ARtISt And ARchItEctS In coLLAboRAtIon

In ConversatIon:
GILLY KARJEVSKY

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My commitment to scientific knowledge in no way diminishes my belief in the mystery and power of the arts. It is art that sings to us and opens up our hearts to one another. It is art that gives meaning to things that would otherwise go unnoticed. It is art that connects us to our past. It is art that cracks a smile and laughs at our limitations, that speaks to us of the darkness we cannot say out loud. it is art that proves our worth that demonstrates our capacity as inventors and lovers and wild untamed beings. And in the end it is art that allows us to understand and express science. In my practice of design these two worlds of aesthetics and scientific knowledge, of mystery, uncertainty, of intuition and expertise come together to create new possibilities for shaping our world. Everything we do as designers draw on the arts and the aesthetic dimension of cultural life and rests on the foundation of the scientific project. At no time in human history has the potential for designing solutions that contribute to the benefit of human kind been greater than it is today. And because of the growing body of knowledge in both science and the arts, it will be even greater tomorrow.’
bruce Mau, designer

Rather then provide a set of rules. and that the relationships that develop through collaboration are as varied as the relationships we have with everyone around us. It is my hope that a better understanding from the client’s point of view will allow clients and stakeholders to engage and take part in this process in a more meaningful way. . with the aim of helping clients and public realm stakeholders recognize the unique problems and opportunities that can arise when art and architecture are engaged in collaboration. their support and encouragement. From the research. their roles and contributions to the process becomes harder to define. practitioners and stakeholders make sense of the roles artist can take within the built environment. and are becoming increasingly involved in the more fundamental process of designing the buildings and spaces that shape the cities in which we live. only a better understanding of the process. a few basic insights have emerged: That the client is key and that their understanding of the dialog. can push towards real innovation as much as that the lack of that commitment and involvement can easily stifle a project. This book takes on a different approach. and in some cases try and provide methods through which a successful outcome could be achieved. we can look at and understand the elements of that conversation. Successful commissions. Artists are moving beyond their traditional roles and disciplinary boundaries. and find a way to adapt them to the specific situation. building schemes. it allows a peek into the collaborative processes that take place at the crossing of boundaries between art and architecture. workshop and interviews that form the basis of this book. While we cannot define the outlines of collaboration or impose a preexisting framework on it. That collaboration between disciplines starts with a conversation between people. research projects and conferences have established an understanding of the value that artists bring to the public realm. Numerous research papers. As artists become actively involved in building projects.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 5 IntroduCtIon The last three decades have seen a change in the way artists take part in the design of the UK’s built environment. That there are no set rules for successful collaboration. books and official publications have been drawn in an attempt to help clients.

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schemes. exhibitions and conferences are establishing a practice that is becoming increasingly recognised. but we do have a crisis of interpretation. A surprising number of collaborative practices have been and are being set up to harness the skills and understanding gained through years of sharing the disciplines of architecture.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 7 a ClImate of CollaboratIon In the last three decades the practice of collaboration between artist and architecture in the UK’s public realm has progressed immensely. ‘We have won the argument for the inclusion of art and architecture. Successful commissions. art and design in the public realm. We have no crisis of procurement.’ ben heywood .

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The key from the client point of view. its dynamics. while at the same time it allows the client to be involved. In projects which have a direct impact on the public realm. as well as the tools with which to engage the community and include them in the process of the project Diagram – from picture . architect and artist are best positioned to provide the insights of internal workings. contribute and actually participate in the collaboration in an extremely valuable way. and help foster the conditions for the collaborative process that takes place within that conversation. This can support the conversation and give room for its participants. it is crucial for the client to be able to recognize their role in enabling this conversation in the best way possible. The client is naturally positioned at the strategic intersection of a project.willingness to understand the terms of the conversation between artists and architect. The returns on this effort from the client’s side can be great. at the point where different skills and professional know-how are combined. As the result of this conversation can greatly affect the project as a whole. issues and interests of local communities.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 9 the role of the ClIent The crucial role that the client has in ensuring the success of the collaboration has been pointed out in almost all the interviews that took place in the lead-up to this book. and the people who take part in it. and therefore has an enormous influence over project hierarchies. Clients can greatly influence the quality of the more intimate realms of conversation between artist and architect. where clients need to answer to local needs. But the client’s influence stretches beyond the allocation of money and budgets. is understating .

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The form of relationship I have experienced that has been the most creative and critically informativehas been one which both myself and the other party. These relationships can take many forms. the person who makes the thing. and sometimes with the architect.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 11 ‘Public work necessitates forming relationships: Sometimes these are with the client. the architect. sometimes with the contractor.’ Muf architecture . called collaboration.

