WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT I WOULD BE SURPRISED TO FIND IN YOUR SPACE?
The quality of the light and the art collection.
DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL WORKSPACE IN THREE WORDS…
Peace, concentration and serenity.
DOES THE SPACE YOU WORK IN HAVE AN INTERESTING STORY?
Our office and house are in an old soap factory from the late 19th Century, in the Trastevere area of Rome. A number of artists lived or worked in this complex– Cy Twombly had his studio here in the early 70s, and one of our meeting rooms looks out on a terrace for which he designed the paving pattern, a series of fine lines in travertine crisscrossing, the main floor in pietra serena, regularly and irregularly. Gino De Dominicis, Mario Schifano and Maurizio Mochetti worked here, as well as the Schifano and Boetti foundations. The film director Abel Ferrara lived in our loft and was famous for his parties– a tradition we continue, mainly after art exhibition openings for artists whom we collect.
DO YOU WORK AND LIVE IN THE SAME SPACE, IF SO HOW DOES THAT AFFECT YOUR WORK?
They are next door to one another, separated by a door. Living “above the shop” dilates time. We can invite clients for a lunch break chez nous, cooked by our housekeeper, Rosalina, or else go through to stir a curry on the stove…
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN THE SPACE?
We just cleaned up the spaces, we did not design them. We found them already restructured. Our art collection and its unorthodox placement, I think, is what we are most proud of.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?
Trastevere is a like small country village with a great atmosphere during the day. It’s its own world.
WHAT CAN YOU SEE OUTSIDE YOUR WINDOWS?
The office is mainly skylit with high-level windows as well. We have views of surrounding roof tops in the meeting rooms and my and Claudio’s offices.
DESCRIBE A REAL LIFE MUNDANE SITUATION THAT INSPIRES YOU!
Grocery shopping. We have some great markets nearby.
WHAT THEMES DO YOU PURSUE IN YOUR WORK?
We create site-specific portraits of clients. We try to create a primary idea that resolves very complex issues. We know it is right when we can explain it in a phrase
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM PROJECT?
To design large urban projects, small parts of a city. We have been working recently on some urban masterplans that have whet our appetite.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN AND FROM WHOM?
From my “almost cousin” Howard Tanner on how not to lose money running an architectural office that is powered by passion.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT ARTIST’S TOOL?
We are not artists but artisans. Claudio and I hand-sketch everything, but our very complex software is our greatest tool. Our assistants have customised it to allow us to work in a very elastic and experimental way when developing projects in 3D models.
THE ONE PRACTICE THAT HAS CHANGED YOUR LIFE THE MOST? MEDITATION, RUNNING, WRITING…
I should do all of those but I practice none. I think living with the person you work with has changed me most. We have each absorbed part of the other person’s character.
WHAT MINDSET/MOOD DO YOU MAKE YOUR BEST ART/WORK?
Just before a concept proposal presentation, when ideas are flying but are also taking form.
WHEN YOU DAY DREAM IN YOUR SPACE AND JUST LOSE YOURSELF IN THOUGHT, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING OR WORRYING ABOUT?
A new project, what work I have to finish, or what I might do that evening.