Posts tagged with ‘Interview’
FvF interview with artist and illustrator Doug Perkul, Amsterdam
He left the suburbs of Georgia and New Jersey to eventually make his home in the Dutch capital. Here he works as Managing Director at advertising agency, Sid Lee, where his main focus is to work creatively and collaborately with others.
We hear about his weekly Sunday afternoon creative sessions, the making of a children’s book and his love for Amsterdam in Doug’s portrait on Freund von Freunden.
Interview with Royal Gold Medallist Peter Zumthor
AJ exclusive: James Pallister spoke with Swiss starchitect Peter Zumthor on the eve of his RIBA Gold Medal lecture
This week Peter Zumthor was awarded the RIBA’s highest honour – the Royal Gold Medal, adding to the 69-year-old’s haul of plaudits, which includes the Pritzker Prize, The Praemium Imperiale and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture.
Many details that make your work so rich seem to come from very close observation of daily life. Do you think architects’ work would be better if they learnt to relax and play a little more?
I know exactly what you mean but it gives the wrong impression of how I work. I try to create emotional spaces that feel right for the purpose and the place. So I try to go into the use of the building very deeply and see what could be beautiful and comfortable.
Sometimes it’s hard to get there. If I can tell something is missing, or I’m not quite there yet, I must be honest with myself. I must tell the client: ‘Please be patient for another month or two, or a year. You will have the rewards for that if you are patient now’.
This is not easy sometimes. In judging what I am doing I have to be playful and serene and open and emotional because that – as we know – is how architecture is perceived, and not in abstract. I want to please people with my buildings unconsciously, emotionally. That’s all. I don’t want to lecture them. But it’s hard labour to get there.
Developing the sensibility for minutiae your work shows – how thin a rail should be, how it should feel – seems to be at odds with spending all hours working in a practice, as many architects must in the UK. Is it?
I customised my practice in the way I wanted to work. I think everybody can do that. You can always say ‘this is how I want to live, this is how I want to work’ and go from there.
You’ve alluded to a ‘slow architecture’. That goes against a lot of the demands of contemporary life and business: of doing more for less. How do you convince clients that it’s worth taking the extra time to develop something good?
By quality. One client once said, at a time when things were difficult: ‘Your best argument is the finished building.’ So I have to persevere to get there. Now I have more finished buildings it becomes easier for clients to trust. It was much more of a challenge for my clients to trust me 20 years ago.
If you were to talk to my clients, they would say: ‘We could see he was always sincere.’ They could see I was trying to do the best.
Even if you annoyed them?
In the UK there is a caricature of architects that they are all egomaniacs, waste money and have no idea of what ‘real people’ like. Do you recognise this or do you think it’s an irrelevance?
For our society it’s very relevant. I think that’s what this prize is about. There are still some people left who believe in architecture not as a money-making machine but in architecture as an art.
And yes, there are certain architects who are making fancy forms, but – big deal, so what! But architects who don’t know what people want, that’s a serious problem. It would hurt me if someone said ‘you did a thermal bath or an art museum which looks beautiful but cannot be used’. So architectural education should try to always focus on the ‘use’ – in the broadest sense of the word. Not function, use. I always think that there is something very noble to this. It is a noble thing to think how a building is used, because it has to do with how people’s lives are staged and how they are loved.
Do you revisit buildings to see how they work?
I don’t have to do this. I get this right away. I get the reactions straight away.
In the UK we have a housing shortage: Do you have any advice for architects doing housing projects?
I would like to do housing but I have never had a chance. I am trying to convince some people in Switzerland – a major insurance company – [I should] work for them. I told them if they had the opportunity I would be really interested in doing something for them – not high end. For normal people. Affordable housing. I will also do something in Holland, in Leiden.
Do people enjoy working for you?
When people work with me they are normally happy. I asked this young girl from Holland how she liked working as an intern in the practice and she said ‘It’s great! Now I believe in architecture again. I can see it still exists.’
In contrast to architecture school?