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existing research has recognized that art cannot be quantified under the requirements for pre-determined outcomes. Patterns arising from this more realistic approach to benefits advocacy are around the added value to the community and public realm aspects that touch upon human behavior in reaction to the presence of art. and connects this to context to provide a meaningful narrative that underpins the regeneration programme. It reveals content. Case studies have been extensively researched to identify patterns of benefits through individual successes. complementing (and challenging) the work of architecture and landscape design. Artist .’ david Patten.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 13 opportunItIes In CollaboratIon While government is calling for evidence based evaluation of the benefits of art in the public realm. ‘Public art supplies another layer of sensitivity to the development process. It works with issues of image and identity to create a distinctive sense of particular place.

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science. outline and redefine collective memories of events. Art can find affinity with archaeology. what are we doing right? How can we do it better? It celebrates this form of content and expresses it in varied. the spaces around us and our relationship to them. humanities. unexpected. It brings with it a form of content that is not confined to a physical presence in the world. Art in the public realm is interested in investigating all aspects of public life. often joyous ways.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 15 provIdes Content Art can be employed to explore and expose. places for gathering and reasons for gathering. history of places and their relationship to our time. What does a colour give to human perception? What are the current positions in society what are we doing wrong. stories. philosophy and digital media and still remain predominantly art. .

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It acts as a conduit for alternative. new and interesting approaches that might lead to more effective negotiation of elements inside a scheme. as well as private. or perhaps even a new way of addressing old issues? Is it defined by the way it functions? A better designed environment leads to happiness and a better quality of life.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 17 drIves desIgn InnovatIon Is good design defined as a different. . spaces. Art plays a part in driving forward the design quality of public.

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In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 19 sense of IdentIty A work of art or a building scheme can re-enforce the identity of a place. shift or undermine it. help increase their sense of ownership. of pride in a place. It is as important to know how to create a conversation. Perhaps more then any other practice. It may not be enough to simply talk to residents directly. providing them with new perspectives. Even at this initial point of contact. and reduce local vandalism. art is interested in examining the way people engage and look to engage with a space. how to make it interesting and to drive them to think about the place in a different way. Opening a dialogue with public users is an important part of the process. . belonging and ownership is already being established. This ability to influence the identity of a place is deeply informed by the artistic practice. in a more meaningful way then they have done so far. In the context of place-making and community identity projects. but they can also change. artist are able to provide inhabitants and residents something that they can hopefully take pride in.

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and artists will have a new opportunity to express and explore the interaction with spaces beyond the museum or gallery. Percentages for art schemes have been applied globally with much success. Building schemes often calculate a 2% margin for error in the budget. bIg ImpaCt All these benefits can be gained for only a small fraction of the total budget. a building could differentiate itself from its neighbours. . Art asks for only 1%. The design team could enjoy a creatively challenging process. a community can enjoy a sense of identity and a local landmark or simply be exposed to art on a daily basis. The project’s marketability and value can increase.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 21 small budget. For a small fraction of the overall budget. and on a much bigger scale then they are normally accustomed to.

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Whatever the case may be. While some collaborations emerges out of a mutual desire to share ideas and knowledge. Forced conversations can be a product of a miscalculated policy or a planning permission write off. If the collaboration is not championed by its participants. Therefore. All participants will have to apply trust. . it might as well not happen at all. one which very likely includes its rewards as well as some serious conflicts.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 23 all aboard Assuming that artist-architect collaboration is on the table. brokered by its facilitators and respected by its contractors. not all collaborations are created so organically. that the budget and team are in place. confidence and belief to follow through. in all collaborations it is essential that all participants are committed to the conversation. it is essential in artistarchitect collaborations that all practitioners are on board and are willing to collaborate. that the client has been won. these professionals are about to embark together on a long-term venture.

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.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 25 Challenges In CollaboratIon When artists and architects come together in collaboration. and the ways in which these challenges are addressed are always unique. challenges inherent to this particular crossing of disciplines are likely to surface during the course of a project. The following are some of the most commonly mentioned challenges. its participants. Although there are similarities in the type of difficulties which emerge when art and architecture meet. the project.

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color scheme. terms and definitions which help define and recognise them. It can be the landscape. spatial design. but since art inherently resists definition. designing. This is partly due to the nature of the work itself but also because of a lack of clear definition.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 27 laCk of defInItIons In the last 30 years the practice of public art or art in the public realm has evolved in new ways. facade. color. The term “Public Art” is still strongly positioned in a traditional sense. or moving image. It can be integrated and it can stand alone. it can become difficult to deal with. consultation. It can manifest as material. railing. Artists engage in the public realm through research. do not necessarily followed. An art work can be permanent or temporary. It can be an event or a learning experience. paving. While new practices emerge. . conceptual thinking. and sustaining creativity during the process of realization. lighting. their work is becoming less recognisable. These require a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities. sound. and brings to mind images of bronze statues in town plazas. The unclear term with which an artist is understood can become especially problematic within the context of the building project which brings a variety of practitioners and stakeholders into play. cladding. While the extent of artist’s involvement in the public realm has grown.

