THE AWARD
CATEGORIES
REGISTRATION
SUBMIT YOUR WORK
ENTRY INSTRUCTIONS
TERMS & CONDITIONS
PUBLICATIONS
DATES & FEES
METHODOLOGY
CONTACT
WINNERS
PRESS ROOM
GET INVOLVED
DESIGN PRIZE
DESIGN STORE
 
THE AWARD | JURY | CATEGORIES | REGISTRATION | PRESS | WINNERS | PUBLICATIONS | ENTRY INSTRUCTIONS

Interview with ADD Architecture Studio

Home > Designer Interviews > ADD Architecture Studio

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer ADD Architecture Studio (AAS) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of ADD Architecture Studio by clicking here.

Interview with ADD Architecture Studio at Sunday 29th of April 2018

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?
AAS: Both of us –Argyris and Dionysios- are architects. We studied together at the Faculty of Architecture at the National Technical University of Athens and have been collaborating ever since our University years, but have been knowing each other for a lot longer time. Our families have had a huge influential role in our becoming designers, our fathers being a civil engineer and an architect respectively. But it was not only this that led to a design-oriented life. We both felt the need to be able to combine knowledge from various disciplines so as to create something new. Something personal. When we entered the University we would constantly look around us and be thrilled by the new world presenting itself before us. The more we studied, the more we felt this was the place for us. Since then, not a day passes without at least a sketch. A sketch can be relieving some times. We guess that our innermost selves had always wanted to be a designer, it all just came naturally and felt right.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
AAS: ADD Architectural Studio was formed by us -Argyris Chronopoulos and Dionysios Koutsioumaris- after our MA graduation from the Faculty of Architecture at the National Technical University of Athens in 2016. Our graduation was marked by our Diploma Project getting awarded an Honorable Mention at the 2016 European Architectural Medal Awards-Best Diploma Projects- and getting nominated for the 2016 EU Mies van der Rohe Young Talent Architecture Awards. We were also selected as representatives of the Technical Chamber of Greece for the UIA 2017 Seoul Congress. Since our graduation, we have continued our collaboration as ADD –a collaboration spanning through all of our University years, and a longer friendship. We already have numerous built projects and publications in architectural and design sites and magazines as well as projects in progress.

FS: What is "design" for you?
AAS: Sometimes people tend to treat “design” as a rather “taboo” word. This happens a lot when designers try to separate themselves as an autonomous community. But for us, this is not the case. We believe that “design” is everywhere and everything. “Design” is both tangible and intangible. “Design” is a drawing, a plan, a sketch, an industrial product but also a piece of music, a way to talk, a way to walk, a way to have sex. Good “design” makes our lives better, bad “design” makes us sad and might also be dangerous. We sincerely believe that “design” is an innate quality of human nature. The ability to combine different disciplines, to think out of the box, to produce something originally benefiting. If there is something that our architectural background has taught us is that the best architects never received any kind of official “design” education. But they lived. And hence, they designed. This is why our motto is just that simple: “We design”.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
AAS: Just everything! We design everything we can get our hands on. Whole buildings from scratch, interiors, industrial products, expressive pieces of art, anything that combines a multidisciplinary approach and expression possibilities. And since we believe that “design” is both tangible and intangible, we also design music. Yes, that’s right, we also design music, we do not write music.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
AAS: We both adore Villa dall’ Ava by Rem Koolhaas. It is a private-commissioned house in Paris. It is a work that has had a great influence on our work, since it incorporates the seminal theorems to be found on the later work of OMA, which we love. Villa dall’ Ava is a great lesson on themes such as analogies, references to constructivism and surrealism, games of perspective and most of all: how to make a work of art a camouflaged personal expression whilst respecting the design’s mission-a mission surpassing our immediate needs.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
AAS: Our first commission as ADD Architectural Studio was for the interior design of two sibling stores in Arachova, Greece. The former concerned the turning of an abandoned storage space into a boutique-concept store. The latter revolved around offering a new and strong identity to an existing clothing store. The effort was driven by the desire to form a common architectural dictionary shared between the two spaces, thus creating a kind of an open dialogue while satisfying the unique programmatic needs of each space. The proximity of the two stores along Arachova’s central promenade axis favors the aforementioned strategy. Visitors and by-passers conceive the two spaces as consecutive stops along a single walk through the stores of Arachova. The similarity of the design imprint creates the desire to visit both. The design concept of each store is complementary to each other. The use of steel as the key material of the design concept marks the identity shared by the two stores. The similar light patterns create a distinctive atmosphere through the surgical use of LED tapes. Finally, the carefully designed movement routes reveal a dipolic case study: the former store favoring the customers’ linear stroll whilst the latter enclosing the visitor into a nautilus-like wandering. They were both realized with an interval of one year and have been published in architectural design sites. More on the projects can be found in our site.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
AAS: We try not to treat materials discriminately. However, looking back at our projects-both realized and not- we would surely admit a favoring tendency towards metal, marble and polycarbonate. We also like the convenience of LED tapes, but use them surgically and with great caution so as not to disrupt the overall design.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
AAS: Creativity might ring our door as we are working on a project our on our way to work. However we do know that when you hit a dead-end, the solution could as well be hidden in a stroll and coffee in the sunlight or a night drink. One thing is for sure: we feel the most creative when we work knowing that our customer is willing to hear what we have to propose.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
AAS: Since we have been educated as architects, we feel lucky that we design on a multi-scale basis since the very start of a project. We like to investigate how ideas work on both a big and a small scale, both on a conceptual and a construction level. However we believe that practicality, usefulness and visual aesthetic are the key elements to a good design. But you should also add originality and the element of pleasant surprise so as not to have a boring design.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
AAS: It is a strange mix of enthusiasm, happiness, and self-doubt. But after a number of tries, the doubt turns into confidence and you know you are on the correct way.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
AAS: Relief! At first it is hard to believe. Especially when it is about an architectural design project, a place where people live. After that, you slowly realise that the design has started to live a life of its own.

