bar Levi Arch firm worked with a notorious PR firm, without remarkable results to be frank, I took over this activity. My "juevos" came in light of the experience and the connections I have created when producing the graduates' exhibition on which I have told you before. And the results speak for themselves - in less than two months I got two huge covers in articles in the Ha'aretz newspaper and in the important annual real estate section of the The Marker newspaper, and in the Xnet portal, which is known as a major scene for design, architecture, and construction in Israel. Within this framework, I work with content writers, translators, photographers, graphic designers etc.
In addition, in the frame work of a distinguished contest in which the firm participated, I had designed the submitted graphic issue for them, while preparing and designing the work plans, sections, and Illustrations.
Interviewer: Wow, impressive! What else do other people do not know about you?
Yulia: Thank you, I'm happy for the opportunity to integrate between my passions - architecture, photography, and marketing. And moreover, to do so with such a success from the products produced and with such enthusiasm from the firm - it was crazy. Did you know that even the owner of the firm asked me to work less? They are so used to the low-paced rhythm of the publications and to the regular flow of work into the office, that they were simply frightened by the high pace and the quality of my work.
Tell me please, where else did you hear that a manager asks his employee to work at 25% instead of 200%? But what can I do if I'm not familiar with the concepts of compromise in such work. For me, when I'm less than 300%, I am bored and the failure to prosecute is absolute.
Interviewer: And what else?
Yulia: If I could share a great love of mine, then this will be my love for photography. Whether with my phone on everyday experience or with Stella.
Interviewer: Who is this Stella?
Yulia: It is my camera of course! She is a Canon D500 and since I chose her to be with me and by my side a few years ago, it is very hard to separate us. Beyond the professional photography (shooting portraits as I told you about), we mostly capture moments of life, with plenty of room for aesthetics, unique compositions that catch the eye and seem to stop the world (for a moment).
Interviewer: Sounds interesting. I did see your Instagram profile is full of photographs one simply can't remain indifferent to. And please share with us - what is architecture for you?
Yulia: My vision of architecture that is the world's giant playground for creation of space and light. Throughout the years of my studies at the university I was looking to create spaces for people. Such spaces that they can feel good in them, with the main emphasis was always focused on the concept. In my point of view - the challenge is not just where to put the wall or how many cm in height there is between the ceiling to the windows. But whether I tried to raise (and answer) questions such as –Does the space itself serve the purpose for which it was built? How will the people who live and walk around in this space will feel in it? How much does the space shape the perception of the human beings in the area? In which pace and rhythm does it put them in? What shall be their behavior within the space? And how does it fit in with what is surrounding it?
What started to show my "Artichoke" project in my third year - has expanded and has clearly manifested in my thesis work and in my final project.
Interviewer: And you have key figures in you get inspiration?
Yulia: Look, for my life, my 'Bible' is the book 'Badolina' by author Gabi Nitzan. The perception of being king and queen of your world, to create it to be good because you know that you deserve to live well, wherever you are and to love and be proud of what you are doing without apologizing for that - this is the best inspiration for my life. In terms of professional inspiration my biggest role and example is the Architect Zhaa Hadid, whose breakthroughs in so many spheres have already been talked about so often that it seems pointless to further add to it.
Interviewer: Although only for the "record", but just to be clear - what programs do you use while working?
Yulia: Obviously, I have knowledge and experience in all the Adobe and the architectural programs. Just before I will detail them one by one, it is important to remember that ever since high school I was deep in the studies of architecture, and that in the army service (yes, I was in the Israeli army two years) I carried out a lot of projects with Adobe Photoshop and other Adobe programs, and that throughout the years of my studies I worked with and for architects - both to gain experience and to recognize and further professionalize in this world. So, the following programs are like my best friends for life:
Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, Lightroom, Premiere, Autocad, Rhino, Revit, Lumion, Sketchup, Cinema4d
Interviewer: Well, Yulia, it seems that every office that would be lucky enough to hire you to work with them, should be aware of an enormous growth in their activities. Well done on your doings up to now. What is your next step?
Yulia: You said is true. For me, the plans are to do the same thing we do every night, Pinky - take over the world.