I have had the experience before that, when people go and study architecture at architecture school and they learn all these theories and the assistants are more clever than the professor and there’s all these talking heads, there is a gap between that and the real thing, which is the building. If architecture education does not focus on constructing, it becomes irrelevant for the building industry.
What would your advice be to a young architect starting now?
Select your school carefully. Select your professors carefully. Try and go to a place where architecture is taught as a whole thing – not only as a theory, but also as a way of living.
Don’t let any kind of gap come up between your architectural concept and living architecture.
What do you mean by ‘a gap’?
In architecture schools there is too much emphasis on the abstract: on the correct theory, idea or concept. Sometimes that stays very abstract and has nothing to do with real life.
I remember when I taught a semester in Harvard we assigned the students a house without a form. They could select a place they knew well and the research task was to represent a house with everything but drawings. This worked wonderfully.
Renzo Piano, who was teaching nearby, by chance walked in and said ‘Oh! You are working on beauty’. In a sense he was right. We were working on emotional spaces connected to the biography of each of these 12 students. I told them: ‘Don’t give me any abstract “because of this and because of that”. As soon as you start to talk about your feelings you are competent.’ And that’s a beautiful competence!
Today’s we’re interviewing simianamber!
Please introduce yourself
Hi, I’m Simon, I post my Descriptive Art under the name simianAmber.
Your concept is very interesting.. Explain your work to us!
It’s a new art form I came up with to suit what I wanted to do…called Descriptive Art, it’s made to exist only in the mind of the reader, the piece is completed in the readers imagination. It grew out of my artistic practice, I’ve written down ideas for art works for as long as I can remember, instead of sketches and so on…one day I realised that’s the bit I like best…and for the great majority of conceptual art you need the concept written down next to the physical piece in order to understand or decode the work…I decided that it’s actually the written part of the equation (the idea) that’s the important bit, not the physical manifestation of it.
Why do you rely on the power of words and imagination? Isn’t an image more clear to the viewer?
Well, have you ever read a novel, then seen a movie of the book afterwards? For me the book pretty much always beats the movie…because your imagination has done all the interesting stuff when you read the book…no matter how good the movie, it still can’t touch you the way the novel did. For me Descriptive Art does the same thing, it describes a piece but leaves out more than it includes, as you read through the piece you’re filling in the gaps almost without realizing it…you’re using your minds eye, your imagination, to complete the piece how you’d like to see it…I think it’s engaging the viewer (the reader) in a much more immersive and (hopefully) fulfilling way than more traditional formats.
Have you ever thought about making one of your ideas come true rather than only keeping them written down?
Some of them are real…but you’ll have to guess which ones! If you visit the Facebook link I include under each piece when I post it, you will find some posts I made there that explain how the idea came into being…
I was a ‘traditional’ artist for over 20 years before I developed Descriptive Art…paintings, sculptures, mixed media…but always starting from a written idea…in the past some of those written ideas became physical pieces…
If you had to make one of the ideas come true (no matter the cost) which one would it be and why?
Good question…if cost wasn’t an issue I guess it would have to be making the worlds most expensive object, (Death and taxes) just for the fuckyeahworldsmostexpensiveobjectness of doing it…then sell it and give all the money to homeless people.
Do you create in any other form of art?
Not at the moment in terms of pure art, Descriptive Art’s where I’m at these days. As for creating, I’m a furniture designer and maker, which isn’t the same as artist, but does lead into using lots of different materials and techniques, which is always engaging and sometimes leads in unexpected directions, which is the best direction to be led in.
Last but not least, what are some of your hobbies?
Walking, thinking, staring out the window, exploring the web…and of course Tumblr…what the hell did I do before it?
FvF Interview From Paris: Céline Saby
“When I’m back from holidays, the smell of the underground reminds me that I’m home. I like the people, the architecture, crossing the Pont-Neuf and walking along the docks moves me every time.”
With such a mind, the designer Céline Saby goes through her dream city every day and creates playful pieces that remind of childhood and the necessary innocence one should own. She sees colours and overall design as something essential.