All definitions are very boring, by definition. This is just one of the reasons why I can’t seem to define what it means to be an architect. Furthermore, to be honest, I’ve never thought of myself as an architect: I have never really learned how to draw, I have never treated the profession as a religion, I have never thought I could change something in the world through architecture.
I don’t work only on architecture; I don’t like only architecture, I’m repulsed by those people who live and breath only architecture.
Architecture, after all, has to do with the life of people. Your way of looking at things is revealed in your craft. Even with friends, I only speak if I have something to say, otherwise I’m quiet. Good and bad taste don’t exist. Personal taste exists. And, of course, the work is more successful if the architect and the client tend to have the same tastes. After working on architecture for many years I can say with certainty that what convinces me to accept a job is the knowledge that the client and I share the same values.
My reference points come from the sectors that orbit around architecture. What influences me less is architecture itself. Cinema… yes. Dance, theater, the visual arts, literature, food, music, music, music... The people who inspire me are Richard Serra, Mira Schendel, Jacques Tati, Ingmar Bergman, Pina Bausch, Julio Cortázar, Robert Wilson, Robert Lepage, Radiohead, Gavin Bryars, João Gilberto. I make a constant effort not to specialize. Doing only one thing in life does not fulfill me.
This is why I make conceptual art, cinema, I direct musical shows, I make set designs; I write texts, design furnishings and objects, and also make architecture. Here too I do my best not to specialize. I design houses, offices, apartment buildings, shops, clubs, restaurants, hotels, banks. In every project I try as much as possible to invent and reinvent, because I don’t want to repeat myself, to do things that have already been done. I don’t have a particular preference for a single material, color or feature… I just choose what seems to be most suitable each time.
Finally, I think designing a doorbell or an office is the same thing. What interests me is to design the doorbell for the office I have designed. In Europe I have two favorite cities: London and Venice. London due to its incredible fusion between a modern city with uncontrolled growth and a small country village. Venice because of its surprising spaces.
Emerging from a narrow alley and finding yourself in a big square is always thrilling. I live in a building from the 1960s. I think the ideal home should provide comfort and reveal the personality of its inhabitant, through furnishings and objects… or perhaps through their absence. Respect for the client is the indispensable condition for a successful project.
Designing a house, we have to remember that it is not our house, but that of the client. This is the difference that makes all the difference.