Take adequate precautionary measures at Casa Garriga


We steal up to the Casa Garriga at an unusual time of day to avoid certain type of revenge from clients who are understandably somewhat annoyed. In a profession which manages its fees with dubious efficiency, showing off the architect’s curriculum has become one of the profession’s chief incentives. If he or she doesn’t know how to get paid well, at least they have the consolation prize of being photographed a great deal and becoming more widely known. But when the client, poor thing, decides to hinder such a modest display of egocentricity so natural to the decadent aristocracy of our profession, poor things, some of us architects suffer from the consequences of rabid convulsions. Sometimes these convulsions are assuaged by deliberately delaying an all-important signature on official certificates, meaning the client will remember us for a very long time. However, this may lead to the danger one day they will catch us trying to show the building to a colleague or an architecture critic. In such cases people become very creative and resort to dissuasive techniques of an extremely varied nature. In the case of the Casa Garriga such revenge materialised in the form of a hosepipe issuing a surprisingly highly pressurised jet of water. It’s clear we did something not only badly, but very badly indeed – we did not take adequate precautionary measures. Such a blunder is completely unacceptable.

Dong Si


Action! The new Běijīng of businesses, consumers and feelings of fascination and mistrust towards the West comes across as something between arrogant and resolute on the little streets which lead to the so-called sìhéyuàn, enclosed patios between little houses which are grouped around alleyways called hútòng. The city’s underground system is expanding and wants to build shopping centres above its stations to take advantage of the crowds passing through. Nobody needs to be reminded of the economic implications, but the urban planning and architectural ones are another story.
People with recognised influence and manifest executive capacity propose Běijīng’s imperial character as a starting point for designing the new building. There are many chiefs and many interests. We will clearly have to think very carefully before stating our point of view. Our skills and prestige are what brought us to take part in the project, but we tend to work the other way round and our proposals take everybody’s point of view into account.
While adopting a show of humility so common in traditional Chinese culture, but forgotten in the present day, from here on the great buildings in the city begin to look at us. We thus slightly redraft a classical way of understanding things for them. Imperial? The Hall of Supreme Harmony, ‘tài hé diàn’, located in the Forbidden City, ‘zi jìn chéng’ (literally ‘Purple Forbidden City’).
Drafting provides enough freedom to make it evident that influences are strong. We lift up the points of the roofs to sharpen our views, intimating that the expanse of tiles could be a sheet under which all of us can play at being the little ghost. However, ‘imperial’ implies weight, inflexibility and that reminds us. So we listen again to what the place will be used for and thus, just as rushes bend with the wind, we agree while sneaking a glance at the grid of nervous hútòng alleyways. The scheme will try to satisfy the relentlessly repeated demands to build according to conventional models, but while also partially retaining the appearance of the traditional hútòng. In elevation the porticos show their imposing, imperial face and are positioned on the ground along lines which find inspiration in the city’s traditional urban planning. This hidden contribution is a layout which emerges both from tradition and from the need to seek out the structure of the underground station already under construction and above which the building will appear. The new porticos have several workable positions and many unviable ones, resulting in a dance which will look to the hútòng to establish order.

Frankie’s chronology


081004 Melting pot. It all began when we realised that a lot of cutlery had been made throughout history. And a lot of it was good. We were struck by a major doubt about what strategy to follow – to design and manufacture – which was what was expected of us – or to pick and choose, thus accepting that part of our job had perhaps already been done for us. An idea was proposed and given the name optimum cutlery. This involved choosing the best pieces of cutlery for each meal – regardless of the brand or designer – and putting all of them together in one collection. They would all have different designs; and would all be equally ideal. A melting pot.

141004 A history of cutlery. Of course, it seemed like we weren’t going to be doing anything at all. But, in truth, the topic had caught our interest. We decided to research what cutlery was really about. Initially, we discovered that from a western perspective cutlery began with spoons, followed by knives, and later a second knife to stop steaks from sliding off the plate. It was only then the fork only emerged. 

191004 On order, limits and singularity. Whilst immersed in cutlery, we also started to think about bowls and other receptacles. So we looked into where food was laid out on a plate or tray, how it disappeared from the plate – and into our mouths – or how the food that nobody wanted was left on a tray. Has anyone ever noticed what a table looks like when a meal has finished, but the plates remain behind? Look at the photos again. At this stage we also dealt with the problem caused by mass production when trying to create a unique piece. Everybody likes to have something different.

101004 Presentation to FA. Well, we had to present our enquiries and proposals to the master chef Ferran Adrià (henceforth FA). We arrived in his laboratory with a collection we had already created called Técnica. We also presented the Optimum Collection, mentioned above. We discussed bowls and serving surfaces too. 

151104 The meeting-Frankenstein. This time we met in our LAB, our workshop. We had a not inconsiderable number of pieces of cutlery of all sizes, quite a lot of materials (although steel was the most predominant) and various colours. The cutlery was spread out over the tables and we began to examine it with the help of Marc Cuspinera and Damián García Puig on behalf of the FA team; Miquel Cunill, silversmith; and Neus Canals. Marc argued – imitating a voracious swallower of soups – that we had to study the use of the pieces and he questioned the current trend of increasing the size of cutlery. Someone said that a piece should be associated with a concept, that it should be pretty and simple but with some kind of idea behind it. Others simply helped by proposing that it should be the best cutlery in the market. Very good. As the option of studying the pieces gained points for being productive and enjoyable, comments began to be made. This piece was comfortable, the other was the right size, the one over there was lightweight, etc. Yes, all of these were good things, but put together in one piece they ended up looking like an image of Frankenstein. This was a clue. 

161104 What we are eating. Besides having made a collection of the most outstanding pieces, we began to think about our daily reality. The world of set menus, fast food, intimate dinners with a few friends and large festive meals, or visits to a Michelin star restaurant. We then moved on to discuss different ways of ingesting a dish and the different accessories we use, which depend on the place, the type of meal and even the time of day. We also focused on the menu itself – what is eaten in prison, how saline solution is inserted in hospital patients, what the restaurant on the corner offers you for lunch everyday. 

221104 Evolution of the species-Part II. Well, we needed to discover the features of the new pieces, find out why we would want to use them. So we decided to look at the way different cultures handled food at meal times in traditional practices such as feng shui and kashrut, and thought about whether we should consider different ways of eating well-known dishes. Perhaps spoon-knife-fork are not the most appropriate pieces for some specific food activities – maybe a sponge could be used to mop up sauce without putting on weight?

101204 Reinventing garlic soup. Food is not for playing with, that much we were sure. We decided once and for all to search for perfect features in the world’s cutlery. Analyse the best pieces in order to separate and examine their characteristics. It seemed like a reasonable way to reinvent something as simple as garlic soup. 

