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Interview with Barry Copeland

Home > Designer Interviews > Barry Copeland

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Barry Copeland (BC) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Barry Copeland by clicking here.

Interview with Barry Copeland at Monday 8th of May 2017

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
BC: Copeland Associates Architects was established 1997 in Auckland New Zealand. Over the past two decades the practice has been responsible for a wide range of work, from buildings for health, education and research, public infrastructure particluarly sporting complexes, through to residential developments and private houses. The practice is rooted in substantial experience and the commitment to deliver an effective professional service to clients. Innovation, sustainability, teamwork, economic design solutions and expressive materiality are some of the core concepts of our Studio.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
BC: All kinds of community projects and infrastructure, Multi-unit housing, compact residences including free-space multi-use cabins.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
BC: Steel, Concrete, parametric design, The hand drawn

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
BC: After a cup of coffee! No, It has to be after talking to an excited client or having an inspiring conversation someone.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
BC: The Plan. The Form of Construction. Embedding the form into the existing context and drawing from existing historical references to the ‘place’ .

FS: What makes a design successful?
BC: A design is successful when it is enjoyed exactly as it was envisaged by the designer, for then the needs of the client and the vision of the architect have truly been realised in the form of a successfully functioning amalgamation of spaces.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
BC: Its validity in its context, how it serves the people and community it was realised for.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
BC: A responsible designer must respect the eco-needs of the environment and limited tracts of urban land. While keeping this in mind, a space must imbibe within itself ethereal qualities that stimulate the inhabitants and observers of the space to better the quality of life; participate keenly in the functioning of the society rather than being a mere static built mass.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
BC: Design today is largely governed by digital realisation tools that have helped re-integrate mathematics with mass, proportion and form of architectural elements that enclose a space. The future of design is open to a vast array of visionary possibilities. New materials will help make architectural mass ‘lighter’ and more efficient, modulating light and other sensory elements to the fullest.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
BC: My inspiration comes from Books, Conversations, Research, Travel, Culture, Experiences

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?
BC: Maximising spatial efficiency in constrained environments Sustainable Pure, solid forms highlighted with a dash of colour Expressed structural elements Exposed materiality

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?
BC: Auckland, New Zealand

FS: How do you work with companies?
BC: We have a very collaborative work ethos and design development methodology, integrating clients, technical consultants and manufacturers

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
BC: An effective relationship may be established between companies and designers who compliment each others skills and values. The selection process may involve referrals or a comparative analysis of skill sets and recognition of what each company brings to the table.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
BC: Our design process involves a lot of sketching, hand-drafting and modelling to tease out economic design solutions, through combination of spaces and materials while celebrating light, air and movement. The process of design development involves a constant re-iterative dialogue with the client and consultants to achieve an optimised design

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
BC: 1. The big orange entry door to our house. 2. Our massive floor to ceiling book shelves 3. My wife’s sculptures 4. The square Aalto table from Artek 5. The heritage Hospital bar stools

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
BC: Find you style- stick to it, Develop it and make it yours.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
BC: Negatives: The forever search for perfection. Positives: The architect has the potential to encourage change in the way a community functions by introducing a small, well-designed module that brings together different technical fields in a cohesive whole.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
BC: To nurture working relationships

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
BC: Technical proficiency Enhancing the landscape Understanding the inhabitants’ requirements Flexibility and open minded Resolute expression of a Signature Being able to forge successful relationships/ being personable

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
BC: Copic Markers Drafting board with H-lead clutch pencil A0 brown sketch paper roll Foam board and card models BIM modelling software

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
BC: Prioritise the important tasks first and set out a daily plan at the start of the day. Writing down what needs to be done the next day before going to bed I find is a good way to declutter the brain so you start the next day fresh.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
BC: It’s like asking how long is a piece string? Each object requires its own set of rules and parameters depending on the type of object. Each type of object will have a different time frame, so to answer this question I would have to say it depends on the object that I am designing.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
BC: Working for Sir Norman Foster

FS: Who are some of your clients?
BC: Majority of our clients tend to be organisations but we also have family and friends as clients too.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
BC: I enjoy the model making side of the design, that to me is when a design form can be truly realised once it reacts with physical daylight.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
BC: The practice believes in the power of teamwork and collaboration. Every Tuesday evening we roll out a long piece of brown kraft paper and with wine in hand we sketch out all our ideas which initiates a visual conversation. We work closely with our clients, engineers, constructor and other specialists, from inception to completion of projects

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
BC: We have an awesome Trekkers Cabin that we are in the refining stages of that is worth talking about. This Smart cabin, we believe is the next big idea to answer the ever growing demand for the trekking tourism industry. Smart Cabins are all linked through an app that offers live resources information and the ability to be able to summon rescue drones to deliver resources to isolated locations. For more information check it out here at https://www.copelandassociates.co.nz/thearcticpod-award-winning-architecture/sustainable-cabin-architectural-design-nz

FS: How can people contact you?
BC: You can visit out website: https://www.copelandassociates.co.nz/ Or check out our instagram: https://www.instagram.com/caa.architecture/ Or our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/CopelandAssociatesArchitects/


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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