The 5 Most INSPIRING Architects of Today
To coincide with this year’s London Festival of Architecture (June 1st - 30th), we wanted to look at 5 architects who continuously inspire the House of Grey Design Practise. These are architects who are using design to change the way we live, creating spaces which encourage a slower and more restful approach through their use of natural light, clean shapes and their respect for nature.
Vincent Van Duysen
“I want to surprise people and even surprise myself”
Belgian Architect Vincent Van Duysen has an extremely diverse body of work, it is this variety which makes his architectural and interior designs so unique. From product design (cast concrete lights for Flos) to large-scale architectural projects such as designing Alexander Wang stores - his work seamlessly flows between different sectors while always keeping functionality and durability at the forefront.
Designer of the Year at Biennale Interieur 2016, Van Duysen is always conscious of creating timeless spaces through his use of pure and tactile materials - these also help to calm users senses and heighten the physical experience of his spaces. Respecting tradition is also central to his work, a perfect combination of all of these values is his BS Residence. The Residence is a former cluster of farmhouses with traditional Flemish architecture. Recovering traditional materials such as furniture made of wide oak planks, classic pivot hinges and using the same external kalei brick internally - Duysen created a marriage between the traditional and modern and external and internal.
“Minimalism is not defined by what is not there but by the rightness of what is and the richness with which it is experienced.”
John Pawson’s work is famously characterised by its minimal aesthetic. Pawson has spent over 30 years making the largest of architectural statements through the most simple of aesthetics. His projects range from private houses, galleries to yacht interiors, with Pawson tying them together through his contemplation spaces (a place for spiritual reflection) - believing that everything in our life should allow us to consider our broader ideas about how we live and what we value.
One particular work which House of Grey identifies with are the Armonia Apartments in Greece. Graphically simple, the structure is composed of slender white horizontal lines with full-height glass and bronze elements - the ambition was to create a peaceful environment which had a strong relationship with the nearby sea.
Sydney based Brent Lee is known for his striking architectural interior projects such as the MT Townhouse and Kangaroo Valley. Lee juxtaposes soft shapes such as arches and curved baths, with harder geometrical lines such as staircases and interior columns to create visually arresting interiors. His spaces are stripped back yet warm due to the abundance of natural light and raw materials.
The Workshop of Simon Astridge is a collective of craftsmen, each highly-skilled in their own field (ceramics, metalwork and design to name a few) who combine their individual expertise to create outstanding architecture. From residential, to retail and even educational buildings, central to the projects is the concept of ‘creating an atmosphere’. The studio takes inspiration from all fields: art, music, travel, food, with projects often being inspired by natural materials such as Clay, Plywood or Brass.
The powerful work of Peter Zumthor is often described as ‘uncompromising’ and ‘minimalist’. Winner of the Pritzker Prize and the RIBA Royal Gold Medal, Zumthor has described what really constitutes an architectural atmosphere as "this singular density and mood, this feeling of presence, well-being, harmony, beauty."
Widely considered as one of his most important works the Therme Vals is the epitome of his design style. The space is a sensory experience of hot and cold, light and shadow, and materiality. Created with locally quarried stone, the building is partially submerged into a hillside and has a grass roof - making it almost invisible to the naked eye and completely at one with its setting.