SD Danish architect Bjarke Ingels is causing quite the stir globally, especially since he opened an office in New York City. His views on architecture and humanity are very interesting to us, and we appreciate his unpretentious nature and ‘cool factor’ that he naturally exudes. Check out a snippet from his interview below with designboom..to view the full interview go to http://www.designboom.com/architecture/bjarke-ingels-of-big-architects-interview/
what is the best moment of the day?
like, this morning I woke up, in a villa on the top of a hill in, ah, monferrato.
where it’s an italian artist’s house. and he made ah, the toilet and bathroom so that the sink
is actually pushing out of the apartment, out of the house. so when you are standing brushing your teeth
you could actually see from east to west all across the, sort of, the agricultural landscape of this part of italy,
with the sun rising. so I’m not a morning person actually, I like to sleep, but,
that was probably the best way to get up you could imagine
what kind of music do you listen to at the moment?
there’s a danish, all girl electronic trio called, ‘giana factory’. they are coming out with
their new album. I heard some of the early recordings from the new album.
it’s pretty good danish / scandinavian electro.
do you listen to the radio?
I almost never listen to the radio. in the taxi, it’s actually funny cause I’m wondering
how do you always know what are the latest hits, and it’s because they always play the radio in the taxi.
do you read design, architecture or fashion magazines?
I read wired magazine. if that counts.
it monitors the impact of technological innovation on contemporary culture.
so since, one of the drivers of change over the last decades have been, different developments
in technology, they are always up to speed with actually monitoring how does that impact
the way we live our lives and how does it impact the expressions of other aspects of life including arts
and design and maybe even sometimes architecture. but I think it’s like, maybe the one magazine
that is most purely dedicated to observing the impact and the source of innovation.
what books do you have one your bedside table?
red mars by kim stanely robinson.
it’s a science fiction book about the colonization of mars.
then it looks, almost like, microcosm that occurs when you start colonizing a new planet.
and of course, looking at all the metaphors — america started declaring independence
from england, once they sort of got established. there’s this whole philosophical idealistic
discussions about what kind of a state should it be, completely independent of what happens
on planet earth. it’s about capitalism, colonialism…
it’s a, almost like a really real world.
a political, philosophical book, taking place on mars.
… oh, and even the fact that on mars, there is a very hostile, cold climate.
that the environmentalists actually talk about preserving the existing ecology of mars, as it is,
where some people actually, proactively, advocate global warming because mars is very cold.
so they are trying to heat up the atmosphere and pollute it to actually make it an inhabitable
eventually for human life.
and the other book is about steve jobs.
where do you get your news from?
most news, I get second hand.
I read the newspapers, eventually I also read time and the new yorker on the plane,
but the most important news I actually get updates via email.
people forwarding me stuff. or just … the taxis in new york have, what are they called?
something like … last minute news… eye witness news!
I love the movie reviews from sandy kenyon.
'I'm sandy kenyon from the eye witness news movie minutes.' (laughs)
I assume you notice how women dress. do you have any preferences?
(laughs) that’s interesting… a onesie.
I definitely like onesies.
what kind of clothing do you avoid wearing?
do you have any pets?
I grew up with a cat, it was actually called black.
and he was.
when you were a child, did you want to become an architect?
no, I always wanted to become a graphic novelist.
and somehow, I enrolled in the royal danish art academy school of architecture to essentially
learn to draw backgrounds for the stories.
all comic books take place in built environments, and I was very good at drawing,
people and animals, and stuff like that, but I hadn’t spent much energy drawing buildings.
so I thought, maybe I could, and then I became an architect.
do you still draw now?
paradoxically, my drawing skills probably froze around when I was 18.
so I haven’t really developed my style. I mean I can still draw … a funny drawing,
but I haven’t done it, so it’s relatively a rusty skill.
sometimes when you turn your hobby into your profession you stop doing it for fun.
one thing that’s interesting, back then I collected a lot of graphic novels and I was mostly
interested in the drawings more than in the stories.
actually having become an architect, I’m almost the other way around now.
now I’m more interested in the story, how the drawings, the layout can help express the stories
and communicate them. that in a way the story is the goal and the drawings are a means.
back then I almost saw it the other way around.
where do you work on your architectural projects?
most of the work is in the office.
then, ah, we have this iPhone enabled exchange of sketches even.
if some idea pops up, then you draw it, shoot it and send it.
it’s actually a remarkably efficient medium for transmitting ideas.
let me see if I have one… like this for instance (shows designboom a sketch)
it’s something as banal as a sketchbook and then you forward it.
do you discuss your work with other architects?
actually all the time.
I’m seeing michel rojkind from mexico, in ah… ten minutes.
I have a lot of architecture colleagues in copenhagen and new york.
guys like simon frommenwiler from HHF. I just met recently.
in most cities I have one or two friendly offices that I tend to visit.
I really like to learn how other architects have organized their lives and their offices.
anton garcia-abril for instance, to see how much he’s gone into the actual construction process,
down to the point of — that in some of his own houses he was actually the contractor
because he couldn’t get someone to build it, at least not at the price.
so he rented a crane and put the elements in himself.
I think, as much as the blogosphere is full of lame feedback in terms of stupid comments.
I think criticism is one of the most important drivers of evolving your thinking.
but it has to be of course both, sort of patient, informed and eloquent.
so that sense, meeting with your colleagues is a major part of growing as an architect.
describe your style, like a good friend of yours would describe it.
well, very simply, architecture is misconceived as this sort of elitist activity —
'designed by architects, for architects'.
architecture is fundamentally this sort of continuous collective effort of trying to make
our cities and buildings fit with the way we want to live our lives.
and that is essentially what we do.
whenever we get invited to do a project we try to, to listen and observe what’s happening.
how has life evolved and how can we create the frame work to allow this.
to allow the maximum possibilities for unfolding for human life.
in a sense we are facilitators or - I like this idea that the architect is a mid-wife
that we help society continually to give birth to its self -.
I think, we have a very inclusive approach to design and architecture, in the fact that
we try to include specific inputs, specific knowledge, from outside the field of architecture.
so, it’s not this traditional, sort of ‘the clique’ of a ‘style snob’ who ‘knows better’,
but rather a question of trying to understand what are the concerns and demands surrounding
a certain project and then trying to manifest this information into a physical form.
… if it should be in simpler terms,
I think, architecture should be about the realizing of our dreams.
quite often architecture is only about trying to make things look good, or not look bad,
but for instance with the project we are doing in copenhagen right now were we are
turning a power-plant that makes energy and electricity out of trash.
we are also turning it into a man-made ski slope.
it suddenly transforms snowy but flat copenhagen into a much more exciting place to live.
'cause even though we don't have mountains, in five years we will be able to ski.
this is the power of architecture — you can really transform the identity and activity of a place
and essentially turn dreams into reality.
in a way as an architect what you do is you try to take your dreams and turn them into reality.
and once they become reality they become just as real as the everyday stuff.
what is completely wild imagination, somehow petrifies into being. this is how things are.
and this sort of, reality transforming power, is pretty fascinating.