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the natural gap that exists between their languages can be a major barrier on the road to understanding. When an architect says “screen” he or she means either a partition or a wall that hides infrastructure. . When two disciplines meet. and can affect the client’s understanding of the design. When an artist says “screen”. The language barrier extends beyond the conversation between artist and architect. By understanding the difference of meaning between two worlds. This could also be interpreted as a device for hand printing. misunderstandings by the contractor can lead to misinterpretation of key elements in the design. instead it can and has to be a tool. he or she most likely mean a space for projection of a moving or non-moving image.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 29 language Practitioners bring with them a language specific to their discipline. But a difference in language doesn’t have to be a problem. While lack of understanding from the client’s side can cause difficulties. and compromise the integrity and the visual outcome of the project. it is possible to gain a deeper knowledge of the varying mechanisms and ways of thinking of other disciplines and persons.

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but we do have a crisis of interpretation. While the built environment is made of hard elements. Because of this. And while the boundaries may become blurred when art dips into science and science dips into art. A lot of wasted time can be spent on the re-iteration of the benefits of art. We have no crisis of procurement. preserved and rewarded accordingly. on a building site the hierarchy between soft and hard is clear. ‘We have won the argument for the inclusion of art and architecture. In this climate the process of negotiation and constant justification of the artist’s contribution can be grueling. the artist works within a soft realm of intuitions and senses. which are ultimately unquantifiable. technical methodologies and quantifiable facts. the artist’s role and status often remains unclear.’ ben heywood . Art should be given a fitting place in the hierarchy of the scheme that is to be recognized.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 31 status While an architect’s status is well defined within the context of the building or a public realm project. the artist’s work could be subject to the type of questioning and criticism that other professionals on the team are unlikely to endure.

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But while governmental guidelines. a demand for guaranteed successful results is only natural and is to be expected. research and commissions can prove very useful for understanding the legal and contractual mechanism that are available for supporting this climate of collaboration. nor can they be measured. but is inherently impossible. Creativity and discovery of the new and unexpected cannot be prescribed. . or in that of a private enterprise where a return on investment needs to be tangible. a desire for a prescribed method.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 33 presCrIbed CollaboratIve methods In a climate of publicly funded projects where the use of public funds needs to be justified. a full proof framework that provides successful outcomes for artist and architect collaboration is not only elusive.

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. This credo of the Artists Placement Group. Jes Fernie. said: Art for Architecture did something that is almost unheard of in the world of art and architecture funding: it supported conversations. the exchange of ideas and forms of experimentation with no pressure to produce pre-conceived outcomes.that it is communicated through a medium . Who ever is included will hugely benefit from understanding the basic character of the creative conversation . experiences and views.that it takes time .. .In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 35 In ConversatIon. it is perhaps more useful and meaningful to look at such collaboration as a conversation between two people. A conversation is ongoing and most of the time open ended. The RSA scheme suggests that rather then looking at art and architecture process as a meeting between two disciplines. and the methodology of engaging in creative work together is the conversation. This resulted in projects of serious intent and quality. an artist and architect collaboration is a subjective event. It is a meeting of personal histories.that it is a process. It can be limited to the artists and architect but can easily grow to include more people. outgoing director of RSA Art for Architecture. other soft elements will inevitably follow. and through that better the process and result. Before being a conversation between disciplines. the context of the process of collaboration. What is the context for artist.architects collaborations? Beyond the individual context that each location brings into the mix. It is a coming together of people who are looking to begin a dialogue that can enrich their professional expertise and effect their practice in a meaningful way. ‘context is half the work’. is as true to art-architecture projects as it is for the group’s famous artists in government placement scheme. By placing the conversation in the centre as the focus of the collaboration.

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In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 37 a guIde for IgnorIng the guIdelInes simply put - .

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expertise can be communicated only by carefully negotiating past experiences with new contexts. The process of striving towards a common goal is new with every project.the designers and contractors.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 39 every projeCt Is unIque It is important to realise that every project is a unique and new situation. . not past ones. the local authority. and the buildings around the site. as well as other people involved. set solutions or guaranteed outcomes from collaboration. These contexts include the site. While many clients may seek predetermined. it would be wiser to accept the uniqueness of the situation and allow the conversation to take shape and emerge in response to the present situation. the community. and should not be over shadowed by past failures or successes. While past professional undertaking is there to be built upon.

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from the first conversation to the sites’ opening. A good process is an arch stretching over the entire length of the project. to meet new people. to try something new. and to bring in more influence and in turn.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 41 beIng proCess led Collaboration exists in the process. Being process led also means that everybody can take part and that there is room for including the unpredictable. Being processled means being aware of the time it takes to reconsider. A process is an open-ended proposition. whereas the outcome (the design) is an almost silent manifestation of that process. . It is meant to stimulate and push forward all people involved. Allowing the process to stretch for as long as possible means giving change one more chance. to elaborate. Every phase and every step of the way is part of the process. and in the same way the quality of the outcome will be as good as the process. It is important to realise that the process is as important as the quality of the outcome. A good process is not just allowing time for initial concept or schematic design meetings.

