Luca Andrisani, Architect, New York City
Luca Andrisani was educated at La Sapienza University in Rome, and he gained his Masters degree in Architecture from the Royal institute of Sweden.During this time Luca worked on projects such as Prada in Japan and Italy. After moving to New York, Luca worked on projects for some of the world's most exclusive labels such as Louis Vuitton, Fendi, and Dior. Founding his firm 'Luca Andrisani Architects'‚ in 2007, Luca Andrisani remains true to his passion of turning his clients ideas and dreams into reality - whether he's working on a large commercial project, or an intimate home renovation.
"Even though I ultimately follow my first instinct, I always ask my team to show me their ideas and approach before drawing any conclusion. Success is always through team work." Luca Andrisani
ABOUT LUCA ANDRISANI
CM: What and where did you study?
I studied Architecture in Rome at La Sapienza University. I completed my study with a Masters degree in Architecture at The Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden.
CM: What was your experience as a student like?
Studying in Rome was extremely challenging. Schools are overcrowded and the system is very old fashioned, especially in Architecture. The teachers have a tendency to be very conservative, and the glorious Italian (roman) architectural past can be somehow detrimental to any innovation or forward thinking.‚¨Sweden was a breath of fresh air. Approach to teaching and technologies was very much the opposite. I felt free to express myself in any way, shape and form. From drawings exclusively by hand, I was finally introduced to CAD, Photoshop, animations, etc. It's not a coincidence I decided to work abroad after that.
CM: What was your journey of transition from a graduate, to a professional architect? How long did this take?
The transition was very long and hard. Out of school, you find that most of what you're taught in school is not really practical. 'Trial by error' is the way that I learnt most of what I know today and it enables me to carry on my practice.
CM: What programs do you use? Your favourite equipment, tools?
I hand sketch, use AutoCAD, 3d Max, Rhino, Photoshop.
CM: What are your favourite materials, textures, shapes, colors?
I tend to use a lot of light woods (white oak, aniegre) but I also use glass and any resin composites that interact with light. I prefer textures that resemble nature, and shapes I work with are usually squares: I find very difficult to work with circles or curved elements. The dichotomy of white lacquers/white oaks is my favourite.
CM: What creates a productive work environment, do you listen to music?
I don't personally listen to music but I don't mind if my personnel do.
CM: What is your favorite environment to work in?
I love my office, even though I have the best ideas at night, in my bed, right before falling asleep.
CM: Do you ever suffer from creative blocks? How do you deal with them?
Of course, every time we start working on a new project. I think it's pretty normal and it's the beginning for new growth. Our clients give us the inspiration we need to move on and create.
CM: What time of the day are you most creative?
Usually at night before going to bed, or when I'm in the subway or train immersed in my thoughts.
CM: Do you have a team involved in your creative process? What do you like about working with team?
Always. My team is vital to the creative process. Even though I ultimately follow my first instinct, I always ask my team to show me their ideas and approach before drawing any conclusion. Success is always in a team work.
CM: Do you have a method you will follow as a rule, in your creative process?
Not really. Inspiration can come from anywhere. But ultimately it's always the client who inspires me.
CM: What is the most challenging part about being an architect?
The most challenging part is to work with non-creative people who just want to get the job done.
CM: How do you keep your ideas current, fresh and relevant for each new project?
I believe that my design criteria don't necessarily change with new trends or fashions. But I do believe and very much enjoy studying, researching and creating new materials, textures and patterns using the latest technologies.
CM: What advice do you wish you were given when becoming an architect?
I wish I had been told that most of my work goes into the clients relationship. I believe our job can be a very personal and intimate step in someone's life. After all, we enter our clients homes, we learn how they live what they enjoy. We translate their concept of beauty for them and then we disappear.
CM: What are your goals for your company?
To keep the same level of attention and devotion we give to our clients even when we'll grow into a large company and to be hopefully working with creative people who are willing to creating something beautiful while taking risks.
CM: From the clients brief, where and how did you start your research?
We usually start with a physical survey of the space and we then proceed by gathering any information on the Client's furniture, art, lifestyle and special needs or requirements.
CM: Describe you research process methodology.
Internally we use sketch books to draft any initial ideas. We then assign a special area to each project where we collect samples, inspirational images and objects. 3D renderings are also used to study a space, experiment on a design or to develop an idea. Sometimes we even produce animations to study circulation through a space. We use photographs only to record existing conditions.
CM: How do you present your development ideas to your client?
We use anything that might help our clients to understand our ideas which is usually 3D renderings, animations along with physical materials of the proposed materials and finishes. We recently experimented with 3D printing, which allowed us to build a physical model of a lever handle which we had just drawn in 3D. Technical drawings like floor plans or elevations are also always available.
CM: Do you find it difficult to detach from a project? What are the different stages you go through as the architect?
The design process is always very difficult as it's a personal and intimate process for me, and to end and detach from a project can be challenging. You go from seeing a space during construction at least once a week for a few months to not seeing it at all. You always feel like a part of you has been left behind and you wonder if they are taking good care of it. Especially when it comes to public spaces: your ideas are so exposed! The first time I completed a retail project, I couldn't stop by going to the space and mixing among the shopping crowd trying to catch their emotions and feelings while looking at the space.
CM: Would you say your work is ever complete?
Not at all and it's nice to work with clients who understand that and are willing to spend some extra time to create something beautiful and refined.
CM: Which part of NYC do you live in and what draws you to the city?
I live in Chelsea, one of Manhattan's most liberal and young neighborhoods after the East Village. I love mostly everything about New York as it's still a place second to none for opportunities. You can go pretty far if you have talent and you know how to navigate through millions of other super ambitious individuals.
CM: When not working from your office/studio, where do you like to hang out?
I enjoy very much the tranquility of Soho House which in New York is a private club mainly frequented by creative people. It's a very laid back place where you can read, relax or watch an IFC or foreign movie. Otherwise I don't mind staying at home or spending my free time over dinner with few close friends.
CM: Do you collaborate with other artists from other mediums?
I do whenever I can, especially Artists. We work on the same brain bandwidth which makes things easier and bring unique results.
CM: What is your philosophy for successful collaborations?
To recognize that my knowledge is limited, to be very open minded and to restrain my ego.
CM: Who do you aspire to collaborate with?
I would love to collaborate with a popstar or with a forward thinking fashion brand.
CM: What approach do you take for when marketing your work?
We send email blasts out from time to time, we submit our work to several design awards and we constantly work on our website. We have lately improved our social network connectivity so that our clients can easily follow us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. It's our way to keep our clients or future prospects minds refreshed and updated about latest work.
CM: Which industry events do you go to?
I usually find it very hard to commit or attend any type of solely networking events where people hand out their business cards straight away, before even saying their names or saying hi.
CM: Your favorite blogs / magazines
Architizer, Archdaily, Archfeeds, Designboom, Interior Design Magazine, Interiors, Elle Decor, Architectural Record.rong.