151204 Presentation of plan-fusion cutlery. Fusion was a bad name, but it described the process we had followed. Technical analyses had led to a piece with perfect proportions and a perfect shape. However, it was somewhat soulless. The search for references and features from other pieces, a happy mixture, gave it a touch of vital spirit.  Therefore- pure form + mixture = new cutlery

151204 *Knife fusion. We created a power point presentation to explain all this.

151204 *Cutlery in space. Not only did we examine cutlery and its uses in other cultures, but we also considered how the process of eating would be approached in an extreme situation, which was physically distinct from our daily worldly habits. This investigation led to results that were mainly based on images, so we decided to create another power point presentation.

201204 Neobaroque meeting. This time FA received us in a little chapel that he has inside his laboratory – a chapel or a chapterhouse. Incredible. He looked at the pieces and pointed out that the design was perhaps a bit too Vinçon, the design shop, but that he also had an Aunt Maria who watched soap operas. Vinçon clients could be his customers too. Inspired by the room, with its walls covered in carved wood, he remembers a hotel in a distant city, and brings up the subject of the baroque, of decoration. This gives rise to the idea of engraving, of tattooing as a way of treating the cutlery’s surface. Put some patterns on the spoon, love.

240105 List of gadgets. When you are stuck on an idea, it helps to take a step well back and to act rather than to think. We began to draw up a list of possible gadgets, highly specialised accessories for different aspects of the art of good eating. These gadgets were divided into two major groups – those that were ingenious and those that were absolutely ludicrous and worthy of being published in a magazine about crazy inventions. The first group aimed to solve problems such as how to eat a soup or control the temperature of ready made foods in an uncomplicated fashion. A combination of improbable foods with nonsensical mechanics predominated in the second group of eccentric gadgets.

010205 Report on cutlery. To fulfil our duties to the press, we had to compile a report which we called God-given cutlery. The name was chosen as the cutlery mixes a basically technical process with frequent touches of tradition – this mix gives the pieces a human feel.

010205 Gadgets. We looked for existing gadgets in the world of cuisine, drawing up a list that ranged from the spaghetti server to the corkscrew.

210205 *Laying the table. Searching for clues in the position of cutlery, we devoted a few days to studying the protocol of laying a table, to see what emerged. Well, if nothing else, we at least learnt good table manners.

220205 Frankenstein de Luxe. We began to try to find a definition by putting together phrases, looking for adjectives and examining the monster’s anatomy. 

220205 The definition. In the end we came up with a definition that has a little bit of dictionary and not too much colloquial about it. That is more or less where it stands. It is one of those definitions that help the construction process, because you carry on creating and want to know what you are holding in your hands. If it’s a bomb, it could explode.

210505 CV Faces MDM. Due to all that stuff about the glamour of the creator, a word that we have vetoed at EQUIP, they asked us for a biographical description. The first attempt for Miquel de Mas went something like I didn’t talk much before…

210505 CV Faces XCL. The same went for Xavier Claramunt, who, in a statement somewhere between provocative and disastrous said I don’t have a fridge… to finish, after listing the thousand and one fears of any mother-in-law, with total cheek saying that …it’s called adaptability.  

060606 CF Faces combined. It didn’t seem to be a good idea to describe ourselves separately, so they asked us to combine the biographies in the two languages which we use so frequently – Spanish and Catalan. Things were not looking good.

140605 Each person counts – 1 to 9. As it was not clear why pieces of cutlery come in specific numbers, we began to work with unusual groupings. Why is two a unit ? Why half a dozen? We found ways of counting in the world that have innumerable bases other than 10 or 6. This turned into a social and economic reflection on how the pieces of cutlery would be sold, in groups of how many.

140605 *The number 9. To explain ourselves better we drew up a power point presentation on the different ways of counting that have existed in the world. It was a light piece of work, with no scientific pretensions. As we do not know much about the topic, a simple collection of picture cards gave us some clues. What clues!

140605 *The packaging. If there was controversy about the maximum and minimum number of pieces in a set, imagine the discussion on how the cutlery would be presented to the clients. Should we use boxes? Or cases? They did not pay much attention to us on this point. We drew up another power point, for our eyes only. A piece of work exclusively for internal use.

210905 CV Faces 2. As it was impossible to get their approval for our proposed biographies, we had to keep working on our definition. At this point we only suggested joint descriptions; one of them said I am Francesc Xavier Claramunt Domènech – up and running. For Miquel there was an extremely modest I was born in Barcelona 30 years ago – good. But they did not like this either.

210905 Definition of the collection. Now the name Frankie appeared for the first time. It ended up losing the final e to become a pleasant Franki.

260905 Joint CV. We went back to the task of our biographies and this time a we were born 40 and 30 years ago respectively… would mark a downright failure in communications.

260905 Neus defines us. The business people finally took firm control and resolved the issue with a webfooted stroke of the pen in the style – They have shared a studio for many years… 

291105 Dear Anatxu. We then got in touch with a friend from the press, more precisely the architectural press, and sent her a letter to tell her about Franki and as a footnote invited her to the presentation which was going to be held in Madrid, the capital of Spain.

261006 Frankie’s chronology. That is what I am.

Origin regained


The sea, the seashore, the trees approaching the seashore… And the human being. We can imagine once upon a time when we humans were active part of the harmonious life of the island. But know things have changed, and the original agreeable relation between island and man has turned into an arrogant control of the second over the island.

Along the different stages for refurbishing and extending the Maricel Hotel, we have been pursuing a recovering of memorable and desirable original scenarios. On the first intervention we tried to make clear that the sea was there. Now, with this extension, the aim is to regain the trees and dry stonewalls that have been part of the environmental history of Majorca.

Maricel Hotel was built in 1948 as one of the first hotels specially designed for tourists. Thanks to his privileged situation, it was easy to extend its facilities towards the sea with terraces as a giant’s stair to the water. On this stage, the building first opened itself over areas more related to these terraces and the sea, using a series of arcades to enlarge the basement and focus it on the rocky seashore. You enter the hotel and find yourself intertwined with a scenography of sliding doors and evading walls, rhythmically placed to allure the sea into the building. This new arrangement treats the sunlight in a way that triggers you to walk with increasing intensity towards the sea.
This first aim was to recreate an atmosphere not far from the little caves and rocky shelters that are easily found all over the Mediterranean coast. Make clear that the Mediterranean is there, through filters, terraces and the new orientation for the swimming pool. REGAIN THE SEA.