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be supported by. Before creativity can begin. In any case. An established relationship can provide a safe haven for each professional to rest in. this does not mean that new collaborations cannot succeed and that established collaborations are the only route advised. and a common language need to be found. and driven through. but like any other new relationship. One of the disadvantages of schemes such as Percent for Art is that it can lead artists to projects in which they are not completely welcomed. to have the confidence to speak up your mind.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 43 CultIvate personal relatIonshIps From the client’s perspective it is probably easier to nurture existing relationships then to enforce new collaborations between people. the right condition in which to foster creative results. An imposed collaboration will produce mediocre results at best. whereas an established personal relationship provides fertile ground from which to grow. . gaps needs to be bridged. this takes time to cultivate. New collaboration has he potential to create new solutions and new ideas. However. it is important for the client to allow the time for relationships to grow.

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are the only way forward. Risk in this stage is a theoretical journey that should be restricted by the limits of imagination. allow faIlure Risk taking is a tricky term to apply to the built environment where indemnity and safety are major drivers. . It may happen that a path taken proves to be the wrong. those factors should be left behind and the creative team should be allowed to explore. Thus. can unexpected things happen. while exploring conceptual territories. allowed by time. Risk and experimentation. more successful path. Many practitioners talk about the various degrees of open ended design letting certain ends untrimmed.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 45 take a rIsk. pushing the boundaries the furthest they can go by their own ability. to allow for manoeuvre on site during the time of realisation. the possibility of failure is written in the journey. Only when you are not sure. But within the haven of conversation. into the process of exploration. but it is important to trusts that the artist and architect will find a new.

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built environment and the ever changing user . an office practice moving into a factory building.a community growing in age. a shift in thought.. see and experience our cities. The city is first and foremost a social entity. systems and mechanisms for the gathering sharing expressing and allowing the cohesion of its social elements. employing architectural and design research methodologies to look at a space inhabited by people. a technology shift. It is also the memories. it is touched by everyone and touches everyone. It takes communities and the public out of the social sciences department and into to the designer’s studio. It deals with the tension between people and buildings. Soft Architecture is also the realm in which art and architecture meet. a disciplinary shift. Through this practice architects and artists bring together different understandings and perspectives in an effort to reconcile the static. Soft architecture can best be described as the design of social spaces. but tries to create design solutions which are nevertheless very real. a community changed by new residents. But the city is made up of more then its buildings and architecture. its infrastructure and facilities.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 47 the bIg pICture: understandIng soft arChIteCture The city is man’s biggest enterprise. identify its problems and issues and to create instruments. It deals with the intangible. It is where art can make a real difference to the way we live. aspirations and desires of its inhabitants. of places for human inhabitation and congregation. .

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space changes in a slower pace than behaviors of habitation and therefore interposes tension on them.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 49 The physical world is the main sphere for the manifestation of economic social and cultural phenomenon. and we have to learn to decipher this tension. It is not that these phenomena occur in the physical territory before they they occur in other spheres of reality : Not at all the energies shaping them are essentially a-spatial. The clues and evidence of new life styles are registered in this tension. Indeed.’ Multiplicity . The central issue is that all these processes become legible and comparable in physical space.

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In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 51 IntervIew antonI malInowskI .

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What interest you as an artist in the world of architecture?

I’m interested in issues relating to perception in space which is a different way of looking then those you use when looking at the painting as a square for example. Perception that involves movement in space, is very different, and makes use of very different perceptual faculties.

can you describe the process of collaboration? how do you and Steve tompkins work together?

The Coin St. community centre is the second collaboration and we are now working on the third in Ireland. The collaboration usually starts for me with an existing architectural construct. We talk and meet somewhere; I can propose certain materials, certain colours, certain ideas of movement. Next we look at the design of the architectural structure and we begin to look at it literally space by space, room by room, and see how our two visions can merge and how to really make it work. It’s not that our visions are disparate, but we do represent different disciplines and off course we look at the world in a different way. You just offer something and the other person offers something else, and you start a dance that continues until realisation, which is yet another dance in which the rhythm gets quicker, or more difficult to follow. Steve Tompkins trusts me so he lets me do what I should do – he doesn’t interfere with the realisation process. This is extremely important. There must be no interference at that process where art

actually happens. There is a profound difference between art and design that’s just comes from a different point in the brain. In design you are able to discuss things and change them as part of the process… but when art happens, at the moment of making it, there should be no distraction, there should be just support. The most important issue for me is support. I prefer to be left alone. I don’t need the architect; I am relating to the space, the architecture. In this sense I’m not in dialogue with the person but with the space. I don’t need to hear anymore stories, concepts or anything at that moment when I’m realizing my vision, but I do need off course support. And Steve is supportive, he just says go do it, get on with it. And sometimes there are issues that arise during my work, suddenly I realise that there is a light on the work which is wrong so we do have these last minute decisions.

can you describe the process on the coin St. project?

