Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Anna Rita Emili (AE) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Anna Rita Emili by clicking here.
Interview with Anna Rita Emili at Thursday 12th of March 2015
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
AE: altro_studio was set up in 1998 by a group of people willing to work in an inter-disciplinary environment (at first the group was composed by one architect, two artists – one of them belonging to the Stalker group –, one historian and urban planner and some collaborators). Taking its cue from the idea of inter-disciplinary activity, altro_studio has developed, from the very beginning, a research stemming from the specific field of housing, starting from nomadic housing (temporary house) and ending with the living unit. The activity mainly addresses the new ways of living the house: temporary, flexible, transformable, mobile ways of living the house. Understanding the new needs of the individual, both on a functional and on a structural level, is what propels altro_studio in its research about new technologies (mainly automation) and new materials with particular reference to the problems of environmental sustainability.
FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
AE: Our architecture can be defined experimental that is we experiment the impact a particular space has on people. Those effects, mainly related to the phenomenological and perceptive aspect, as Merleau Ponty meant, take their inspiration from a series of phenomena inherent to the contemporary reality that influence the conception of the living space by changing the individual behaviour living space is meant both public and private). We are talking about phenomena permeating the urban area (mobility, speed, complexity, etc…), natural phenomena (desertification, floods, earthquakes), or events concerning the whole world which, even interacting with different cultures and races, all share common elements underlined by terms such as information, consumerism, emigration, globalization etc…Our research is therefore intended as a possible response to a series of events, or, in some cases, rather like predictions sometimes approaching utopian solutions. We often wondered how it was possible to reach abstract solutions, forecasting future whether immediate, even starting from real elements.. The answer lies in what we mean by ‘real’ talking about a specific phenomenon. Moreover going beyond the event itself, that is pushing the phenomenon to its limits, new conditions, completely apart from reality, arise. Given that you can say that we are working on extreme spaces, which set apart the architectural rules, spaces according to which the concept of phenomenon is influenced by some fundamental philosophical theories (Foucault, Deleuze, Merleau Ponty) based on the connection environment-subject-individual, but also by mathematical or scientific rules, which have always been considered instrumental for the architecture. We thus work on spaces characterized by those contrasts that are usually part of the written and spoken language. Closed-opened, outside-inside, visible-invisible, chaos-order, rational-organic, under-above, etc. These are contrasting terms often matter of philosophical enquiry throughout history) that never reach the point of balance which was typically related to tradition (in the classic age they searched for the balanced proportions, for the balance between empty and full etc.). Indeed they exist just through conflict and contrast producing various new tensions which make people confusing within a confused reality. to reach extreme special conditions we use the movement as an instrument that shows a complex, but most of all, non static architecture. We base our research on this matter along two main directions: the individual movement, which refers to the wandering space and which is represented by the empty, the smooth space on which the visual perception is based and in which the fundamental element is the route. Crossing the territory the individual perceive the space so architecture becomes a cloth to wear and to bring with us, to be soon left on the territory once used. The movement of architecture as it acquires subjectivity replacing the individual. Moving parts and elements through operations such as rotating, sliding, flowing, overturning etc. it is possible to reach infinite spatial conditions in a short time no one of which prevail. According to us this represents an alternative and different way of perceiving the space in which architecture expresses itself, not only through the searching for a form, which for us has a deductive character, but through pure and simple gesture. Just through action you can always reach different expressions. To stress this concept, our architecture assumes a poor character; we use simple and essential forms, supported by the use of materials that are simple and economical. All this does not exclude the scenic and illusory side of architecture, through this real use of its daily gestures: sliding serigraphic glass doors, drawing rotating walls, lighting elements that, moving change the perception of the space and create unique optical effects. Each structure becomes a theatrical work with no end and no beginning and without a specific plot, indeed it expresses without a script. In this sense we can define all our projects as ‘kinetic architecture’ . It is interesting the study and the resolution of the architectural detail related to the composition rules. For example the ‘Mies Van der Rohe’s cross pillar is divided into four parts to let the walls slide, or the volume itself is broken to reach the same effect. New living types arise such as the semi-duplex, the double-face space and the holo-space, etc. Finally it is fundamental to notice that all structures are thought as the right answer to bio-compatibility and self-sufficiency. In particular the first group of architectures (architecture of movement) is characterised by natural and recycled materials while the second group (architecture in motion) is defined through automation systems, intelligent systems able to answer to the new technological living comforts
FS: What is "design" for you?
AE: to progect for humanity
FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
AE: houses, starting from temporary to living units
FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
AE: I consider architecture in motion group as my favorite design becouse I mean that are innovative future projects
FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
AE: small wooden house
FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
AE: wooden, steel and glass,laminate plastic panel
FS: When do you feel the most creative?
AE: I alwais think for idea of project looking contemporary reality
FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
AE: coherence between concept and feasibility
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
AE: indescribable emotion
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
AE: indescribable emotion too. is an mind creation that becomes reality
FS: What makes a design successful?
AE: originality and feasibility
FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
AE: if is original and feasible
FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
AE: we have very important responsabilities for society and enviroment, expecially in this particular time.
FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
AE: Paris, Palais de Tokyo, next Biennal of Venice
FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
AE: Being firmly convinced that architecture is a perfect synthesis of science and art, my inspirations are, on one hand, as I said before, the facts determining the reality around us (this finds expression in the use of new techniques and materials), and, on the other hand, the study of the various arts: music, philosophy, literature, but above all the figurative arts. Art has always been the utmost expression of political, cultural and social thought and is typically expressed and developed long before architecture. The knowledge of art as well as an artist’s mindset are essential components of the spirit of an architect. It is this “artist’s mindset” that distinguishes a real architect from a mere technician of architecture. Our ambitions are to look constantly ahead, at the world around us and project it into the future. Our goal is to offer real answers to the kind of problems that increasingly affect the reality we live in. What we are talking about are events affecting the entire planet such immigration, mobility, complexity, etc., or natural phenomena such as desertification, hurricanes, floods, etc., or even computerization, an increasingly fast communication, etc. … Our purpose is to discern, based on social, anthropological, political experience, what will be the developments of future society without omitting near-future scenarios that might be not so optimistic. In that case, our message becomes a warning that cannot be ignored
FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
AE: I live in Rome but in Italy is big ancient country this for an architect that think to future is very difficult
FS: How do you work with companies?
AE: continuous confrontation
FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
AE: they have to consider origiality and at the same time techonogical capability
FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
AE: I think for new idea and after first thought I alweis search for perfect detail resolution. When idea becomes detail project it means that is a good project
FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
AE: small objects
FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
AE: to work for reserch every days
FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
AE: design and construction
FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
AE: models and sketch
FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
AE: In any days it is impossible even to eat
FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
AE: before project is completed and convincing fron idea to design spend one year
FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
AE: I think design by myself and after a work with a team
FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
AE: I working for a living unit in L'Aquila in post disaster conditions
FS: How can people contact you?
AE: from email
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