How does art inspire architecture?

Architecture and design: World of ideas


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Play with flamingos

Yinka Ilori, 33, was born in London. He has been heading his design and architecture studio there since 2017.

I'm working on initial designs for a playground in Becontree, a neighborhood in the east London borough of Barking and Dagenham. I love finding art in unexpected places and I want to surprise the people of Becontree.

Before the draft too The Flamboyance of Flamingos, that's my title for this project, I've spoken to the people here. A resident told me that there used to be flamingos in Parsloes Park, where the playground is located. I then did a lot of research on the subject of games and viewed archive material on playground equipment that used to be in Becontree. Usually playgrounds are standardized, all the same. I want to create a lively place with completely new play equipment. The colors and the design of the floor panels are particularly important to me. My concept also includes springy seesaws in the shape of pink flamingos. The playground is designed to encourage residents of Barking and Dagenham to think about how they would like the entire park to be designed.

A house by the sea

Elisa Manola, 46, studied architecture in Athens and Brussels. She runs an architectural office based in Athens and London.

I am currently working on plans for a house on the island of Sifnos in the Aegean Sea. It has four bedrooms and there is also a two bedroom guest house. The buildings are designed for a family and their friends. You stand in an olive grove and are surrounded by rocky hills, you can see the sea. The main house consists of garden stone walls with small, white washed stone elements that adapt to the topography of the property. I was inspired by the traditional houses in the Cyclades.



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The Aegean Sea with its many islands is a huge source of inspiration for me. The popular architecture, which is characterized by whitewashed stone buildings, can give contemporary architecture new impulses with this image of purity.

Sensual and simple

Christophe Pillet, 61, is a French designer and interior designer. He lives and works in Paris.

In addition to larger projects for hotels in Hamburg, Corsica and Casablanca and some private residences in France, I am currently concentrating on a smaller topic: a new armchair for Flexform, a large Italian company that I enjoy working with.

Basically, this armchair is very simple: a round seat cushion that is held in place by vertical rectangular elements. The design is not virtuoso, but I find it very sensual. I follow my passion for simplicity. I was also influenced by furniture from the twenties, refined objects made of wood and geometrically shaped metal. Too many things surround us today. We have to find objects that are more discreet, more distant, without losing their emotional substance.

Valley of Unity

Mariam Kamara, 42, was born in Niamey. She studied architecture in Seattle. Today she runs the Masōmī studio in her hometown.

In May my employees and I will take part in the Venice Architecture Biennale for the first time, where we will present our answer to this year's topic: How will we live together? Niger's capital Niamey, where I live and work, is crossed by a so-called dry valley, the Gounti Yéna. It looks like a dry river bed. At the time of the French colonization it divided the city into two parts - here the colonizers, there the local citizens. Even today, the valley separates the wealthy from the poor.

We have called the work that we are showing in Venice Artisans Valley: a long corridor, fenced in by stones layered like a checkerboard with recesses to look through. In the corridor there are winding, roofed rooms in which handicrafts are exhibited - including works by Tuareg craftsmen from Niger such as jewelry and carpets. The Artisans Valley is meant to be a place of unity for the citizens of Niamey. We are now starting construction and are still collecting donations.

Baroque model

Jan Kath, 48, comes from Bochum, his parents traded carpets. In his early twenties he took over carpet production in Kathmandu.

I am currently developing my "Savonnerie Surprise" carpet collection, which I named after a famous French manufacturer from the Baroque period. The first royal workshops were established in France in the early 17th century. Among them was a factory that made carpets on behalf of Henry IV. After the king's death, production was relocated to the site of a disused soap factory, which was then on the outskirts of Paris. The place was named after: soap factory - French savonnerie. And that is how the carpets, which became a status symbol throughout Europe, were soon called. I combine and alienate these designs.

A second project that is particularly close to my heart is a museum that I want to open in Kathmandu. Our small company started in Nepal's capital many years ago. My idea is to set up an exhibition space for carpets and contemporary art. The shell is already in place.

Glass as a canvas

Helle Mardahl, 44, studied fashion design in London. Today the Danish artist and designer lives in Copenhagen.

My new project is inspired by Easter eggs: I paint glass objects, combining matte paint with glossy and semi-gloss paint to create a lively and organic expression. The glass becomes a canvas. In order for it to dry, each object must be left untouched for four hours. Then the pieces are placed in the oven for an hour and a half at 160 degrees. The end result is a collection of works of art, some as big as an orange, others like a soccer ball. All are unique.

I find it exciting to combine two things that have always been most important to me in my professional life: painting and glass art. I think the future of design is not only determined by unique ideas, but also by craftsmanship.

Tribute to Japan

Marcio Kogan, 69, was born in São Paulo. In 1976 he founded his architecture office. He is an honorary member of the American Institute of Architecture.

The design of the "Daiki" armchair, which I designed for Minotti, was preceded by many trips to Tokyo. Once, on one of my walks, I discovered the old Hotel Okura. It has now been replaced by a skyscraper, but at that time the building from 1962 with beautiful mid-century furnishings was still standing. This is what inspired me to create the armchair - daiki is Japanese for "homage".

My team and I are currently working on the construction of the new headquarters of the Brazilian investment company XP in São Paulo. It will grow outside of the city in a eucalyptus forest and will be built of wood, with photovoltaic panels on the roof to generate sustainable energy. In addition to meeting rooms, there will also be tennis courts and a vegetable garden.