About Pitch Bureau

Pitch is a creative engineering bureau, that works at the juncture of new media, multimedia technologies and art. There are more than 30 highly qualified professionals in various fields in our team: from engineers to copywriters, concept artists and 3D modelers. This allows Pitch to carry out almost all the work on our own and propose turnkey solutions. Pitch bureau looks for challenges that demand original technical and content solutions. Pitch knows how to create a powerful museum exhibition, an unforgettable show or design a unique interactive installation, and how to transform bold ideas into completed projects.

Interview with Pitch Bureau

Pitch Bureau ("PB") interviewed on Friday, 24 July.

Could you please tell us about your experience as a designer, artist, architect or creator?

PB : My name is Boris Kislitsin and I am a creative director of Pitch (pitch.ru/en), a Moscow based creative engineering bureau, that works at the juncture of new media, multimedia technologies and art. The company was founded by me with Dmitriy Napolnov, my partner and our chief technical officer in 2015. Both of us have 2 MAs each: I have degrees in Russian linguistics and Law and Dmitriy Napolnov in English literature and Programming. My education gave me a good base to start, however, by the end of my studies I have understood that I want to do different things in life. So I set up a company but then took a year off and traveled on a shoestring in Asia, a hardcore trip that spanned from Russian Siberia to Mongolia, China, Nepal and India. It has completely changed my perspective: upon return I quit business and have decided to find my true purpose. So I have joined a German traveling theater, and things started to develop from that - then learned to juggle and unicycle, later - to paint. I thought that I found myself and for 5 years pursued an artistic career in London, though to a little success. After that I worked as a copywriter in creative agency, then for few years as a teacher in a temple school in rural Thailand, later taught in one of the Bangkok’s universities. Later I moved to Japan for a year, mostly thinking, taking care of my family and writing a book - but all this time I have considered myself as a self-taught artist, and still believe so. In 2010 I have returned to Russia joining a multimedia production company and then helped to set up a free online course on multimedia content creation. At some point I have recognized that I want to actually do something practical instead of teaching people how to do it and started to work as multidisciplinary producer with interests spanning from video mapping to interactive installations and from architectural light to AR and VR. In one of the companies I have worked I got acquainted with Dmitriy Napolnov, who was a CTO in one of the best Russian companies that created CG and produced content and developed shows for all kinds of events - from car presentations to music gigs. Before that Dmitriy was a technical director in a global music distribution company and a programmer in a film production company. He is a pure technical genius, so when I was commissioned to take charge of multimedia production in a huge museum project in development in St. Petersburg, Russia, I knew whom I wanted to make the most technologically advanced museum in Russia with. So we became business partners and were together since and that’s one of the best things that has happened to me. So generally speaking, we are both self-taught and learned design by doing, but, of course, it’s all a team work. Currently there are more than 30 highly qualified professionals in various fields in Pitch: from engineers to copywriters, concept artists and 3D modelers. Surely most of them have related education, but it’s not always the case. If you have passion for something, you can always learn things on your own, as in our case: we were one of the pioneers in multimedia design and engineering, and if we wanted to study it, there were simply no places where we could get our education as it was all brand new.

How did you become a designer?

PB : I do not really consider myself as a designer. I have rather considered my work to be a kind of public art practice, not matter what exactly I do – juggling, unicycling, painting, writing a book or playing chess. Honestly speaking, I wanted to be a native Indian chief or a marine biologist rather than a designer or an artist. My education gave me a good base to start, however, by the end of my studies I have understood that I want to do different things in life. So, I traveled to Mongolia, China, Nepal and India, which has completely changed my perspective. Upon return I decided to join a German traveling theater, and that is how it all started. I still do what I do enjoy most, dream of creating new ideas and ways to communicate and strive to do something that was never done before.

What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?

PB : Three main aspects to mention will be improvisation, construing its results and elaborating a thorough plan. Tools are necessary no matter what type of them you are using – in the end, even a pencil and paper on which you made a rough sketch are pieces of technology, though basic. What concerns physical models and renderings, broadly speaking the difference is not essential if they help to visualize and implement your idea. Chosen tools always depend on the certain project you are working on, so in this case the idea has an absolute supremacy. But, again, I do not design on my own - the final product is the result of the Pitch's team work.

Which emotions do you feel when designing?

PB : I would say I feel being in flux. It would be rather difficult to decompose the whole process into phases or stages, but for sure the final product creates the other sense of happiness than the process itself.

What particular aspects of your background shaped you as a designer?

PB : My ever present artistic past has essentially shaped my professional vision in a broader sense as I still think of everything to be discovered. I would say that all main skills that help me to produce successful project in the field of design are non-design skills per se. I would say the most influential were books. There are too many of them to mention depending on the field, but it’s always a good idea to start from basics and deep into related areas. Also, it’s very important to see things and experience them. I believe that impressions and life experiences are one of the best teachers.

What is your growth path? What are your future plans? What is your dream design project?