The extension is to be built on two plots placed just in front of the original building. The main issues are how to connect, across the public street, and how to deal with the urban surroundings. In that direction, the extension seeks to stress the importance of the original building as main entrance and to establish an access to the new areas capable of generating an alternative context to the existing urban development.
The new situation is rearranged as a valley that makes its way recovering the technique of the so call marjades, the terraces used on traditional agriculture activities in Majorca. Creating these new marjades, the valley moves ahead connecting the new areas to the main building. Dry stonewalls deal with the soil on how to settle on the new areas. Sometimes, they both agree simply with slopes, sometimes, likewise the terraces that the main building uses as a solarium on its way to the sea, the valley sculpts the soil with marjades. Solid and vernacular dry stonewalls that give a desirable environment, detached from the constructions neighbouring the extensions.
Finally, we manage to stay just aware of trees and sky. RECOVERING THE FOREST, the forest that grows along a dreamed brook driving us away from the sea. As a casual path, we walk on a winding course that turns here and there carving the soil to allow entrance to the new buildings. We enter close to the ground but immediately we climb up those buildings conceived as vantage points where to place the rooms oriented to the sea. Regaining the forest, but again the sea.

Romeo and Juliet


Juliet dances and shows herself off. Juliet knows very well how to use the light the sun bestows upon her. Romeo says nothing. Juliet goes out by day when the light from the Sun can play across her body adorned with cornices, pediments and scrolls. By day Juliet lifts her faces to follow the Sun, exhibiting recently restored shades of time-honoured voluptuousness to recapture poise and self-assurance. Romeo says nothing. Romeo looks on and adores her. Romeo waits. Juliet is somebody. Romeo is nobody. Romeo waits, hieratic, impassive, as cold as ice, generously reflecting all the light towards her. She knows how to use it, to channel it through the gullies of her sensuality, taming it as she twists and sending it to sleep in her refuge. For Romeo it is enough just to enjoy the spectacle which every day and any day performs upon Juliet. After the unintelligible, wild light has played across her body, it is transformed and bounces back in the form of audible words.
Romeo is waiting his turn, which arrives as night falls. As Juliet runs out of fabric to weave her tangle of seduction, Romeo takes on a more central role. Adieu Sun, welcome the night. Romeo is sombre, pure, he emits a light which looks out timorously from beneath different masks. When the Sun abandons its place in the sky, light has to be created. Romeo undertakes to provide it and in doing so, he reveals himself to us. While Juliet swirled, he had to content himself with just watching her, but now he makes himself heard, emitting beams of light which reveal his essence in layers. Since Romeo is mere air, light from between curtains and from amongst stones of marble, which fruitlessly try to capture such precious light as night falls. It all slips away. Luminous clouds cross wooden surfaces, translucent across marble, unravelling themselves to meet Juliet and ask her to enslave them, offering themselves as a sacrifice to invoke the rebirth of her voluptuous display which they long for. Their endeavour is as enthusiastic as it is futile, but they know an impossible outcome will not stop them from trying. The suicidal light throws itself out following the capricious trace of the vines, explodes across the marble surface and emerges diffused from the water, flowing from shallow depths. It is all in vain. Juliet only dances beneath the Sun and knows not what to do with such a crazed outburst from Romeo. The only way she so sweetly responds is by letting herself be loved.
Romeo is nobody. Romeo is simply a longing to communicate with Juliet, a desire, the submission of a grateful observer of her display.
For Romeo is the interior, light trapped in a maze of marble, crystal glass which tinkles, cloths which swirl and wood which caresses visions. Something which was a lifeless muddle of textures filters into an ephemeral hint of fleeing light. Romeo is generous and reciprocates Juliet’s daytime display, but in his own way. He seeks to draw her closer, entwine his arms around her shoulders and embrace her. Beneath the enchanted waters of the lakes, Romeo glides across to find her and to brush against her tiny feet, though it may be the only thing he manages to do. Oh Juliet. Romeo whistles little sparkles which in turn whisper to the scrolls, cornices and borders as they slumber, whisper to let them know the day will return tomorrow and they can shine in a frenzy once more. But for now they must be patient and let themselves be loved, though it may only be briefly. And she accepts, not moving her feet away, and discovers her shoulders to feel the touch of his tendril-like hands. For Juliet is mischievous by day, but silent by night.

The Chameleon Effect


Amongst living beings there are those who live in groups, amongst equals. Others are lone, solitary beings.  The equals try very hard to be noticed in the presence of the others – in order to live they need to be one amongst many. The lone ones tend to camouflage themselves against the background, for safety reasons, to surprise their prey. Some are even capable of changing their outward appearance, of transforming their image in a way which suits them most in order to go unnoticed, to blend in with the moment and the place. This is a strategy.
In BT a paradoxical hybridisation has been developed between this strategy and living within a group of stores in a shopping centre. A translucent, interior surface has been chosen which is able to change its light properties like someone who is mirroring the light of day. The varying nature of the surface as the hours go by individualises the space in contrast to its inalterable neighbours, which maintain a constant appearance. This process constructs a repeated retail space of fixed dimensions, but attracts our attention during the morning, along the day and through the night.
The variation of light and its impersonation of daylight become a brand image. Luminous qualities take the place of furniture, objects and names. Identification comes from the atmosphere and not from something tangible.
This time round the animal is characterised by several translucent modular structures in aluminium and polycarbonate which house the whole radiant morass.  The minimal L-shape form of these units creates illuminated surrounds covering the walls and ceiling. The way they are fitted is not so important, as they are always adapted to the given space in the store in question, to characteristics such as the store’s ability to control the light which dominates the atmosphere and to draw in passers-by from the outside.

