“I like the discipline of flatness. Flatness does not lie. Elevations do not distort. Perspectives, on the other hand, can hide a lot. They are deceiving in their beauty. It can be dangerous for architects to fall in love with a drawing and forget that they are creating space. When I sketch, I therefore go back and forth constantly between perspective and elevation.
If I am bored at a meeting—I don’t have patience for administration—I reach for my sketchbook and my felt-tip pen. Because drawing slows me down, it helps me to understand space. Drawing is a tool that forces me to consider if an idea is really right. Details emerge. Something that, in my head, is visually perfect can turn out to be ugly. When a sketch truly comes to life, it dictates the eventual solution.
For the Kvadrat booth at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, the challenge for Neri & Hu Design and Research Office was to make this particular textile manufacturer stand out while nevertheless keeping the space warm, even domestic. I sketched a big block and began to carve out openings, both for circulation and for three skylights. From a distance, the booth was a monumental object, while the exterior’s soft navy wool-viscose skin embodied Kvadrat’s DNA of texture and color. Then, when you entered, the scale changed immediately—from architectural to human.”