PB : We live in the times of personification and individually crafted objects and experiences. I would love to create a museum space based on experience that will be ever changing and would adjust the visitor path and contents provided - thus, every visitor will have a different experience from others and even from his previous visit based on what he has learnt and his interests.

What are your advices to designers who are at the beginning of their career?

PB : I would suggest that any designer should dream big, be persistent, have ambitions and think out of box. The passion is the key. The most common mistake is to put it on a hold and just duplicate the pattern – of course if we are talking about ideas and not ornaments. Do not forget that regular practice brings you closer to the perfect, I do believe in 10 000 hours rule - that’s an amount of time one needs to spend to master something.

You are truly successful as a designer, what do you suggest to fellow designers, artists and architects?

PB : I suppose all things said above concern not just designers at the beginning of their career but are still relevant to any of us. What concerns fellow designers, artists and architects, the most important thing is cooperation. Though the importance of collaborative working is an old truth, sometimes it is still being not appreciated. Cooperation is the only way to create and implement the most daring and ambitious projects.

What is your day to day look like?

PB : Routine is a good thing, especially when it looks rather like a patchwork than a hemstitch. Business mornings can differ a lot, however swift reading is a must. It should not necessarily have anything to do with designer news, as it is important to stay current in a broader sense, not focusing too much on conventional specialization. Apparently, the best thing in any boring business day is knowing that this, too, shall pass away. Reflecting on ever changing processes which should be somehow domesticated can really bring a relief throughout any work day no matter how successful it is.

How do you keep up with latest design trends? To what extent do design trends matter?

PB : Personally I do not believe in fruitfulness of “design trends” concept as I like out-of-box thinking and experiments, assuming that any trend should be changed and enriched – exactly this moves things forward. Though I prefer seeing things with my own eyes, sometimes I read magazines or design articles across different web resources.

How do you know if a product or project is well designed? How do you define good design?

PB : Good design is something that serves its purpose and at the same time somehow breaks on through to the other side. The main criteria to judge a design as a good one is to estimate if it serves its purpose. However, a great design is not just something that serves its purpose, it also should trigger some broader reflection. A great designer is always a visionary, who somehow forms new theoretical framework for others, either express or implied.

How do you decide if your design is ready?

PB : Any practical work has some external limitations, especially in terms of time management. We always have to do our best to produce the project on a given schedule. We can measure the success of a project by some quantitative objections (the number of users, visitors, awards, or plausive reviews). A long-term response matters as well, although it is hard to be formalized. It is important to strike a balance between true and bad infinite if we put it in Hegel's terminology.

What is your biggest design work?

PB : As Mike Jagger once said, he could not get no satisfaction but still tried to. Similarly enough, I am never fully satisfied with the designs that we produce, so I believe our biggest design work is yet to come. As for me, there is nothing more challenging, hard and compelling in the field than museum design that is always an experience design at the same time.

Who is your favourite designer?

PB : It would be untrue to say I have just one favourite designer, there are too many of them to mention depending on the field. I am convinced there can be no such notion as “the most iconic designer of all times”, as each period has its own prophets and own visionaries who beat the path for other designers. However, once I was really fascinated with an Austrian artist Koloman Moser. The scope of his work is really impressive – an illustrator, craftsman, interior designer. A person who carried out many examples of Gesamtkunstwerk, he was a forerunner of the modern age, presenting a linkage between ornamentality of Jugendstil and upcoming functionality of avant-garde. It also would be interesting to talk to one of his prominent contemporaries Adolf Loos, whom I consider to be one of the most influential theorist of modern architecture.

Would you tell us a bit about your lifestyle and culture?

PB : Cities have always inspired me, and I suppose it is important not to limit our inspiration to one spot as cities are constantly changing. So, I do think it is important to get back to where you once belonged to feel some changes outside and inside as well. The same goes for music as it is a capacious set of associations. Culture not just affects our design projects, it is probably more a kind of cradle or primordial soup for any project that can be classified to design. A good design is a step in reorganizing and reinventing culture as such, which drifts society and individuals even if they do not realize that at once.

Would you tell us more about your work culture and business philosophy?

PB : Working for Pitch bureau is not easy but challenging. The company was founded by me and my business partner and our CTO Dmitry Napolnov. Meeting him was one of the best things that has happened to me. We are always looking for professionals that share our values and meet high standards, however sometimes it is good when our colleagues also demonstrate some inconsistency as that can challenge our routines and make a headway in reinventing our methods.

What are your philanthropic contributions to society as a designer, artist and architect?

PB : I do believe a good design impacts not just social environment but the way of individual living as well. Especially in case of projects aiming to transform urban environment. Surely, it is important to participate in humanitarian projects and to contribute our skills in convenience, comfort, usability. Supporting young professionals is another major goal for each design bureau as it challenges your own knowledge, experience, and way of thinking.

What positive experiences you had when you attend the A’ Design Award?

PB : Spring 2020 was rather peculiar time, we all had to slow down and implement a philosophy of slow living as most of the countries were on lockdown, so I do hope there will be other awards and opportunities to attend A’ Design Award.

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