Landscape architect Dobromira Lulcheva is one of the founders of Landscape Design Studio, established in 2016 with a vision to create spaces that bring forth a natural feel. As a landscape architect, she believes that the most important thing is to create with a sense of aesthetics, sustainability and balance in the environment, in which she works. The idea to work in harmony with nature is even woven into the studio’s motto – “sense of nature”. The feeling of nature is always the cornerstone in their style and they effortlessly manage to integrate it into every project. River Park is among the projects on which they work with the greatest pleasure, as they get the absolute freedom to precisely follow this vision.
1. So far, we have heard a lot about the concept of River Park - a residential park that aims to bring nature back into people's lives. At what stage of the project did your studio get involved?
When the investor contacted us, they already had a clear idea and concept of what he wanted to achieve with the complex and the external environment. They came to us with the idea to create a unique place to live with multiple versatile open spaces, which is commendable. Our colleagues at IPA had developed the urban planning, architecture and infrastructure, and we had to integrate everything into an aesthetically pleasing and natural environment. We got involved with the start of the working project for the implementation of the park development of the complex.
2. What was your first impression when you saw the project in the studio?
I was very pleasantly surprised! This is one of the few investors in Bulgaria, whose goal is not to maximize the built-up areas, but to build a complete and sustainable environment. As a landscape architect, I found this as a very good opportunity, and my team and I did everything possible to become part of the project. The vision that Mr. Niv wants to achieve is difficult to grasp for many investors in Bulgaria or is often not among their priorities. This added value that landscape architecture provides in a residential environment still remains underestimated by society. It is commendable that the River Park investors appreciate the benefits of living close to nature and place this as the main focus of the whole project. This allowed me to unleash the full potential of our knowledge and imagination, to put our ideas into practice and a couple of years after the complex is completed, we will have the opportunity to see the positive result of our joint work and efforts. The result of the landscape architect’s work is like a geometric progression, increasing with each passing year, meaning that the true potential of what we have created will be felt in 15-20 years.
3. What trends did you follow?
Mostly recreating nature in some form. This trend has been relevant around the world for many years, but in Bulgaria we are just beginning to realize the role of nature and work toward using nature-based solutions. Years ago, squares, circles, rectangular shapes and evenly trimmed hedges could be seen everywhere. While here we have focused on asymmetry, irregular natural forms, spaces that look more natural than man-made. This is one of my favorite design trends - a sense of nature.
On the other hand, we have the selection of vegetation - we emphasize the local species. This is another thing that we are just beginning to feel in Bulgaria - that we must preserve what we have. I am not only referring to nature, but to the environment that we humans build in general. We live in a built-up environment, not in a natural one, and it must fit perfectly with the location, climate, and habitats around us. Accordingly, the vegetation should be composed mainly of native species. Those that were common here, even before we settled in these lands.
4. What inspired you most in preparing the project?
The location itself - between the mountain and the city. Looking south - you see the mountain, looking north - you see the city. And everywhere you see high and low elements - both the city and in the mountains. And between them - a river. In fact, the mountain, the river and the city were the key words we used to create this space. We tried to recreate this dynamic in the design of open spaces through shapes, textures, and colors.
The other great inspiration was the opportunity to simultaneously create a home for people and fir nature. To use the landscape as something that attracts not only people but also wildlife - birds, insects, rabbits and other animals. The idea behind River Park is for people and nature to live together. The complex is large enough, and there are spaces for both people and nature, while each resident has a place to rest, have fun, and work - all in a clean and healthy environment.