FS: What makes a design successful?
AAS: It has to do with the Japanese notion of “ikigai”. “Ikigai” is the intersecting point of “what you are good at”, “what the world needs”, “what you love” and “what you can be paid for”. And this does not only applies to human beings –designers- but also on designs. A successful design is a design which is love at the first sight. It is not necessary to be a fully conscious love –you do not have to realise that you love a piece of design-. It is sufficient to say that a design is successful when you can not easily think an alternative to it upon asked, unless the alternative answer is even better. On this case, the successfulness of the original design is the birth of a new idea.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
AAS: The power of design to communicate its purpose without the designers having to argue on its virtues.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
AAS: A designer should not make the mistake to consider him/her self part of an autonomous community. What we design, from the smallest to the largest scale project does affect people’s lives. It seldom mediates interpersonal relationships and can even add to the overall formation of our psychology. A design also affects the environment, having a great impact on natural resources. Being society-caring and environmental-sustainable is not a matter of new-age trend. It really is a responsibility, not just for designers, but for everyone.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
AAS: We believe that the “design field” is greatly being influenced by the appearance of common-grounds and open-resource programs. Nowadays the knowledge is easily and more-equally (unfortunately not all-equally) distributed. This means that the basic resources needed to make an idea realization are spreading freely across the globe. So, in a few years –if not already- it might even be futile to name a person a “designer”. This is not a danger for the contemporary designers. It is a promise for the long inherited “designer and not-a-designer” societal gap to disappear once and for all. We expect a great deal of important designs to emerge from people who in another time might not have been given the chance of expression.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
AAS: Our last exhibition was at Bucharest, Romania for the Award of the 2016 European Architectural Medal Awards-Best Diploma Projects. We would like to have an exhibition given the right timing and opportunity.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
AAS: Our inspiration emanates from architecture, industrial design, music-especially techno-, arts, theatre, cinema and everyday life. Sometimes we like to experiment with the surrealist paranoid-critical method introduced by Dali and see how our minds’ “museum of inspirations” might reorganize everything we have read and seen, even if we didn’t do it on purpose.

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?
AAS: We try to avoid the term “style” and the connotations it implies. We prefer not to judge a design by its “style”, as the notion of “style” might actually lead to division between designers.

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?
AAS: We both grew up and live in Athens, Greece with everything this decision comes with. Of course the cultural heritage is enormous and great, but so are the difficulties. We try to use our country’s cultural heritage as inspiration. Since a great deal of it is based and formed by the Mediterranean life, the sun, the water, the earth, the air, we constantly try to think how we can use these primitive notions as starting points and see where the design process will lead. The end result is not necessarily demonstrating the departure point as a one-to-one analogy. And then come the difficulties. It might sound cliché, but the crisis in Greece is more than an economic one. A “crisis” in ancient Greek was the term used to describe a moment of serious and mature evaluation before taking a big decision. Unfortunately, what is left of it in the modern crisis, is just a portion including the will to be negatively inclined towards anything new, design included. But there is always a light of hope, as newer generations adopt a more collective way of thinking and of exposition.

FS: How do you work with companies?
AAS: We haven’t had the opportunity to work on a commission by a company yet. However, as architects, we like team work and always try to find the optimal solution in everyone’s interests.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
AAS: The selection criteria might differ greatly, so we are not sure if there is a good answer to how a company can select a good designer. Careful look into one’s portfolio is definitely a must. However, after the selection is done, we would suggest to the company to be open to what a designer has to suggest. This is the job of a designer. Why hire anyone to do a job if you already know what and how to do it?

