How has your time in film production influenced your architectural work?
I worked in film production during university, which served as a foundation for getting into the mind of someone and then quickly creating a parallel world. Film sets work to tight budgets, which is great for pushing you to think of an unexpected solution to the unusual. I suppose realising the ideal world of a director in terms of set designer is not that different than realising the ideal project of a client.
Tell us about your time at Masilmiliano Fuksas?
The office in Rome was a full of young people, from all over the world. The environment is fresh and fast paced. Again the key to its success was to understand as quickly as possible what Fuksas wanted and then make it reality. Massimiliano Fuksas is a great architect and just having the possibility to work closely to him helped me figure out the process of creating. That is the process of “having ideas” strong concepts and fantastic design. Whilst there I worked on the Region Palace in Turin, master plans and the Montecatini Terme.
And, how was that different to working at Foster + Partners?
Foster + Partners is a completely different place. It’s incredibly organised with the highest standards in quality checks. This was perfect for my design development at that time. Whilst there I worked on the development of More London, the competition of New York Public Library (which we won), and spent time working on Canary Wharf’s Crossrail Station. That was a fantastic project following it from the very early days to designing a top-level park and restaurant.
How long did you work on the design of the Dri Dri pop up?
Ah, well that was a quick project but because of retailing downtime. The challenge was to find a solution that could have been built on a laboratory to minimise as much as possible the site timing. In fact, there was an existing shop on Sunday and we were ready for Gelato business on the Tuesday!
I’ve learnt that I am constantly learning.
What adventures have you had running your own practice?
Well, working in my own practice is a lot more stressful than work for an established practice. Before, I had only to think about the drawings, the project, etc. Now there is also all the other essentials to an office such as administration, meeting new clients and marketing.
But, it does provide a tremendous amount of satisfaction. I’ve learnt that I am constantly learning. And that now comes from a wide variety of people from all stages – design, construction, contractors and clients. For me, good design is a process, and that you can’t do that without considering outside suggestions. It’s very true that you never stop to learning in this field.
What do you think are key trends for the next five years?
Trends now last only few months, so I’m not too interested in them but I do have personal hopes and visions. More and more people now understand that architecture is something that is close to people that it influences all our lives.
It is in fact something that is born from our needs and as architects we have a duty to improve our surroundings materially, spiritually and environmentally, benefiting the lifestyle of people. I think architecture should make people feel happier and lift them.