Archinect - Starting up Awesome 2021-01-26T02:08:31-05:00 Off Topic/Venice Art Biennale bigness 2013-11-18T06:19:00-05:00 >2013-11-25T19:56:38-05:00 <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> I took one day trip to the Venice Biennale of Art yesterday, which resulted in a few considerations. It was my first time at the Art exhibition, but I have to say it didn't feel that much different from the Architecture Biennale: a loosely connected collection of pieces, the usual art pundits and a few lay people. The selection represented a stark return to hand-made, lower-craft art. Gone are the pristine pieces of the young british artists' inspired art seen at the end of the nineties, and so are the huge installations. A lot of the work showed a return to a hands-on production that was somewhat forgotten in the past 10/15 years. I am not an art critic or expert but that was really not much that left an impression. Mostly it was the developing world's pavilions that showed more engaging, interesting work, but that might have also simply been the fascination of the western white man for exotic culture formatted to the understandable standards of occidental contemporary art. Wh...</p> How to lose a job bigness 2013-11-13T11:08:00-05:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> Just before the summer we were contacted by a local M&amp;E engineer to cooperate on the refurbishment of an 1880's terrace house in the outskirts of town. The commission came from a developer who had bought the house and was looking to renovate and resell for a premium.</p> <p> It all started with a phone call, and within a week we already had to have a specs document, based on NO ARCHITECTURAL PROJECT. The finishes were obviously left out of the calculation, or in some cases partially included at an "average" market price. I was away for a small job in France, so my partner handled the situation. He was pressed by the developer, so he came up with a quick layout, the specs, and made arrangements for us to meet with the structural engineer on site to verify the state of the building.&nbsp;</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> This is when stuff started getting hairy. The structural engineer (a colleague of the M&amp;E) did not show up, we ended up digging holes in the floors ourselves and establishing the detail of the existin...</p> Why Architecture sucks (in Italy) in 2013 bigness 2013-07-17T05:03:52-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <p> <img alt="" src="" title="">Mario Cucinella Architects, Expo 2015 Italian Pavillion Competition entry</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> Zaha Hadid Architects, Baku Cultural Center.</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> I am not sure which one of the two this one is...</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> Nope, I can't tell them apart.</p> <p> I am kind of speechless, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, this is like oral sex in the toilets of a bar</p> <p> Ok, back to our regularly scheduled program.</p> On the move bigness 2013-07-16T03:23:55-04:00 >2013-07-22T20:17:17-04:00 <p> Remember the whole ordeal about finding a place?</p> <p> There is no such thing as a free lunch, apparently. We were in our space for about 5 months, co-working with another company. What brought that relationship to an end was not so much what happened between the studio and them (we did a couple of projects for them) but rather the business deals my partner had (personally) with them. We were not asked to leave, but we thought we'd move anyway, mainly because we had found another place.&nbsp;</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> <em>Hello new office. The stereotypical Carlo Scarpa and Corbu posters have been ordered, don't worry.</em></p> <p> It's a long way from being ready, and there are costs hidden in anything that we do, but I am quite happy with it. It's a kind of stereotypical boutique-studio, at ground level, in what used to be a small drug store. We designed a large table for it (which is basically a 1.3 m inward offset of the plan outline), which we built ourselves, and recycled what furniture we could from the "old" place. T...</p> Design and BUILD. bigness 2013-06-26T12:07:00-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <p> So&hellip; we did this design for a restaurant (the third of the series, talk about getting pigeon-holed). A few weeks after we handed in the drawings the client called us back complaining that the usual contractor was out of the game and, two weeks from the planned opening, they had no one to do the work.</p> <p> We looked each other in the eyes and knew what was up. We asked for a cash surplus to do the work ourselves. The work included painting, furniture making, electrical and plumbing, and some decoration work.<br> We both had done stuff like this before, albeit never professionally, and it sounded like a good way of rounding up our revenue before the summer break.