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2024 Designer Dozen: Olga Sapunkova

She strives for timeless and elegant designs




2024 Designer Dozen: Olga Sapunkova
Olga Sapunkova
Interior Designer, Olga Design Studio
Age: 35

Favorite Beverage: Espresso
Favorite Season: Autumn


Immigrating to the United States from a small town in Ukraine, Olga is now the CEO, Founder and Principal Director of her eponymous design firm. Coming to a new country without any professional connections, Olga built her career from the ground up, designing retail spaces from cafés to gyms to apparel stores to multi-family residences.

As a cancer survivor, Olga has worked closely with the Cancer Institute of New Jersey. “During an event, I painted and gifted ‘get well’ cards to patients undergoing bone marrow transplants while I was undergoing treatment and waiting for the transplant myself,” says Olga. “It was a meaningful way for me to give back and offer support to others going through a similar journey.”

She also takes pride in volunteering with religious building projects and participating in mentorship programs focusing on up-and-coming designers.

2024 Designer Dozen: Olga Sapunkova 📷 Jason RSR Photo

What do you enjoy most about your job?

One of the things that brings me the most joy is witnessing the difference between the before and after of a project. Seeing the transformation unfold right before my eyes is incredibly satisfying. It’s like witnessing a blank canvas come to life with colors, textures, and unique elements that reflect the client’s personality and style. The sense of accomplishment and fulfillment I feel when my clients are delighted with the final result makes my job as an interior designer so rewarding.


What’s the biggest challenge you have faced professionally?

Working with a client who has extravagant taste but a limited budget is indeed a significant challenge. However, I find it to be an exciting and rewarding experience that pushes me outside of my comfort zone. It forces me to think creatively and find innovative solutions to meet the client’s high expectations within their financial constraints. The process allows me to explore new avenues and utilize my problem-solving skills. In the end, the satisfaction of delivering a beautiful and luxurious result within the client’s budget is incredibly fulfilling.

Retail changes every day. What role do you see physical stores playing in the future?

It’s true that a lot of stores are taking their business online. But I feel when stores have a story to tell, they have a unique advantage. These stores often offer a shopping experience that goes beyond just buying products. As interior designers, we can help to create that experience, drawing customers in and making them feel connected to the store and its offerings. [That] leads to a passionate, loyal community. In a world where convenience and efficiency are valued, these stores will always stand out by offering something more personal and authentic.

What experience or specific interest has shaped you as a designer?

Growing up in a beautiful historical city has greatly influenced my development as a designer. The rich architecture, vibrant art and intricate designs that surrounded me from a young age have shaped my aesthetic sensibilities and influenced my creative process. The city’s historical landmarks and cultural heritage have instilled in me a deep appreciation for the importance of preserving and celebrating the past while innovating for the future. This unique environment has taught me to find inspiration in the beauty of my surroundings and to strive for timeless and elegant designs.

My dream project is…

…to design something that will leave a lasting impact on history.

The best part of my day is…

…when I’m busy.

I find (design) inspiration in…

…simply strolling in the city or new airport. Being attentively aware of my surroundings allows me to notice even the smallest details that might go unnoticed by others.

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MasterClass: ‘Re-Sparkling’ Retail: Using Store Design to Build Trust, Faith and Brand Loyalty

HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

Presented by:
Ian Johnston
Founder and Creative Director, Quinine Design

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