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Interview with Architect.Bernard Gomez

Home > Designer Interviews > Architect.Bernard Gomez

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Architect.Bernard Gomez (AG) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Architect.Bernard Gomez by clicking here.

Interview with Architect.Bernard Gomez at Thursday 19th of May 2022

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?
AG: I am an Chartered Architect and alumni of the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. My architectural design bias is towards a culturally compatible and climate sensitive design, one that incorporates a design based on technology to arrive at an inherently low energy footprint.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
AG: My company BGJF Consultancy Services was founded in 1995 with a bias towards design excellence and cost efficent project management. We are recipients of several local and international awards including the CIDA National award for outstanding architectural contribution for the Mercedes Benz Center and Corporate HQ for Dialog GSM and JAT HQ. Our work has been featured in numerous international publications including DOMUS and the World Atlas of Architecture. We are presently actively involved in Architectural practice in Srilanka and the Asian region.

FS: What is "design" for you?
AG: Design to me is the simplest and most efficent solution to a perceived problem, encompassing factors like cultural affinity, cost and technical efficiency and effective public usage and safety.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
AG: We place no distinction on the type of project or building, but feel all projects are important and demand time and attention in arriving at a lasting and worthwhile solution.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
AG: All of them are memorable and I enjoy re-visiting completed projects to observe their affect on usage by the public.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
AG: This was the Corporate HQ of Dialog GSM the leading telecom services provider in Srilanka. This was a very successful project both in terms of public exposure and with an Urban presence that generated a lot of interest in me and my architectural practice.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
AG: I try to use the latest and most cutting edge in technology appropriately in our projects, based on the issues being addressed. Technology is however always subservient to usage efficiency and the economics of cost and is used in collaboration with a well thought out, and creative planning solution.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
AG: Creative solutions dont just happen but are nascent ideas with a studied and long incubation period tailored to best fit a particular breif or building design. My creative juices flow freely early morning, at my country residence, and then taken forward at my practice studio.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
AG: As I said, I use design as 'process' to create buildings that are responsive, both experientially, climatically and provide lasting solutions to clients. The design inputs comes from a variety of sources including aesthetics, nature, human behavioural patterns, technology...

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
AG: There is always a delight when one feels intuitively that the design process has hit on an ideal solution to a particular issue or challenge.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
AG: A sence of satisfaction...however a successful Architect is almost always also looking at the flaws that could have made a design better...It is always a continuing process.

FS: What makes a design successful?
AG: In architecture a successful design to me, is one that elevates the user to a higher mental state than that which he first entered the building with. It should stir emotions in the user...the greater the emotive response the more successful the architecture.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
AG: To me it is almost always about the experience of the user of the building, and the impact the particular design has on his psyche.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
AG: The responsibility is tremendous, especially in architecture. A bad peice of architecture remains for eternity, besides causing adverse impact on society. Bad design can also cause serious health and safety issues.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
AG: To me the future of design is assured, especially in this age of technology. The human mind is a very complex mechanism and is capable of a far greater nuanced compexity than the most advanced computing can generate. Iam very interested in stretching the boundaries of design using the technology interface for eg 3d printing is bringing out some interesting possibilities with respect to complex design forms.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
AG: Architecture is somewhat different to other aspects of design, in so far as each and every project is quite exhibitionist and a lasting legacy, and reflection on the mindset of the architect. Our body of work is unique and experienced all the time by its users. Of course we do participate in conferences and seminars to highlight the thinking behind, to interested members of the public and other professionals.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
AG: A lot of my inspiration comes from being a keen observer of nature and indegenous cultures. Be it human behaviour, natural environments, fauna and flora. Travel and its diverse cultural variations are also a great source of my inspiration.

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?
AG: I do not like to subscribe to a particular style, but instead focus of a design solution that draws its inspiration from many diverse aspects. Human behaviour and perception, project economics, environmental aspects both manmade and environmental. Every project is unique, with very particular issues.

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?
AG: Iam a resident of the beautiful, tropical, island nation of Srilanka, characterized by its rich history and culture, diverse landscapes, fauna and flora. The ancient architectural tradition of building in Srilanka has strongly influenced my work, but Iam equally influenced by the indigenous traditions of building in the Asian region as a whole.