<br> It was a tough 11 days. We had to schedule the work really carefully, as the restaurant had to be open and usable from 6 am to 11 am in order to be used as breakfast room for the hotel above (part of the reason why the contractor refused to take the job). At the end of every day we had to spend about 2 hours cleaning up everythin...</p> Time management or lack of it bigness 2013-05-23T12:11:50-04:00 >2013-05-27T20:53:51-04:00 <p> So, yeah, apologies.</p> <p> Starting this blog seemed like a very good and very manageable idea, but then when it all steamrolled into march it was firmly positioned on the back seat where it languished so far.</p> <p> The situation so far:</p> <p> The location</p> <p> We have settled into our "office" at the beginning of March, making this our third month here. We found a room within what will become a co-working space in the future months. We traded a very basic interior design intervention with a as-yet-unlimited free rent deal. The plusses are: the location (bang in the center), the infrastructure (web, phone, toilets, a small kitchen) and the possibility of developing a network with the future co-workers. The minuses are the lack of natural light or ventilation (our current room has no windows, it will become the calling room and we will move elsewhere in due time) and the lack of privacy in an office which is a&nbsp;continuous&nbsp;hustle and bustle.</p> <p> The work</p> <p> We've designed four restaurant interiors so ...</p> Backlit water or the art of presenting yourself. bigness 2013-02-04T12:42:09-05:00 >2013-02-12T20:47:59-05:00 <p> As time goes by I am starting to realize that this whole gig will be as much about planning as it will be about improvisation.</p> <p> <br> When me and Stefano started talking about our marketing strategies we sort of pushed the whole multimedia/printed material part of it in the back of our mind, thinking it would be more about one-to-one communication and hand-shaking than collecting views on a website. But it turned out we were wrong, at least in part.</p> <p> <br> We found ourselves in the position of having to quickly provide a client with samples of our work. And this client was 6000 km away. This forced us to come up with a bit of a presentation strategy. We realized that we should (and could, given the scarce time and cash resources) concentrate on three aspects:</p> <p> -a website<br> -business cards<br> -pdf slideshow</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>The website:</strong></p> <p> Considering you might not have any web programming experience, or have some (like me) but not enough to manage a whole website on your own with getting stuck for da...</p> Location, location, location. Free location. bigness 2013-01-22T11:33:00-05:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <p> When you think about setting up an office you obviously should start to work out, first and foremost, how you are going to get clients. But that is such an extensive subject (and really a lifelong quest for anyone in any business) (and I know really so little about it right now) that it would really make no sense trying to address it in one blog post.</p> <p> The second thing you think about is the office itself. The physical space, your location.</p> <p> We started working together about two months ago, each one in his own house with the occasional rendez-vous at Stefano's place (he has a bigger flat). But this is time-consuming, unsustainable (specially for spouses and flatmates) and, personally, I find working from home terribly distracting. WIth the added downside of not being able to receive clients.If you have some money saved you could rent a space, but what you really want is somewhere you can stay for free. You won't be draining your resources, and you will buy yourself a little bit ...</p> Starting up "starting up" bigness 2013-01-16T15:11:26-05:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <p> Salve!</p> <p> This is a blog about starting up your own practice. From scratch. From nothing. From zero, with no trust-fund money, political connections or rich spouses.</p> <p> Well, this is actually a blog about ME (and my partner) starting MY OWN practice. But you get the picture.</p> <p> So, on with the presentations: I am Richard, 31, born in Italy of a British mother and raised between Italy and the UK (where I graduated in 2006). I then went on to work around the world for a few years (Asia, the Middele East, Europe...). I moved back to Italy in March: I got burned badly after a misjudged career choice, and found myself stuck in Paris with just one idea: "screw this, I'm gonna set up office or give this gig up completely". So moving back to the place where I had most non-architectural connections seemed like the logical choice.</p> <p> (Strange how when you travel and work around the world you tend to surround yourself mostly with other architects, which in turn tend to refuse to become your clie...</p>