Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Bean Buro ("BB") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.
BB : Born in Paris, Lorène Faure is a fully qualified French DESA (hmonp) architect and UK ARB RIBA architect. She studied under British renowned architect/critic Sir Peter Cook at Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris, where she graduated with honours and was shortlisted for the prestigious RIBA President's Silver Medal. Lorène worked in London between 2008-2013, she was an associate and senior designer for CRAB studio (Cook Robotham Architectural Bureau) Kenny studied at The Bartlett School of Architecture UCL in London, and is a UK ARB and RIBA chartered architect. He received various prestigious awards as a student, before becoming an assistant at Richard Rogers Partnership, and project architect at Urban Salon Architects to work on award winning projects. Kenny was also a lecturer at the Bartlett School of Architecture, The Royal College of Art, Oxford Brookes, Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture and London South Bank University.
BB : We both became architects because of our passion in designing spaces. We are motivated to experiment with spatial creation on the cultural thresholds of east/west, domestic/foreign, traditions/globalisation.
BB : We chose to allow our personal passions in designing which in turn led us to become designers.
BB : We design anything that affects space; buildings, interior architecture, permanent or temporary installations, furniture, and also art and illustrations.
BB : Having a good university level education makes a crucial difference. Learning in the top academic environment makes you observe, experiment, critique – skills that carry with you for the rest of your life.
BB : Passion. Discipline. Talent. Having all three of these.
BB : A design that inspires people, whether it is functionally, formally or environmentally.
BB : When a design is good, the effect is tenfold. It enables functionality and productivity, creates attention and draws people together.
BB : We would love to design for Clients who share similar aspiration as us in creating better buildings, furniture and spaces.
BB : Cultural projects such as museums or libraries, but also small buildings such as private houses.
BB : Our creative methodology, which goes through a process of observation, interpretation, and interrogation.
BB : Other than our own academic masters such as Sir Peter Cook, Professor Marjan Colletti and Professor Marcos Cruz, we are also inspired by legendary couples such as Alison and Peter Smithson, Ray and Charles Eames, Aino and Alvar Aalto. The way they create a life’s work together.
BB : When we were both students (at different times but both) under the influence of Sir Peter Cook and other tutors and colleagues at The Bartlett School of Architecture UCL, we were amazed by the forces of architectural imaginations through drawings by Archigram, the way architectural creations can have such a wow factor.
BB : At the point of writing, so far we have created various competitions and built interior architectural projects together. The design is the greatest when the initial ideas generated through our concept drawings get translated into built forms, such as our early drawings and paintings for the Leo Burnett Project or The Work Project.
BB : In addition to practicing through work, we benefit from our personal activities such as reading, writing, researching, teaching, and travelling. It is important for us to overlap these disciplines.
BB : Perhaps an artist.
BB : Design is about progress and evolution. It is about the conceptualisation of creations. It develops our questioning and solutions. It challenges the existing and considers the future.
BB : Family, friends and our teachers.
BB : Passion and determination.
BB : Confidence in whether or not people would believe in your work.
BB : The work should be represented in the way the final product should be experienced. Every piece of work has its own story to tell, and should not be limited to generic ways of presenting.
BB : We are planning a series of projects that would cross the boundaries between art and architecture.
BB : To create projects that makes a difference.
BB : Passionate and creative ideas.
BB : Design brings people together, creates opportunities and a better future.
BB : We are currently working on Uber workplace in Hong Kong, and a mall refurbishment and a Façade project. We are also working on Bean Buro’s research projects.
BB : Design projects that not only have responded to our client’s brief, but going the extra mile of creating new unexpected qualities.
BB : Clients to be encouraged to take more ‘risks’ to embrace innovative designs.
BB : More technological advances in the way we design, prototype and fabricate.
BB : For our architectural projects, the design stages may be relatively fast, but the coordination and construction stages may take a long time.
BB : We start by gathering all data regarding the project in terms of client’s brief, the site, the social/political/cultural context, and allowing our personal emotional response to spark our inspirations.
BB : “You are what you draw”
BB : We certainly see trends in design, however the development of such trends are driven by other disciplines of technology, art, science, literature etc.