FS: How do you work with companies?
AG: We have been fortunate in working for Corporates who appreciate our work and brand of architecture, and come to us looking for a unique design solution. We take good care to ensure our work, and performance on any particular project is reflective of this important responsibility. This is true not only in terms of design but in all areas of building technology.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
AG: A thought out breif is important as to what the company hopes to achieve. Selection of the particular designer or Architect should then be based on a study of his or hers work and its compatibility with the aims and goals of an organisation.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
AG: There is a significant gestation period from the initial idea to a workable design concept. The shaping and fine tuning of the design takes place during this time where all inputs like client personalities and inputs, external and environmental factors, cost and management aspects add flavour and personalise the particular design concept. The final design solution is a unique adaptation of all these very relevant inputs.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
AG: Iam very interested in the artistic portrayal of form by the human mind. Hence sculptural objects, particularly indegenous pieces if art take pride if place in my collection. One of my favourite pieces is a sculpture of a crocodile carved in ebony wood by an indegenous craftsman of the forest Veddah community. He captures the essence of the creature in a few basic strokes which is remarkable and inspiring.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
AG: Depends on the day: Wake up at 6am, 30 minutes of meditation and breathing exercise, then 2 hours of design and other work from my home studio. If Iam driving to my office in the city, an hour of horse riding and then a late breakfast at about 9am. I enjoy driving fast and commute from the countryside to my city studio by 10am. The rest is routine office work, with a lots of collaborative discussion with my staff architects. Site meetings and visits are generally relegated to the afternoons. I knock off work at around 4, work out for a couple of hours and generally reach home by 7.30. No more work or mental stress till the next morning

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
AG: Be true to your thinking and philosophy. Always look beyond the immediate requirements of the breif when creating and spend time on the creative process. Quick, instant solutions in my opinion, do not stand the test of time.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
AG: Well, I can think of only the positives. Its great for someone with a creative bias, willing to work long hours on processing information. I cannot envisage myself in any other professional pursuit.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
AG: Always search for the underlying issues and not those that are obvious.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
AG: The skill of visualisation, which some are born with, but can also be acquired.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
AG: My toolbox is essentially my mind...processing information on a project, logically with all its nuances, then imposing life scenarios on the narrative so it becomes experiential to the user. The tools like computers and other technology are secondary and merely a means to an end.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
AG: I structure my day into segments: Mornings are mainly for creative and design based pursuits, mid morning to afternoons are for more day to day drawing and project reviews and meetings, with both consultants and clients. Afternoons are for site visits and site meetings. Evenings are basically to rejuvenate and recreate. I do take a few weeks off every 5 months for travel, rest and recreation. Unfortunately this has become more difficult to do over the past few years because of the pandemic.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
AG: It takes me all of 6 to 8 weeks to come up with a Schematic design for a building. Further to, we work on creating working models of the project together with Detailed Drawings in all disciplines, as a parallel exercise. All told it takes us approximately 6-9 months depending on the complexity of the project, including time requirements for building permits and other statutory obligations.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
AG: What is my inspiration for the design...which is a rather mundane question as there is far more to architectural design than inspiration.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
AG: I would say the responsibility of project managing the Mercedes Benz Center for Excellence, in addition to being the Design and Project Architects. It taught me to extend my Design skills and creativity to the other dimension of constructing a complex building to a strict time line and budget. This truly stretches the creativity of an architect to come up with viable alternatives which save cost and time, but do not compromise the project design.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
AG: We have designed high end homes for the captains of business in Srilanka and India. Additionally well known Corporates like MTN Networks, JAT Holdings PLC, Deisel and Motor Engineering PLC, Marriot Hotels, Hilton Hotels, Taj Hotels, Abans PLC.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
AG: My immediate goal is to establish and consolidate our presence in Asia, whilst looking for architectural opportunities in Europe and USA.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
AG: The core ideas are always mine, and I keep close scrutiny on all initial decisions of the project. I do however give the project team of Architects a free reign to develope the designs within the scope of the selected parameters that dictate the design concept.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
AG: Yes, several. Among the more interesting is a highrise Mixed Developement project which is the Corporate Headquarters of a leading business entity involved in Power generation. We are currently building them a LEED Platinum rated building on a very challenging site with a limited footprint, where every square metre of space is important and really matters. Add a 250 vehicle mechanically operable car park system, 1500 sqm of office space, and a limited number of very exclusive condominium apartments and you have a project where every part of which has to be intricately cog wheeled in to the other, where the designed building becomes essentially a 'machine' for human interaction and activity.

FS: How can people contact you?
AG: They can drop me a line on snbgomez@gmail.com or call me on 0094-777313418. Further information on our projects and work is available on our web link: bernardgomez2019.wixsite.com/bernardgomez


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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