Homs el Born


El Born is a part of the city lined with narrow streets and alleyways, the only space where the densely packed old part of town allows people to move freely. A structure with medieval origins stands on a site where knights competed in tournaments, from which the district got its name, and where a covered market was later established by opening up a large square. Selling on the street is done differently – a stall, a street market, illegal street vendors, a stand amidst the to-ing and fro-ing, hawkers which use the ground to show off their wares. We find ourselves in the busiest part of the area where there are unexpected narrow alleyways which the sun can barely reach. We have now moved on from the former market to the assortment of shops facing out to the street. 
All these ideas led us to create a new kind of street, a space where people come and go, a hidden alleyway with a street market, a place for commerce. Sales are transacted in this shop which connects two different streets, a passageway signposted in large, bright letters. Theses give it an identity and once in place on the inside they establish a space and create a layout suitable for exchange, for trade.
Minimum intervention was required. The number of arched hollows in the façades increases in the calles de Esparteria and del Bonaire, meaning that even when the shop is closed you can pass from one street to the next. The ceiling’s Catalan vault and beam structure was left bare and was painted black just like the cast-iron pillars which hold it up. The existing concrete flooring was simply cleaned, cleared of obstacles and the problem of a continuous line on one of the side walls was solved by painting a graffiti mural in large letters. The other side accommodates the bathrooms and a small storeroom and the stone in the wall has been left bare as a finish. A contrast is thus made between the two sides with the continuity of the graffiti on the other wall highlighted above the flooring.
This is the flooring where clothes on sale can be displayed on carpets of metal-sheeting, a part of tubular structures which can be laid out at will. The layout for these structures will be determined by large luminous letters whose displaced shadow could very well be graffiti stretching over the floor and wall. Each one of the letters is made up of a tubular steel structure covered at the sides by a stainless steel sheets with open welded joints, leaving the two main sides of each letter to be completed with a methacrylate sheet on which stamped vinyl will be attached to give it a final finish.
One of the letters is mounted on sturdy wheels so it can be taken to the entrance and show one of its sides to the street. Looking as if they had fallen from an enormous imaginary luminous sign, the letters provide an advertisement to the outside as well as lighting and a definition for the layout for the space inside.

Hairdresser Effect


A mirror looks, but you can only tell by looking into it. When conspiratorial glances become established between two mirrors, an endless process is triggered off where the subject-object dichotomy loses its meaning and enters into an infinite repetition where the two merge into one. When two mirrors feel close to one another, it’s natural for them to be tempted to face one another. The fact something becomes entrapped within their game shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s the Hairdresser Effect, an endless illusion of an object or place entrapped between two mirrors which are looking at one another.
A small store for glassware is traversed by illusory holes, perforations intimated by pairs of mirrors which look into each other, look back and then look again. Several red glass screens join in the game of glances by compartmentalising the mirrors while perturbing the sense of space. They form warm shafts of light which stretch out beyond the range of visual perception.
The street is reflected inside, reproducing itself at the back of the space thanks to mirrors which have sought their partner on the outside. But we are the only ones who can be this pair, who look at each other and recognise ourselves in such an undefined place. What we thought was a small shop, we discover on entering is something which has reinvented itself as an illusion of a high building.
The mirrors dictate all the rules on the inside as well as offer a blueprint for the building work. Thus circular stainless steel frames contain the mirrors, hold the red glass screens, mark out the showroom space and create a layout, which the metal staircase uses to become enveloped in the sheeted panels and climb up to the first floor.

Sewing and singing


Sometimes, but only sometimes, things are much more straightforward than they look. Others are and even look as though they are. Here you have us in a former factory complex originally used by furriers and now – or more precisely, for quite some time now – has become a hive crawling with designers, architects, graphic artists, photographers and, wait for it, knowledge managers. The last profession in the list is indeed a ray of hope for this territory of ours of hopeless administrators, with those they manage being even worse. In the midst of such a rabble, a mess not even a pimp can understand, we receive an assignment which isn’t one as such, but will bring us fame and recognition. What we mean is a fame of the short-lived type at the family dinner table which we won’t make a penny from.
Well, let’s get back to what we were saying. If things aren’t straightforward sometimes, just sometimes, you have to make them straightforward.
We are standing on the top floor of a building in a turn-of-the-century factory complex. Due to its original use this is a space large, rectangular space with ceilings several metres high, windows in the two long walls running from east to west and a floor which has more pot holes than Barcelona beach after a trendy, all-night rave. As we are such smart asses and the right amount of pretension is just for show to the outside world, we are left with what is of interest to us. What we don’t like, we concrete over.
The first task was to create a new floor over the existing one, this time an even surface, a characteristic generally well appreciated by the majority of the population. The second was a drastic, but faultless decision – divide the space into as many different areas of use as we’d been asked to. Thus an area for graphic design was created and second one for a photographer’s studio, both separated by a raised platform towards the photographer’s studio. This raised platform institutionalised such a popular, but badly paid profession, also considered one of the worst due to its condition of a constant voyeur, or snooper.
But that’s where our hopes were dashed. Without getting told off, we realised that nothing was so straightforward. A response, however, had to be given to the basic needs of the new functions. Segregable spaces were required, areas which could be made private and offer visual control of those entering…. but every cloud has a silver lining. That’s if it had ever been bad and not the result of our slothful inertia. We started mumbling tavern songs. We adjusted the stand a little and, now with just the right touch of pretension, a bulb lights us up. Well, it was more of a flash, and what it did was dazzle us. Damn it.
Two basic areas needed to be created – for graphics and photography – but with the aim of conserving the sense of spaciousness. The main strategy consisted in defining the different work areas in a subtle way, providing them with the required infrastructure without interfering with the extensive perception of the space. To do so, one, two, three movements were proposed.

One – The floor in the main room is paved with wood in three rectangular areas. The electricity and IT sockets are begging to colonised by tables. These tables are large, metal structures on which lit computer screens are placed. Although not being used as a work tool, they give the impression of activity, something pleasing to the clients’ eye. The absence of infrastructures in the central strip determines it be kept as a broad walkway which leads from the entrance to the photography studio.
The imperative need to have spaces with more privacy for meetings and to cosset the hierarchical structure meant the petrified wood flooring would fold upwards to surround and privatise. The wall coverings from the cubicles which emerged were finished with glass panels, so as not to obstruct the light coming in from the windows and to still be able to see the original factory walls. It’s a little as if you lift up the carpet and crawl underneath, whether to debate thorny issues, or because you are tired of the hassles from your colleague at the work desk. Providing it’s not full of the filth people tend to sweep away far from the sight of others, of course.

Two. A pair of curtains. It seemed to a subtle enough way to partially segregate areas – not permanently, not completely, but as desired. Two ellipses made of velvet hang from the ceiling. One of them protects you from the gaze of newcomers once they have crossed the entrance threshold. Likewise, it helps such visitors to discover the space little by little – there is always the suspicion that there must be something behind a curtain and even more so behind one hanging from such a height. Very few can resist the temptation to gently draw back the velvet and venture into the space behind. Well, the idea of “venturing” is relative, because there isn’t really much danger as such. On the other side the central wooden aisle stretches out obstacle-free with the cubicles and worktables side by side. At the end there is the hint of what appears to be an attempt at a second velvet ellipse.

Here is number three, the stands. As the photography studio calls for different light and sound conditions to those required by graphic design work and administration, there is a definite segregation between the two spaces. Use is made of this need to build stands, which turns their back on the first space and blatantly look at the photographed subjects. The second ellipse appears once more in this second space, giving a certain sense of intimacy to the mirrors where the photogenic subjects, make-up and clothing are prepared. Once dressed up, they come out to be immortalised, shamelessly dressed, as is the custom at present, while they are observed from the slope with none too few rather more basic thoughts.
Three, four and maaaaambo. Ah ha!