On the Coin St. project the architect really tried have me included in the process right from the beginning, but the client was extremely sceptical about having an artist so there was no money allocated. So every time the architect got some tiny little money to do some work he would call me and I would come to another stage of design and still there was no money for the final realisation, but in the end I had to do it. I had a building which was half designed because they had the architectural building designed but I knew and the architect knew there was another layer missing to complete it. And it was in the centre of London.. so finally the client managed to get a small amount of money which was really ridiculous but

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I had to except it and I started working and the minute I painted the first wall, well it was a ceiling in fact, the whole situation changed because suddenly their eyes opened, and they said how they never imagined something like this, and how wonderful.. And this is how it is; you have to constantly prove the worth of bringing art into the process to people who really should know better. But this is this is the situation and this is how it works and now they want another stage and I hope now they would find a proper budget. There is such resistance in this country to art, to anything which may seems frivolous, and art is something frivolous so anybody can be accused of wasting money instead of spending it on art in the public realm.
Under which kind of terms collaboration works best?

Collaboration works well when you work with another practitioner so another field who really when you have almost instinctive understanding of each others work and so one develops the other. I work with this Korean choreographer Yon Min Choo he translates or he develops my wall installations into dance and that is a natural process and its wonderful but it doesn’t mean that I could work with other dancers. I’m not sure that it would work the same there are so many things that are so complicated, it has to be someone which is interested in those particular aspects that the work explores. With art and architecture collaborations, it’s similar. I know Steve Tompkins says that he really enjoyed the fact that an artist brings another vision

to this architectural structure that’s very important. In architecture and art the creative moment happens at different times. So for architecture it is at the design stage only really, and this is where it ends. After that architect has very little room for manoeuvre. The creativity happens there, at the sketch, at the desk. with art its something else it happens at the moment of realisation – so an architect to be close to this creative process until the very end is very exciting. this I know because it puts him in a certain frame of mind and he is able to change…. in the royal court we really worked together and came to choosing colours for walls, for ceilings, little details which were so influenced by the presence of an artist and we had great fun working like this. Because otherwise it could be really difficult for an architect cause they could get so tired. It just becomes so tiring. It like a coach running and running and you need that other coach to suddenly come next to you to make you run faster, to give you a little bit more and energy and push.

how do other people influence this process? builders, electricians etc..

This is terrible. It’s a nightmare but I find my way through this. This is a modern world situation, it wasn’t always like this. The process of realisation in architecture is so difficult and such a painful process, that it’s in pushes me to work in a different way, a quicker way. For example in the Royal Court project, we only had one month to complete the art work.

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look at it. Once the project has been handed over to contractors it out of the architect’s hands. It is very difficult to change building processes once they have started. Anyone else in the process you find is really important? The client is vital. The RSA’s Art for Architecture was a brilliant scheme. nothing really major happened in the last seven years but I do go there and I check and I make sure there isn’t much dust on it. While for example the other end of the spectrum is canary wharf corporation where I designed a floor in the shopping mall and also a couple of my drawing specially painted for it.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 57 In Tiepolo’s days. while the structure was drying and then he was given another year to do his work. All this research into vermillion was crucial! Otherwise I could not do it. If there a scratch or anything I mean things happen there are 400 people every day rubbing their backs on unprotected painting. so we have a hectic building with four weeks. and gives the artist the time to finish the work. they look after it. The understanding of the client. for one year. Secondly they just do what they want they installed some bar in and it covers areas of the floor which are intricate design and were very expensive to make. And they did everything they could in order to destroy it. they do decay. and this why we have those amazing frescos. we get what we deserve. where the building would be built and Tiepolo would come and look at it. things happen. how did the project curator influence the work. So the client is very important in all stages. but the client has to also love what ever is happening. It’s really down to the developer to allow changes and the time for work to be done. six weeks amongst all the horrific rubble and dust and all the abuse of the workers. This how it should be. for example in the Royal court theatre? Jes Fernie’s role was not that of a curator but more to facilitate that first interaction. I can go there. I can see if anything Is wrong there. otherwise it is really a struggle. to travel to Italy to look at various roman frescos and so on and so forth. They were giving money for the initial conversation. But what happens in reality is that the builders move out and the client moves in without even one day of space in between. deliveries. thing like this and maybe I go there two or three times a year but that’s enough and that’s how we still have the space and the piece in a really good condition. First of all they did their own lighting which completely contradicted the whole scheme. and not only the understanding. they pay me little money a year. in the beginning to facilitate and make it all possible and then to constant support and later when it comes to maintenance. they love that wall. Sometimes the decay is written into it but you have to look after things and this makes a difference. This enabled me to form this dialogue with Steve Tomkins to do my research properly. the royal court theatre – they are a cultural institution. In an ideal situation the client accepts the building from the contractor. Today. I have a maintenance contract with them. Because at those things that we do. .