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
AAS: It usually all starts with an idea. It might be a simple practical idea, or a more philosophical one. If it just a practical one, we like to see if there are indeed any philosophical extensions to it. This is not just a mind game. It is about trying to find a pure idea-guide so as to form a kind of filter for what design feature might come next. Then, a lot of sketches and 3d models or even physical ones follow. They all swindle until one moment they just fall into the right place. And you know the design is good when you can not add neither remove anything without spoiling some of its virtues.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
AAS: Positives: it is super rare to get bored, you can combine all your favorite sources (music, art, cinema etc) and create something of your own, you tend to have a different view on everyday moments as you search for your personal poetryNegatives: long working hours, sometimes people don’t understand what you are doing –since design is not yet considered a formal discipline, as a result you don’t always get paid what another profession might get paid for providing an analogous amount and kind of work

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
AAS: It’s in the doing that the idea comes.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
AAS: We believe that the most important and at the same time most underrated skills are the communication skills. A designer might be very talented, however if he/she cannot express and communicate his/her ideas, failure is on its way. And this does not define the designer as a failed designer. However it certainly deprives him/her of a lot of opportunities.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
AAS: We like to sketch a lot at the beginning, so as not to prison the idea into anything concrete. Books, philosophy, movies and music are also a valuable way of communication between us, a way to convey the desired atmosphere. Afterwards of course follow the clear designs, 3d and physical models.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
AAS: Architecture school has definitely lured us into long working hours. However, when the time goes by and the design seems to be refusing to find its way, we know it is a must for us to stop. We usually take a couple of days off the design, trying not to keep it in mind. It might sound crazy and more time consuming, but it does work. When you relax your mind it eventually comes up with the solution you have been looking for since the beginning. You need to remember to let your mind decompress. Getting into the habit of brute-force solving the design without any break from it as promising as it sounds, it is a really disanalogous time consuming method.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
AAS: It depends on the complexity of the object, as well as on whether it is a commission with a strict deadline or a personal experimentation. For example, our Silver A’ Design Award awarded “Reverse Pickup Table Lamp”, started with an abstract sketch in Athens in January 2017 and was completed in early May 2017 as a concept design.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
AAS: “Where do you get your inspiration from?”

FS: What was your most important job experience?
AAS: We both worked on a very prestigious Greek architecture office for 3 years, while still studying at the Faculty of Architecture. This was an invaluable experience, since we had the chance to work also as project architects for a number of projects and competitions, some of which are on their way to realization. The time we spent in the office was priceless since we really got to understand that a line is not something not to be taken seriously. A line on the paper implies time, money, weight, space, labor, light and shadow. All the lines must be in an harmonic balance.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
AAS: We enjoy all kind of design works, since each one is a different challenge. We design.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
AAS: We usually work as a team. On the rare occasion that a design does not start like this due to reasons of time and place, we definitely take is a team afterwards. We also like to propose to each other what it would be fun, interesting and meaningful to occupy ourselves with.

FS: How can people contact you?
AAS: You can always contact us via the “Contact” layout in our website www.addarchblog.wordpress.com


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.


Press Members: Register and login to request a custom interview with ADD Architecture Studio.
SOCIAL
+ Add to Likes / Favorites | Send to My Email | Comment | Testimonials
 
design award logo

BENEFITS
THE DESIGN PRIZE
WINNERS SERVICES
PR CAMPAIGN
PRESS RELEASE
MEDIA CAMPAIGNS
AWARD TROPHY
AWARD CERTIFICATE
AWARD WINNER LOGO
PRIME DESIGN MARK
BUY & SELL DESIGN
DESIGN BUSINESS NETWORK
AWARD SUPPLEMENT

METHODOLOGY
DESIGN AWARD JURY
PRELIMINARY SCORE
VOTING SYSTEM
EVALUATION CRITERIA
METHODOLOGY
BENEFITS FOR WINNERS
PRIVACY POLICY
ELIGIBILITY
FEEDBACK
WINNERS' MANUAL
PROOF OF CREATION
WINNER KIT CONTENTS
FAIR JUDGING
AWARD YEARBOOK
AWARD GALA NIGHT
AWARD EXHIBITION

MAKING AN ENTRY
ENTRY INSTRUCTIONS
REGISTRATION
ALL CATEGORIES

FEES & DATES
FURTHER FEES POLICY
MAKING A PAYMENT
PAYMENT METHODS
DATES & FEES

TRENDS & REPORTS
DESIGN TRENDS
DESIGNER REPORTS
DESIGNER PROFILES
DESIGN INTERVIEWS

ABOUT
THE AWARD
AWARD IN NUMBERS
HOMEPAGE
AWARD WINNING DESIGNS
DESIGNER OF THE YEAR
MUSEUM OF DESIGN
PRIME CLUBS
SITEMAP
RESOURCE

RANKINGS
DESIGNER RANKINGS
WORLD DESIGN RANKINGS
DESIGN CLASSIFICATIONS
POPULAR DESIGNERS

CORPORATE
GET INVOLVED
SPONSOR AN AWARD
BENEFITS FOR SPONSORS

PRESS
DOWNLOADS
PRESS-KITS
PRESS PORTAL
LIST OF WINNERS
PUBLICATIONS
RANKINGS
CALL FOR ENTRIES
RESULTS ANNOUNCEMENT

CONTACT US
CONTACT US
GET SUPPORT

Follow us : Twitter Twitter | Twitter Facebook | Twitter Google+.
Share |