Kaos Lamp


Click. Nothing over here, nothing over there. I can see, but I don’t quite understand.  But who wants to understand? It’s not a lamp, it’s light.  Pure and simple – when activated, it lights up objects and makes them visible. There is no defined shape, nor a privileged point of view. It lights you up in as many ways as you are able to look at it. It coyly hides its face, even from the photographer who is trying to find the ideal profile for a catalogue portrait – click, click, click.
Composed of two parts, which once switched on – click – fuse into one luminous cloud which appears to have no source. The illuminated part is a piece of glass with an elliptic base, which contorts itself through 90 degrees while diminishing in size to become a smaller ellipse, unrestricted by shape and form. The base is made of white ceramic which disappearsclick – when it gives off light.
Click and a cloud of light was created.



A headlight is taken from a car with a retro look from an era which never really existed. The headlight is co-copied completely freely to adorn a light bulb with a smelted aluminium keel. The project, however, required a more practical co-copy of a different, spotlight made of plastic, supposedly a best-seller, and this was dutifully taken into account during the design process. Clairvoyant minds counselled by advice from anonymous visionaries came to the fleeting conclusion that plastic looks cheap and the material must be upgraded to a higher category. This is when the aluminium casting comes back in. Although this technique remodels the design, the light is unable to disown its origins in an imaginary glutinous substance of plastic.

Who’s the Princess?


Does anyone actually know if there was a real princess behind the name of the well-known Barcelona street, Calle de la Princesa ? Of course there was, H. R. H. Isabel de Borbón y Borbón, Princess of Asturias, a twice recognized first heir to the throne of Spain who never actually reigned. She knew very well the difference between a stately queen and a princess of the people and she was very much the latter. A true people’s princess who became very popular, pure Madrid, the city which nicknamed her “la chata”. If we come back to Barcelona, a city with the noble title of Condal incidentally, a very non-specific name was given to the street which followed on from Calle Fernando – De la Princesa, or Princess Street. The decision was probably inspired by a touch of republicanism. Using such a non-specific name avoided saying which of the many well-known princesses it so graciously referred to. It’s not a bad way of giving a nod to all those playing a minor role throughout history, a practical solution which appeases everybody – streets, avenues and drives named after unspecified generals, primates and supreme commanders. When you come up against so many different interests, a right balance must be struck where you will unavoidably annoy everybody to a certain extent, but you don’t lose sense of what you want to achieve. In other words, the same applies to everybody, lump it or like it.
Where Calle de la Princesa meets the Ciutadella Park, the first floor of a solemn, bourgeoisie type building is being transformed into a hotel. A wide marble staircase takes us up to what was once a luxurious residence and later was uncompromisingly converted into a school. The layout bears witness to the fact it must have been run on very traditional lines. Despite such a graceless conversion, many traces of decorative cornices, carved doors and painted ceilings have managed to survive the rigours of a school regime. The concept for the present conversion is different this time as the design takes into account the interests of two distinct groups and promotes a sense of restoration.
The first group are the residents already living in the building and who will live there for the foreseeable future. From now on they will have to share with hotel guests who come to the city to relax and enjoy their leisure. The other group are the earnest champions of the scrolls, cherubs and other ornaments belonging to the heritage of a more refined age, the conservationists. Their role is to ensure we don’t forget certain parts of our history. Even though the building will need to be subdivided for its new use, the refurbishment will seek to restore the first floor to its former glory in a way which suits both interest groups.
The new structure will keep the regimented classroom layout while aiming to create little idyllic oases which give the sensation of belonging to a wide-open space. In each room the shower, wash basin and toilet will be housed in a well-defined nucleus around which a distinctive design for each individual room is based. The walls to each of the rooms will be built in accordance with the new design while respecting features from the original structure, its plasterwork and painted decoration, but without actually adhering to the same layout. Cornice strips and wall festoons will cross the new divisions, sweeping in and out of rooms, evoking their origins in more generously spaced quarters. The upper third of the rooms will be covered with mirrors. As the mirrors face one other, the scrolls, frames, cornices and parts of former walls are multiplied into infinity. The trick is in trying to create the sensation of a larger space, a stronghold of intimacy in an illusory greater living space which is now reduced from the superstructure of a distant past.
The neutrality of the semi-prefabricated nucleus and the informal design of the walls and curtains allow such echoes from the past to endure in its adornments and the illusion of a stately room, helping to create a new experience. Just like the silly idea of playing a princess from the past, even though she never actually succeeded to the throne.

Weird situation


WEIRD PLACE We are in Santa Margarida de Montbui, not far from Barcelona, South West Europe, in the Iberian Peninsula. It is a town surprisingly oriented to north, on a steep plot facing the town and leaving behind, at the very top and on the south side, a forest of pine trees and bushes. The access is placed on this north side, at the bottom of the slope, on a winding road like many others in town. We rebel at that given situation turning round to face south, looking to the top to the forest, and in order not to end with the mountain sanding our faces we sculpt a multilayered garden and provide an exit for every floor.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE ADVERSITIES The very one strategy is to rethink the situation using its own adverse conditions to change them. With a single movement we deal with the construction technique to achieve functional goals. The aim is to turn the other way round the situation with a meaningful process to change a given situation, considering it not just a problem but an opportunity. The process should contain the final objectives.
We have two families of adverse situations. Ones are orographical, the other are legal but both invite to perform a gesture. On the orographical side we have a plot steeping north that suggests us to climb and surprisingly to live in a wall. On the legal side, planning regulations state that just a ground and a first floor are permitted, to tackle that we will propose to live in a hood.

A GESTURE On the manner of the torero that moves slightly to avoid the horn and tenses the muscle just at the very appropriate moment to stay at that distance that mingles with maximum danger, a movement that places him in front of himself. On the same way, the retaining walls twist in a game of concavo-convex that holds back the earth, retain it and protect us from the weather hassle. The house stays alone, finding its place and then starts to climb the mountain marking its own territory. Two walls that change from retaining walls to roof surface define the construction.

TO CLIMB Benefit from the sheer slope can mean a direct access to the garden from each floor. Three floors, three garden levels. The retaining walls grow multiple and extend their limbs digging here and there making possible this direct access from each floor. A garden for every floor.