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and it all relays on delicate interaction. They obviously use some horrible chemical to clean the stone the stone decayed and they replaced the broken bit with plain stone. Despite the fact that they put those horrible bins there and that they cover it. how they realise it is something special just by walking there. It is important that meetings not only with the architect but also with the client should start at an early stage so that they begin to understand these other ways of thinking. despite everything. so sort of obliterating my work slowly. And that was it. if I come into a meeting with a sketch of some red colour and two black dots. The client is always at the focal point because client pays. It helps with whole process because it . and that you cannot play with it because you can hurt it very easily. who tell me various stories about how they encounter this floor. for example in the royal court theatre when dealing with literary educated people who translate everything into literary meaning. But I can show you previous realisations of different scale and different colours. They have completely defaced the work. The only consolation is that I meet people. also helps in coordinating with contractors. I invited them to my studio and showed them different paintings. I thought about theatre and I thought about rehearsal. so there you go. The meetings we were having are like rehearsal. a real performance. finding the key of language which corresponds to what how they think. Somebody that goes there to the supermarket tells me that this is like a piece of sanity in this whole commercial environment.. they try different things but it’s not the real thing. so at rehearsal actors don’t perform. So this is the thing finding the moment. So if the artist already has a repour with the client then the contractor also has to acknowledge this relationship. to this day. That when he goes there and he always looks at those lines and they kind of embrace him and help him cope with the environment. with the royal court it was great because we had several meeting but this was because of this art and architecture scheme framework that was wonderful. So I told them I cannot show you possibly what this would be like because that would be a real play. So I had to think about their professional field and find an analogy from their world to explain what I mean. of the value understanding the professional expertise which artists can bring. I do hear those things. You have to find the right vocabulary which targets a particular client and developer. There were no more questions. it works.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 59 im not even talking about my conceptual vision. the question would be ‘so what does it mean’ and there is no literal answer. how often do you meet the client when you’re working? Not very often. Total disregard. and we are not there yet. It touches this point of appreciation. the power of art. That’s the reason I did it and so im very happy that it works. im just talking about common sense which sais that maybe its not a good idea to plonk a sushi bar in the middle of an area where you have a pool of broken marble bit which cost – I don’t know how many thousands pounds.

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In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 61 IntervIew steve tompkIns .

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the more trust you have and the more willing to trust and to lead and to engage in periods of vulnerability and lack of certainty and to be explicit about it. and the more respect exists in the relationship already the more self confidents the parties are. That generates respect. It’s not like that when you meet an artist in collaboration. because with them you can get over the professional infallibility that you sometimes need to build in a less protective environment. You’re very exposed in a theatre production you make things quickly. I think we would argue that authorship can be individual and it can be collective. The more self confident the collaborators are the more humility and generosity come into play. but lets work it out. self confidence. In this sense collaborating with artists is so great. and you have a degree of trust and inter-reliance. The great thing about theatre clients specifically is that they do work in that medium. you’re working with collaborators. The circumstances have all been very different. to project a certain confidence. so you’ve that mindset has already been built up. and the basis on you deal with each other is properly established. and I think that’s great. I think that unexpected things came out of pretty much all the collaborations we’ve had. and I think that it also involves confidence. and it can be more powerful when it is collective as long as the terms of that conversation are set up properly. Like in a building to some extent. Is there such a thing as a collaborative mindset? I would think its a preparedness to listen to be on receive rather then transmit mode. for example the Hayward Gallery commissioned Dan (Graham) to conceive the pavilion and we were sort of working to Dan in order to realize that and obviously that became a much richer conversation. So you as an architect you get chance to say “I haven’t a clue. and instil that in people because any sign of infallibility on the part the architect will be seen a weakness which will raise questions like “what are we paying for? I thought you would have the answer”. how does that apply to working with an artist? If you collaborate with someone you personally like and trust creatively then surprising things happen. like in any relationship. On the Doc Martens headquarters . I need to go away and think about this”. to say I don’t know or I don’t understand where this is going. don’t know what the answer is.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 63 how do you feel About authorship in the context of collaboration? how do you bring the client into that mindset? Some people can be sceptical about the idea of collaboration because it can be seen to dilute the possibility of authorship.

