claudio silvestrin discusses the role of 'mother nature' and architecture as a vocation
 

claudio silvestrin discusses the role of 'mother nature' and architecture as a vocation

claudio silvestrin is an italian architect and designer. his firm, claudio silvestrin architects, was founded in 1989 and currently has offices in london and milan. the work of the practice encompasses real estate developments, private houses, art galleries and museums, restaurants, luxury retail stores, and furniture design. the company’s high profile clients include giorgio armani, anish kapoor, and kanye west — with whom silvestrin has worked with on a number of occasions.

 

to learn more about claudio silvestrin’s work we spoke with the architect who discussed his introduction to architecture and how ‘mother nature’ informs every aspect of his work. read the interview in full below.

interview claudio silvestrin
neuendorf villa, majorca, 1991 (also main image)
all images courtesy of claudio silvestrin architects

 

 

designboom (DB): you have said that being an architect is a vocation — can you tell us about your introduction to architecture and why it originally interested you?

 

claudio silvestrin (CS): since I was a child, I wanted to be an artist. I used to draw big empty spaces and clean decisive lines. I was attracted by simplicity and calm. before moving to london, I had a very good mentor — a maestro — who opened my mind up to japanese architecture, and to minimalist aesthetic — to use a media term. so, I was very lucky to have a tutor, a maestro, who gave me direction. when I was 18, reading a book by paul klee, I was strongly inspired by his quote: ‘the greatest form of art is architecture’. I felt it was a call: it was decided, my mission would be to manifest architecture as a bridge between earth and sky.

interview claudio silvestrin
neuendorf villa, majorca, 1991

 

 

DB: what aspects of your background and upbringing have shaped your design principles and philosophies?

 

CS: the love of mother nature. through my projects I intend to follow the footprints of the divine spirit manifested in nature. plato taught us that life moves with five elements: water, air, earth, fire and a fifth element, the ether, the spirit of matter. and that is why, in my designs, I choose natural instead of artificial materials — simple. I choose, just like mother nature, a difference instead of uniformity. difference is intrinsic to nature, uniformity to humanity. nature is biodiversity, exchange of vital energies; humans are always standardizing, conforming, flattening, leveling.

interview claudio silvestrin
torino outlet village, settimo torinese, 2017
image © aldo castoldi

 

 

CS (continued): nature is wealth, not mediocrity and poverty, nature is order, not confusion. quality, always, regardless of size: this is found in nature. nature is non-attachment, nature is maximum energy with minimum effort. there is no waste, no ornament. in nature we find interconnection, there is no division and separation. separation belongs to humans. in nature we find centrality, everything starts from a center; from a galaxy to a flower, there is no dispersion or fragmentation. science tells us that nature is gently electrified, there is no aggressiveness, there is strength but not aggression. in nature there is immensity of space, not reduction of space. in nature all forms exist in harmony, there are no perverse forms, in nature there is a force of attraction, not inertia; in nature there is a complexity behind visual simplicity, not banality, carelessness or oversimplification.

interview claudio silvestrin
torino outlet village, settimo torinese, 2017
image © aldo castoldi

 

 

DB: overall, what would you say is your strongest asset, and how have you developed that skill over time?

 

CS: intuition and speed of thought — this is how I create. I just go according to what I feel, and then I do spend a lot of energy on the details. my first spark of a concept comes naturally. it just happens while visiting a site or while I talk to a client; it completely comes directly from the heart. the more I trust my intuition, the more my intuition delivers.

 

DB: how closely do you work with your team? how important is collaboration?

 

CS: I delegate many aspects to my team of young, sensitive architects who love, as I do, the elegant simplicity and offer serene emotions through architecture. however, it is my sharp eye that makes the final decision.

claudio silvestrin discusses the role of 'mother nature' and architecture as a vocation
kanye west loft, new york, 2007
image © marina bolla

 

 

DB: you have a long standing collaboration with kanye west. can you tell us how that came about, and how you develop a project together?

 

CS: I’ve been designing regularly with kanye west since 2014 and I still do. he approached me because he wanted to have his new york loft created as a meditative space. once he said to me: ‘you is you, this is why I come to you’.

 

DB: what other projects are you currently working on?

 

CS: I am working on the design of an airport in eastern russia, a hotel, retail stores worldwide for the luxury brand giada, and other projects that I cannot disclose.

claudio silvestrin discusses the role of 'mother nature' and architecture as a vocation
kanye west loft, new york, 2007
image © marina bolla

 

 

DB: do you think it is important for architects to work more closely with people with different professions?

 

CS: yes, it is part of the architect’s mission.

 

DB: what do you think is the role of an architect working today?

 

CS: if an architect feels that he has a vocation, then his role is to plant seeds for the spiritual evolution of the human race.

claudio silvestrin discusses the role of 'mother nature' and architecture as a vocation
rocca sinibalda castle, rieti, 2013

 

 

DB: outside of architecture, what are you currently interested in and how is it influencing your design thinking?

 

CS: being an architect of vision, it feels natural to focus on my projects. I read, part of my work is to read serious books, for knowledge and spiritual evolution. if you are successful, there is a danger that you think you are a god, so you stop reading, you stop moving forward, you stop challenging your beliefs, you stop wondering. I don’t play golf. I’m a hundred percent focused. I’m so enthusiastic and passionate about my mission that I am totally focused on it.

claudio silvestrin discusses the role of 'mother nature' and architecture as a vocation
claudio silvestrin

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