LIVING IN A WALL The two retaining walls define the spaces to live in. Walls allowing the dwelling to fit in their concavity and holding up the earth behind with the convex side. Both walls fold to shape the roof but eluding to meet each other leaving a split to look through. Thanks to that the living room and kitchen face the garden and the forest on the south side through a glass façade. This so called living floor is under a sort of hood defined by one of the walls and looks over the roof that forms the second retaining wall over the bedrooms. The house seeks its own reflection.

TO BE HOODED Planning Regulations allow to build a ground and a first floor but to face south we need to climb further up. Then we decide to play with the rules and study heights and floors, and being a little curious we find a special level: the garret. The north wall bends longitudinally and folds vertically to become roof for the living room placed immediately under it. Comfortably seated in that living room, now a generous garret, we take a look over the second hood covering the bedroom area and the studio. Those two hoods agree to leave a long open strip to allow views over the garden and forest.

Daddy, whassat?


From the motorway we can see something new shining, there, there! At the entrance to Sabadell. Daddy, whassat? A bit concealed by the protection barriers of the road on which we are driving, both when going and when coming, there it stands, this thing that is drawing our attention. Until one day we drive into Sabadell. Stuck in the great queue of cars that are tiredly advancing, the occupants of the vehicles while the time away looking for something. It is the peculiar way we now have of entering cities. The hum of vehicles on the motorway behind us reminds us of the yearned-for speed at which we came, and now in front of us we see the great façade of a species of heavy metal shutter that is concealing something from us.

The intervention takes place in the city of Sabadell, an industrial textile centre in the vecinity of Barcelona. Specifically it is located in the industrial development by the south entrance to the city, in full view of the drivers on the Barcelona-Terrassa dual carriageway, next to the aero-drome. This is the last plot remaining in a built-up block with terraced constructions fronting the streets of Bernat Metge and Joan Costa i Deu, with a surface of just over thousand square meters of façade giving on to these two streets. We are on a half-built plot partially occupied by three bays with a metal structure, one of them with a greater centerline with tahn the other two. All this must be turned into premises for a high-end car dealer.

First we COMPLETE, a decision that entails a twist in order to face everyone driving along the motorway or entering the city of Sabadell. The original buildings are extended in two directions: the longitudinal extension of the three existing bays and the construction of half a bay in one of its two laterals, right up to the boundary with the street. In the first zone the peaked roof typology is maintained, with the addition of a series of perversities to permit natural light to penetrate. Come and see. To this end we adopted two different project mechanisms: where we want to gain height for the space immediatly below, we extended the ascending slope up to the necessay height and then completed the other slope in a symmetrical manner. A point of greatest heigh thus appears. The second mechanism is used to build half a flat roof that opens the way for the light that floods in through the other half, which does conserve the original slope. A point of lower heigth thus appears. Alternating slopes and planes on a diagonal allows us to keep the unity of the enclosure, where stretches of lesser greater height appears as rhythmical anecdotes. The metallic trusses that extend the bays rest on two concrete porticoes in the central part and metallic pillars in the ends. In the second zone, a metallic structure supports a roof that ascends when it approaches the street and ends up by crowning the façade with a curved line. This is the display space for the vehicles, where the metallic summers bridge the existing span between a line of steel pillars ant the continuous and self-supporting structure of the façade. The final manipulation of this space seeks the degree of comfort one might expect from a drawing room, a car sitting smoothly on a rug.

Then we DISTRIBUTE, and an intermediate level is built inside the original bays with a horizontal forging and concrete pillars parallel to the existing metallic structure. The height is determined by the requirements of the activities that take place on the ground floor. On the second level is a car park for the staff and the management and administration offices. Ont the entrance leval are the workshops, storerooms, after-sales services, sales and display space.

Thirdly, we COMMUNICATE, which means returning to the initial movements. The aim is to shape a façade that will transform the building into an advertisement of itself. Daddy, whassat? A metallic structure was erected to hold two shells. By means of fibre cement plates, the enclosure is built to make the building watertight and to finish the inside. The second one, more external and not waterthight, is made from mechanised stainless steel panels installed longitudinally, parallel to the streets and road. This curtain of waves shrinks at certain points to mark the accesses and to give a view of the car display zones. The ratio of scale between the open glazed parts and the curtain of waves insinuates two distances from which to perceive the building: one from the motorway and road, in movement, and another one a few meters from the building, static, from street level. The middle point is a no-man’s-land. You are either far away, reading an advertising hoarding, or in front of the cars on display, about to walk into the building. The clue to interpreting the shape is provided by the protection barriers of the motorway, from where one has privileged views of the building. A fleeting brightness.

Factors, paradoxes and the big news


Hello, good afternoon. Good afternoon and not good morning as it’s probably very true that getting up early is as good for economic productivity as it is bad for human self-esteem. Anyway, after such modest pontificating, a faint attempt to draw closer to self-assurance of the Madrid character from the edges of the Iberian peninsular, we’re going to try to convince them that the factors which define us are unique and surprising to such an extent they generate paradoxes. We claim they are actually not paradoxes, or if they are accepted as such, then they are false. 

The Time Factor: The Three Scales and Paradox Number One
The Time Factor is related to the desire for the design-production process to be continual. To this end our strategy is to work on Three Scales at the same time, namely, architecture, industrial design and jewellery. Such a dynamic seeks to be clear and not mystical, although the unit is divided into a trinity in such a way that when events slow down in one of the three, we may continue to move forward in one of the others, thus keeping things going. We benefit from their different completion times as the processes are put to the test in different contexts and dimensions, that is to say different scales. Time appears to be one of them, a series of minutes, seconds or whatever unit, but architecture, industrial design and ornamentation consume these in their own way. Our objective is to make good use of such a divergence as if it were a factory with different work shifts.
Paradox Number One is directly related to the Time Factor and its use of the Three Scales: A small team and a whole range of disciplines? A paradox which proves to be a false one when thinking more of intensive work rather than one covering many areas. A clear strategy enables us to look at a chair, the sun which lights it up and the flea which may be able to jump over it one day – with the same two eyes and belonging to just one person. The effortless nature of the process not only makes this melee possible, but also the fact of working in three different disciplines at the same time is a way of reinforcing the process itself.