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trying to make good architecture. Its always tempting to say. pragmatic individual weighed down by the difficulties. for a client it’s not usually the possibility! But it’s something we wish we could do more often because this is how you move forward. but is that interesting? Why? Is that as interesting as it could be? why don’t you have a look at this? Well. the materiality of architecture in a way which is fantastic and something which very much chimes with where we come from with our practice. and the artists is a free spirit that comes in to liberate and encourage the architect. Its true but I think there is a danger in categorizing the artists in such a way because it tends to stereotype or polarize the protagonists in as much as the architect is a solid. the building was complete when Grenville was brought on board and commissioned to work into the finished building.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 65 with Grenville Davey. I’m sure that had he been involved from the start of the project the result would have been a different outcome. of surface. Antoni in particularly has spent his entire creative life in the study of colour and it is fantastic to have that expertise come into the process. it is really beautiful. I’m sure he wouldn’t see himself as a cheerleader for risk. I think it’s much more a relationship of equal partnerships.. critique it. and then extrapolate the idea without losing the power of his work. The psychology of colour. so its so refreshing to have recourse to a voice that both understands the project but isn’t buried in the minutiae or the problematic aspects of it. he’s not buried in the practical problem solving aspect of a project. A voice to say well what you’re doing is all well and good. so of course the terms of that collaboration were different then for example the royal court. the pressure realities of building under difficult climate. the earlier the better. they do encourage a sense of the visceral. of the matter. of colour. we found. which can be overwhelming. he’s just a highly intelligent. Working both with Antoni (Malinowski)and Clem (Crosby). There is the recognition of a shared striving towards a vision. highly perceptive critical mind who understands where buildings are coming from. It doesn’t really work like that. We like to get our failures out of the way before the building is finished! Experimentation? Yes. coming from different expertise. but sometimes its not – I mean the thing with Grenville it was fantastic. in a difficult country. experimentation failure. or the London library where we worked with martin creed whose been there right from the start for the first stages of conception It’s often mentioned and that artists of bring in to the project the risk. which are my personally recent collaborations. each recognises that the other has part to play.. of sensuality. absorb that. The way that he sights a piece or the way that he relates to the form that he recognises in the building. but it would have been no less beautiful and no less powerful and then with Martin (Creed) working on the London library project he brings so much just in terms of intelligence. I think it’s a much more nuanced process. . possibility Which process do you prefer? I think they are different.

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And its safe to say the client were sceptical about bringing an artist. that it would set up the wrong dialectic between their scruffy building and the works on stage. it absorbed physical change. it absorbed cultural material. going and playing with colours of doors and ceiling. but that he could be involved in the whole thinking and sensibility of the rest of project as well. just to stay sane really. And something which was able to represent that. They were anxious that a piece of fine art in the building would be wrong. and the values of the organisation. when he came on board the Young Vic project in a very early stage. That fact that the building was a palimpsest of its past. and just struck a pitch perfect note on what the building was and what’s its values were. and somehow manifest that. was what was on my mind when we were looking for an artist. in particularly. in these extraordinary circumstances. and I was pretty much living on site as well just out of the sheer anxiety and the scale and difficulty of the task.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 67 Clem. What role does the client play? In case of the Royal Court there is a conceptual idea behind commissioning this as an art piece that is to absolutely capture the whole idea of the power and the magic and the mystery of the place . It has an ancient feeling. It was bombed. and on where it was situated in London. physically. So in the end. So I was trying to encourage them to think that this doesn’t have to be regarded as a precious untouchable work. there was a big team of us on the site so we helped each other well. just going and talking about stuff. it was repaired. looking at how the whole phenomenological pallet of the building will come together and re-enforce it self. .. I knew Antoni’s work from before and was very enthused about what he was doing and we have talked in the past about a collaboration and I think we recognised something in each others work that was attractive and felt promising in terms of a possible collaboration so that process happened he was selected by the client and we got some money not very much but just enough to bridge that gap of anxiety and creditability with the client and for Antoni to come up with some not a plan but not so much a tentative and physical marks and colours but an idea sort of developed narrative of what the meaning of that work could be and they sensed that he would not only make the artefact. That it would be too precious. The idea was that whole of the building would be relatively ambient apart from this red wall which is always there for an orienting device cause the spaces are quite complex and its quite easy to get disoriented and the red wall has helped people come back to their bearings and recognised the marks. because he was working on site. for pretty much the whole 5 or 6 last months of the project. it was altered. with all these builders and electricians there. trying to make this beautiful thing. The politics around a bulding like that and how the building language would convey an inclusive and welcoming but not a condescending message to the community. for example. So the very straight forward but incredibly beautiful and subtle marking that he did on the building were incredibly deeply thought.

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Stephen the artistic director left the royal court as the building went on site. If we all hide behind the mystic of our art. What’s the secret of a successful collaboration? It is about quality of relationships – whether between the architect and the artists or between them and the client. Mystic is for PR but honesty is for collaboration. and the honesty are important. really understood it. When it was done people really got it. those are the three corners of a project. And in a way the more the process is mystified the worst the outcome. that’s a repellent quality in some terms.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 69 So that process was done and there were back and forth presentations for the client who was in this case a sort of consumer receiver and not a direct protagonist. .. They have to trust each other and they have to agree. they don’t necessarily have to like to like each other but its the probity of the relationship..

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In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 71 IntervIew kathrIn bhöm publIC works .

