Actions, thoughts and feelings are influenced by the atmosphere created by the surroundings. Architecture defines and modifies the environment, from the urban context to the product design, from the breathtaking monumentality of a city to the emotion of holding a beautiful small object. We believe in bringing design and materiality back to the essentials, the feelings. Because every function should be shaped in order to produce an emotion. That is the aim of architecture.
Materiality + Light = ATMOSPHERE + Functionality = ARCHITECTURE
LANGUAGE AND ARCHITECTURE
Nothing can be universal, Wittgenstein said. All human beings are rationally bonded to the language. The language is different depending on the context, has different rules and thousands of different details. So there cannot be categorical principles or general imperatives. There cannot be fundamentals. Nothing is universal.
But what happens if the language is universal, like in architecture? Plans, sections and elevations are the way architecture has been expressed from the moment someone wants to construct something complex. Is there then a sense of universality in architecture?
ABOUT THE DETAILS
In 1975, when asked which writers he likes, Nabokov, born in 1899, said that he didn’t appreciate writers who couldn’t see the wonders of the century. Not the big achievements but the small things, like the casual style in people’s dressing, the bathroom that overcomes the dirty washbasin, the freedom of speech, ...
Same happens in the design of a house. It is difficult to appreciate the architect who doesn’t pay attention to the small details that give comfort to the user. For example the position of a closet in the entrance of the house or the doors (especially bathroom doors) hidden from living spaces avoiding corridors... Only the accumulation of small details makes architecture great, or at least seems a very decent way to it.
THE COPY AND THE CREATION
A businessman goes to an advertising agency. He wants a commercial for his product and points a video clip of a famous singer as a reference. He is so convinced about the video that the ad man copies the song, the costumes, the colours, the voice, everything. Even the actress looks like the famous singer. In the copy everything looks, smells, sounds right but feels totally wrong, doesn’t make any sense. Nobody can explain it and the businessman rejects it. Someone says: it’s just not the original! (Madmen, 3rd season, episode 4).
That is what happens when you copy without understanding the essence of what you copy. The copy cannot apply to superficial finishes. It needs to be able to distillate what makes something good, elaborate it and explain it in a new way. Picasso said that the mission of the artist is not to invent but to discover. Maybe it is related to this. Not to create but find.
ARCHITECTURE AS A STORY
Many movies nowadays are about action, killings, shootings, fights, blood, explosions so that the mind gets exhausted and there is no room for the story behind. People get so used to that kind of movies that they lose the capability to see deeper meanings. But only good movies tell a deep story.
There is a need in telling a good story also in architecture. Starting from a big concept to the smallest detail, there is coherence, a storyline, an intention, a pattern, a system... But same as in the movies, some architects don’t tell a story, just give fireworks easily recognizable by the public. Then the people´s minds get deformed, lose capacity to see behind and search for a story in a building. They just look for more fireworks and cannot anymore recognize the building story.
Understanding the story is very important because the public, the user, is a key person that has to complete the great story told by the architecture, has to participate as part of it. It is essential to make the user part of the architecture.