The Space Factor: The Place, its moment and Paradox Number Two
The Space Factor is related to the benevolence of being here, but also in other places. It is our will to be close to production centres, the places where reality makes the full circle and discovers once more those ideas which we have re-developed and re-understood on re-reading the very same reality. Being in a place is important in order to learn about implementation processes and the skills of those asked to carry them out. The human factor is fundamental. Such immediacy is valid for both industrial processes as well as architectural and urban planning ones. Once the right decision has been made after much persistence and resolve and we manage to be in the right place, where things happen and where things are accomplished, our responsibility focuses on making the moment be the right one. We may not know how to build a piano, but it is no less true that we are sure to have learnt something – if not the art of playing, then the ability to press the keys.
Paradox Number Two is directly linked to the Time Factor – A small office with big business strategies? A false paradox as the big business strategy is copied, but with something else in mind. The basic motivation is not economic in nature, rather it’s a case of ambitions and professional rigour – se è non vero, è ben trovato. That is to say, the challenge, commitment and also the ambition consist in being where architecture is, in its most operatic of forms that is sometimes urban planning. This is being applied to urgent requests. Rigour is the commitment to production and to keeping design and production unified, defending integrated work between designers and producers.

In short, the big news – we are going to Mandarin China, officially Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo -when abbreviated, Zhong Guo. To this end, we are adopting the Columbus 1492 strategy – you seek to go to one particular place, but you end up somewhere else. Although you may be annoyed on first arriving, things turn out to be even better. To do so we have had to do without the dogmatism typical of a virtual age such as ours – namely, excellence in communications networks are no substitute for actual physical presence. We believe direct communication to be fundamental for being able to talk and think with the people who will have to actually manufacture the products.
China is such a large country, state, association or tumult. The place where many others have already managed to demonstrate what can be expected of it. It will depend on us whether our arrival coincides with just the right moment. Pretension, in just the right measure.

We like doing things for people


We are making a display stand for Damm Beers, a bottle display stand which will be on view in all bars. It’s a small object, but it will be everywhere and will become part of many people’s lives. Something like this is important and carries great responsibility. We are also digging up a plot of land in Palma de Mallorca, so we can build a hotel. As we watch the hole appear, we are somewhat taken aback – the feeling is somewhat greater than mere respect. It’s a fear of not being able to match the promise of our technical skills, an ability recognised by institutions and substantiated by projects we have completed. You come face-to-face with something you are involved in and you are in awe. You discover your fragility, that deep down you are small, but due to some strange momentum you see yourself destined for an excessive act, at the limits of arrogance. Time and people will put things into perspective. We have also completed a hotel in Granada and another in Barcelona. They are both very different. One of them is an annex to an historic building, the Palacio de los Patos. The other is a change of use for two floors in a building opposite the Ciutadella Park in Barcelona. We are about to start on another in Jerez. We are in talks with the council to persuade them that, yes, it may be different, but it’ll be worth the effort. It’s something which needs to be tried out and over time it may even come to be considered something which was bound to have happened. We are also cooperating with the people at Layetana with a view to constructing a large building, a high building. Anyway, the main thing is we’re involved in projects. We’re also at work in the Ebro Delta where private property developers have started large housing projects. It is a delicate area, fragile, but the changes taking place cannot be stopped. We are there, but it doesn’t look easy. The mere fact of being there implies taking a risk. The secret lies in doing things with care. However, there is a momentum which is greater than all of us. It is bound to be beneficial, so we have to become part of it.
Faced with such momentum, we can but try to participate – which in itself is something – be participants and contribute with one of our designs, but while handling things with good care. We have decided on a strategy of First Do, Then Think. Counterproductive? We think not. In case of doubt, act. Join the momentum to bring about situations which are unfamiliar, unexpected, surprising and thus unnerving with the aim to achieving greater solutions. It’s an exaggerated, unsettling methodology, but it’s a way of opening up new approaches. A certain kind of innocence which is still capable of honing our technical skills and taking us to places from where we never emerge in the way we thought we would. Once the situation has been brought about, analysis takes place, leading to a solution which emerges while putting things into practice. This is unlike drawing up a design, trying to implement it and later on finding yourself up against a problem. In contrast, a solution will open up the way.
This is why advantage must be taken of dynamic situations we come across as we go along. Things which come up are taken on board and we continue to move forward at a considerable pace.This means collaborators as well as clients are forever changing. Because the only thing which doesn’t change is the act of doing things for people. Everyone who is around us, including the property developers, may come and go. They are dispensable, although nobody likes to think they are. The only thing which doesn’t change is the need to provide a service, cover a need which very often hasn’t been identified, but can be sensed on the horizon. This is why it’s essential to lay the groundwork well in advance – only Spiderman is capable of boarding a moving train.
Besides all these projects we have also set up a technical office in China. Going to China constituted a great risk. What we have learnt is that in China everything moves at a very slow pace and it’s essential to lay the groundwork well in advance. We have been there a year. There have been plenty of meetings and proposed projects, but we still haven’t even got as far as fitting a single door handle. We have needed all this time to establish contacts with property developers, politicians and specialists in the country and gain their trust while getting them interested in our projects. We have now reached the stage where we are still putting forward new projects, but the first ones have already found a way of going ahead. The process is difficult when faced with the bureaucracy and the peculiar way the Chinese have of implementing things decided on in a meeting. But it has also been very difficult to find an approach, a method once a project has found direction and has been set in motion. It needs to be monitored with greater patience and action taken just at the right moment in the knowledge it is moving forward very slowly, but it is actually moving forward. There’s still enough uncertainty, though, for any step you may take forwards to be moved back just as easily. However, the contacts we have established mean it’s a risk, but it’s not plain suicidal. This is the right moment for us in China. For something to happen you have to actually be there. We went there because we believed we should be there.  After entering into a partnership with a Chinese team and sending a member of our own team, we were forced to sit back and think about the next stage. Once there we had to spring into action, so while architecture was making its torturous advances, we sought to make contacts in the construction sector. A potential project emerged involving the manufacture of a pre-fabricated facade in China which would then be put up in Barcelona. We also looked at prefabricated modules for the hotels we are building, or prefabricated kitchens for housing in the Delta. This is how things stand at present.

But we are still considering new challenges.
A few weeks ago, NASA spokespeople talked to the University of Florida about the agency’s objectives over the next forty years of space exploration. One of the topics they dealt with was the fact that, as the US administration had made massive cutbacks in NASA funding, the agency was planning on looking for funding from private companies or investment groups interested in space tourism. Maybe the time has arrived for people to start believing in investing in space. This means not just receiving instructions from GPS system satellites, rather they should perhaps be given the chance to go into space themselves. Obviously, we are not the only ones it has occurred to.
Since April 12, 1961, when Yuri Gagarin manned the first voyage into space, the number of such voyages has only been four a year, most them carried out by the US or Russia.
In 2004, 3 out of 5 scheduled voyages were carried out by Mojave Aerospace Ventures in ships built by Burt Rutan’s Scaled Composites (Rutan is a legendary force in aeronautic design) and financed exclusively by the space entrepreneur Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft. On September 27, 2004 Richard Branson’s Virgin Group (Branson is the founder of airline companies or companies owning a single drinks brand) signed a contract with Paul G. Allen’s Mojave Aerospace Ventures to use its technology to develop the world’s first space tourism company. There is always somebody bigger than you are. They are thinking of going there and coming straight back – but shouldn’t we stay there for a few days?
We need to find a few contacts and see how we can enter into a partnership. And in the end, as always, we’ll do things for people. We like doing things for people. We are also people, but there is much more to it than that.

