That Excitement is the fundamental fourth dimension of my Work

How would you describe your architecture and design work?

I reckon that true architecture must not restrict itself to the outer surfaces of a house, but should involve inside and outside seamlessly – like a Möbius strip. In my projects, the building exteriors always find their “natural” counterpart in the interiors. But rather than a mere corresponding balance between mass and void, I like to explore with two basic interfaces: light and natural materials.

When I hit upon what I feel is the perfect solution for a project, I get a sudden flash of euphoria, only for a fraction of a second, but intense enough. That is what I call reaching the threshold, the one which is linked to a given moment or context, which fuses my previous experiences and to some extent annuls them, creating room for diverse new opportunities to be reconnoitred. As for designing objects – which differs from architecture with its set of building norms, structural parameters, geographical features, and orientation rules – the act is certainly less limited and allows for greater creative flexibility. I’m interested in pinpointing the outer threshold as I reason through the technological and technical implications, or the properties of the materials I’m using. Once this is determined, I then set about defining the forms and functions involved.

Tell us more about your childhood and how did it play a role in your career now.

From my childhood, play meant building things. Later on, another one of my passions was anything to do with speed. It was a craze I had played out with my motorbike, and especially car racing. I have been crazy about racing maybe all my life. It’s not just the competitive side, but it has helped me grow a sense of responsibility for what I do, and taught me to be truly free to find my limits and take on the risks.

“You believe you have a breaking point, so you try to reach it. Something happens. Suddenly you can go faster, thanks to the power of thought, to your determination and instinct and thanks to your experience you can fly even higher.” (Quote- Ayrton Senna)”

     

What do you like the most about your job?

When I’m designing, I always get excited about what I’m doing. This is a crucial motivator for me, and not just on the work front. This way, the task at hand becomes a source of fun and free of restrictions. It’s like being a kid again. You might say that excitement is the fundamental fourth dimension of my work; the emotional dimension.

I know that you visited Egypt a couple of years ago. Tell us more about that visit, and how to you see the buildings here from a professional point of view, and the country from a personal point of view?

Yes, I visited Cairo and I can say I loved the atmosphere and the energy of the city combined with its chaos. Architecturally, I liked the existing buildings in the old city more than the new ones that don’t  belong to Egyptian culture.

From the personal point of view I liked the charm of chaos and vivacity of people with their mix of colors and scents.

What do you feel is the greatest challenge when it comes to designing?

Giving any project its own identity.

How do you approach your projects?

Always in the same way by investigating the place and its contest according to clients’ needs.

What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your work?

My goal is to be an architect always.

What do you want to be remembered for?

For my authenticity and coherence.

What are some of the opportunities and challenges your office faces now?

We work on different scales, from small but extremely interesting villas on top of mountains, to large office projects and hospitality, and a few product designs.

What’s your favorite project so far?

Always difficult to say. Maybe the next one!

And what’s your dream project?

To design an important public space, as a museum.

           

As you know, Zaha Hadid was one of the most famous architects who actually had influenced the industry. What are your thoughts on that?

I believe Zaha brought some sensuality into architecture.

Have you ever met her?

I met her in Milano but didn’t have the chance to really talk to her.

How do you see her work?

She created this poetic and strong code and she was very coherent with it, even if wasn’t functional sometimes.

           

What advice would you give to young designers starting out today?

Be passionate.

Can you describe an evolution in your work from when you began until today?

My way was divided in three main parts: 1) The learning and experimental from my education until 5-10 years of practice, 2) Developing my stylistic code applied to some international projects, and 3) The maturity, the actual one when I feel myself in a very interesting and creative time, with the consciousness of my skills and a strong experience to face any kind and size of projects anywhere.