BB : Technology plays an important role when we design. We are believers of technology. Our ideas may well be initially conceptualised by a hand drawn sketch, but immediately transfused into the computer for digital development and explorations. Our ideas process is both analogue and digital, and they intertwine, flip and creates a constant feedback loop.
BB : Our work involves various 2D, 3D digital design and fabrication equipment’s. We also have hand model making equipment. Our ideas are always tested and represented in multi-media, often a combination of hand drawings, paintings, digital collages, renderings, laser cutting, and 3D printing.
BB : For us, materials and colours come to life with light and shadows. They affect our perception of space. They create emotional experiences. Our skills as architects allow us to play with such ingredients to create spatial drama while performing functional means.
BB : We wish for our designs to be experienced first-hand by users, and if they would like to find out more about our ideas, we would welcome questions that are important to them. We wish for our designs to be provocative in generating interests and questioning.
BB : When we see a great design, the first emotion is always appreciation and enjoyment. As design critics ourselves, we would also interrogate its aesthetic and function as part of our enjoyment. We would also want to find out about the creator of the design.
BB : Bean Buro was founded by the both of us, Lorene Faure and Kenny Kinugasa-Tsui. We are partners in life and at work. It is not always easy, but most of the time we believe we are the best person for each other to motivate and understand each other. Our designs are often the best when we work together. We usually design in exactly the same way, but our subtle differences are also extremely important as they add perspectives and layers to our designs.
BB : Our teachers such as Sir Peter Cook, Professor Marjan Colletti and Professor Marcos Cruz, and other colleagues at The Bartlett School of Architecture UCL such as Professor Murray Faser and Justin Lau. My college colleague Tobias Klein also had a great influence on me in getting into teaching. When we were in Paris we were also influenced by the energy of Odile Decq and the crowd of young designers she has brought in to Ecole Speciale d’Architecture.
BB : Architectural Representation and the Perspective Hinge, Pérez-Gómez with Louise Pelletier (1997) The Projective Cast: Architecture and Its Three Geometries, Robin Evans, MIT Press (2000) In Praise of Shadows, Junichiro Tanizaki, Vintage Classics (1933)
BB : We have been developing our skills as a studio through doing lots of projects as a closely knitted team. Everybody in the studio is encouraged to put ideas on the table. We run crits in the studio to critically interrogate our research, concepts and production. Such interaction in our studio culture is very important for us to develop our skills and experiences in order to take on more and more challenging projects.
BB : We would love to meet Giovanni Battista Piranesi (b. 1720. d. 1778) whom created the famous etchings of Rome and the fictitious and atmospheric “prisons”. The imaginary works inspired us very much as an early example of how architecture could be experimented and developed through drawings.
BB : It is always great to be recognised for our designs. Clients also tend to trust your decisions more easily when you have received awards for your work.
BB : Any colours that feel naturally enticing. We develop our favourite colours through the narratives inherent for each project. Every project has a different colour palette. We do not really have one colour that is our favourite. Our favourite place is Kyoto Japan for its tranquil historical qualities and well-kept temples in the city, particularly mesmerising during the cherry blossom season when one can explore the city and enjoy traditional Japanese food as part of the experience.
BB : A couple of years ago, we introduced a cat into one of our drawings, and it became an addiction – we tend to have cats hidden in all our drawings now!
BB : We enjoy every single day at Bean Buro, which consist of lots of studio interactions with our colleagues and discussing creative ideas. It is a motivating place for everyone to design, draw, make, and celebrate studio events.
BB : Not exactly. But we knew we would want to do something artistic or creative when we grow up.
BB : We are fans of science fiction stories, and wish technology would allow human beings and nature to co-exist more harmoniously.
BB : We are from London and Paris, now developing our ideas and research in Hong Kong and Asia Pacific. Our studio is multicultural and we are looking for the most talented designers from around the world to join our team and collaborate with specialists from other disciplines. We will continue our mission passionately to create projects that would experiment and question the way spaces are created in the city, on the threshold of cultural, social and economic exchanges.
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