We appear on BTV


How do you define yourself?
Well, I’d prefer to be something else, but I think what I am is an entrepreneur.

What is your philosophy?
Our aim is to make things which will be useful for people, which are useful in a way so that people interact, talk, chat, do things together.
One way of expressing our philosophy is to sum it up under three principles, which we always try to observe. The first is to reinvent continually, which is like asking an acquaintance “who are you?” every time you meet them. Secondly, always approach people so that they understand what we are doing and they will find a use for it. The third is to have a positive attitude, not only ask “who are you?”, not only be closer to people, but also do it all the time, give answers. Make a contribution, so to say.

What is your approach to work?
We have a two-fold approach to work. First, giving an answer to concrete requests from clients – they ask for a service and you give it to them. That’s what is expected of you, but we also adopt another strategy, to which we give the none-too-original name of LAB. This second approach refers to the place where we carry out research and try out solutions which sooner or later – or even never, why not say so – will be applied in part or intuitively to the projects which have a specific client and objective in mind.

What kind of professionals form part of LEQUIP+CLARAMUNT?
Basically, young professionals. With just the right experience so they don’t make foolish mistakes, but they are also fresh enough to make a real effort and accept challenges, from which they can emerge in one of two ways – either devastated or enriched.

What is the LAB?
A purpose. A work method.
As people often say, I’m glad we’ve asked that question. I’m very glad.
The LAB consists in working on a particular approach or on a particular product before an actual client appears. Normally we have somebody in mind, we know who it could be, that is to say, really we do have a client, but they don’t know it yet. This gives us the freedom to do research. It’s like taking part in a pre-season match before starting to play for actual league points. These are not theoretical projects. They follow a specific programme with set objectives and specified hypothetical clients. They produce a number of products or solutions which go on to form part of a catalogue. Thus when a client appears, or if we bend a client’s ear to such an extent they feel it’s made especially for them, we can show them products or solutions we have actually already tested.

Importance of team work.
I only need to tell you that our name is EQUIP, which is team in Catalan. It’s a concept which means you can take on new co-workers all the time. For instance, EQUIP BTV. We decide to do a documentary about projects throughout history which were considered to be foolhardy and ended up becoming an everyday reality. There are also other foolish ideas which became spectacular follies. Maybe these are more interesting for putting on television. Who knows.

Isn’t it slightly risky designing a Galactic Hotel?
Risky, well, what you could say is that it’s a venturous idea. Let’s say it’s the type of project which you can only expect to be financed by people who come from more dynamic economic and industrial backgrounds. But things don’t always have to stay the same, you should let nothing hold you back. You can think about doing things anywhere and afterwards you just have to search around for a way to make them a reality, to find suitable collaborators.

Does the future lie in being multidisciplinary?
The relationship between architecture, jewellery and industrial design?
The future lies in working without prejudice. This will lead to you becoming interested in other fields, which then end up becoming an essential part of your work. If you are open in the way you think, you sometimes end up working together with people you wouldn’t expect to. The relationship between architecture, jewellery – which we love to call ornamentation – and industrial design can be such that right now you could also add aeronautics or space technology to the mix.

Does functionality have to make way for design?
A clothes peg is a design and it is also functional. The contradiction between function and design doesn’t actually exist. Everything we use has to go through a design process. It has to be thought about, adapted and so on. Design is neutral. Something which is true, though, is that bad designs also exist.

What do you need to do to get to do what you want?
To put things very briefly, in my experience to get to do what you want you have to be as stubborn as a mule. We can also talk about believing in what you do, persevering and continually improving, searching for and finding suitable collaborators, taking difficult decisions, risky ones, trying to avoid those which are just plain suicidal … But I think it is best summed up by the idea of being as stubborn as a mule.

In what respect do you think you have been innovative in your work?
Breaking down barriers in the sense of making proposals outside the boundaries of traditional fields. Especially with regard to flexibility in giving answers, responding to any question any client may ask, looking for all the collaborators we need to provide such a response. And if that should be a priest, then so be it. No prejudices.

Requisites for being innovative.
Managing to contribute something original and above all – something which is forgotten a lot of the time – insisting and constructing enough context for such an original idea to become a reality. Let’s say, managing to get your idea into production.

What do you have to do to be constantly innovative?
Let’s see, maybe it’s not a question of being constantly innovative, only when it’s necessary. Well, maybe we need to be innovative a lot….

What would you like to do which haven’t yet done?
Have a child with all the women I’ve fallen in love with.

Do you have to take risks to do what you want to?
Yes, but not in the sense of climbing a sheer wall without any ropes. More often than not it’s a mental risk in setting yourself challenges, which can be achieved little by little.

Does Barcelona provide you with work?
Yes, certainly, of course it does, no doubt about it.

What does your ideal house need to have?
Yes, of course.

Your desire?
Your paradise? A place where you could lose yourself?
I’d lose myself with her in a city like Bandar Seri Begawan where I wouldn’t be carrying a map, nor a guide, nor money …you know what I mean.

Latest projects. What are you doing at the moment?
Housing in Montsià, Catalonia; hotels in Mallorca, Barcelona, Lisbon, Beijing. All sounds very grand, but it’s nothing special really. Just plastering ….

And the Galactic Suites.



A practice is always determined by a series of repetitions and differentiations. Excessive repetition leads to sclerosis and inflexibility, and fails to exploit opportunities in new environments and expand the genetic potentials. If there is too much differentiation, the internal consistency of the work dissolves in the exterior conditions, becomes enslaved to the specific situation, purely local. There needs to be a balance between repetition and differentiation, even in the name of operativity of a practice. Operativity is not only determined by the capacity to adapt, to ply to changing conditions but also by its mastery of certain processes. And that mastery is improved through repetition. Techniques, protocols, handshakes are improved through the development of a practice, as certain modes prove to be successful. We have tried therefore to identify repetitions in the work of the office, and that is why it takes the form of a classification. It is in those repetitions where we try to identify the consistency of the practice, to construct a kind of fingerprint, an DNA of the practice. We want to see the outcome of these years not just as a series of experiments, defined by the specific conditions, but as a consistent reservoir of architectural species to be proliferated, mutated and evolved in the years to come.