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So the relationship develops through practice and projects. Art and Architecture collaboration can be looked at from a very practical. thinking about structures and mechanisms that can work to generate a more complex public realm. that can help explain the benefits. we work in an almost collaborative process of discussions in which we come up with a brief together. art like response form us we try to put more emphasis on the architectural side. a commissioner like Jes Fernie or General Public Agency. methodological perspective. If we have a client that wants and understand what it means to include art perspective to the project. We would start with thinking about an almost social structure that allows an engagement with a project on different levels. For example we’ve done a project with Siemens Mobile Communication who runs a very different professional practice to ours. we tend to not to take on the project. Sometimes the client is initially not interested but a strong agent between us the client. But it’s not about creating a functional brief. maybe a bit unusual. All projects although very much dependant on the client and context. For us these assumptions allow us to play with expectations. but if you commission an architect to do a work then you have a very determined set of expectation. In a case that a client that doesn’t relate or understand the role of art we’ll strongly consider not doing it. So for example clients who expect a purely playful. and always start with a structural approach. In other projects which are more technical we bring in professionals like structural engineers Art and Architecture are so different. and play the accepted roles against one another. can you tell me some more about this type of collaboration? how is the client involved? In projects that don’t have a brief. it’s more about getting a sense of the overlap of interests. . As a practice eventually decided that we want to formalize the relationship. where as Architecture is considered to be more serious. Or for clients who consider art as being less then serious we put more emphasis on the art side. Art is generally acknowledged as something that is less predictable. are similar in the sense that there is no distinction between architect and artist in the development process. But if we deal directly with a client who isn’t interested.those with a brief and those without a brief. They have different obligations. and only then we would start thinking about which tools to use. Everyone knows that if you ask an artist to do a project you might come up with a very unexpected result. But we could still find an overlap of interests that can make it worth while to sit and think about a project together. and then there is no need to explain. more playful.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 73 can you describe your work process? how do you deal with justifying the “Art” element to the client? There are essentially two types of projects . We never start with design.

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In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 75 We like to play against very determined expectations and preconceived roles. That brings out a certain aesthetic. lets become and art and architecture collective. There is quite a big social factor to it and a lot of these relationships are the result of a network that was developed organically over the years. Its there anyway – and you just make contact. Are there problems in making people aware of this form of architectural practice. and then there is the third level of audience who only knows the work through reproduction. this is also how we grew as a practice. its more a question of how to make people haven’t been involved in the project to recognise it as a concept. “let’s start a practice. and how do you encourage people to be aware of it presence around them? Are these people you have an established relationship with. We never sat down 6 years ago and said Everybody who was been somehow involved in the field where the project took place could recognise the space and themselves in the space. and how do you cultivate these relationships? There are enough people out there who are genuinely interested in collaboration. We simply worked on projects together in different constellations.for example in the park products project the primary audience would be the people who we collaborated with on the project. You know about people who might be interested to collaborate. and You talk about the idea of designing social spaces rather then buildings in your projects. We don’t use computers in the design. but nevertheless this approach can be seen as being a much softer form of architecture. Most of the things we deign happen to be mobile and playful in a way. In our terms you can talk about a primary and secondary and perhaps even a tertiary audience . You obviously have a very coherent structure. When we do design things we try to keep it as a playful process. very often working with models so we’re also using quite conventional methods in a way. so it’s not about maintaining an interest. I think it has a lot to do with the way Andreas as trained architect and me coming from art. the secondary audiences is the public who interact with the project. . and i think this is the result of both our background the idea of doing things and making things but it never comes as a first step it always comes is part of the larger development process. and have a performative element to them. so we don’t use computers to develop a visual idea. For them the space is more invisible then the others who have experienced the space. We are interested and like designing things. something like a retro minimalism.

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the project and the user are partly up to the users. but with a strong influence on how much they can be played with or rearranged. That is very quite basic to our approach. Because we understand people react to us and the works in very different ways. Some projects have a very clear structure that creates a multiple authorship. co-producing something on site. . We’re interested in the idea of letting go – asking questions such as to what extent do we choreograph our work. and tries to see if this particular type of field can be changed or rearranged. the idea of us being there. Yes. The relationships between us. but still there is a common methodology. we try to design tools which have several layers in through which can people approach the work. through a process of an exchange. We’re quite at ease with letting go. We try to get in contact and create relationship with as many possible players. to enable us to create a different constellation. which then can be captured in different formats. but we know that in any case we will make some change to the constellation.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 77 Your projects deal with very different sort of spaces from one another. I like to see our practice as a sort of a catalyst that comes into the public realm. The park products project is an example of a project where the people involved could be become co-authors in that public realm. how to what extent we can let go. In this sense it’s not choreographed. and others don’t. There is always a very strong one to one element. and depend on how much they want to engage with us and with what we do. We become another player in the public realm. We enter a situation quite unsure as to how it will work itself out.

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Peter Higgins. Tricia Austin. Patrick Swindell. Stephanie Brandt. Simeon Featherstone. Lucia Manella. who has been an amazing source of knowledge and guidance. Ryo Terui . Matt Dixon. Kevin Flude. Violeta Houbenova. Antoni Malinowski and Steve Tompkins. Himanshu Desai. Many Thanks. Anastasia Sledkova. The interviewees Kathryn Bohm. Ma Creative Practices for NarrativeEnvironments Prof.In ConversatIon : artIst and arChIteCts In CollaboratIon : 79 thanks & CredIts Editing – Gadi Sprukt Graphic design – Karin Aue Proof reading – Jeffrey Koh Thanks to all of the people who supported this project. Sarah Featherstone. Louise Trodden. Ana Ospina. Arnaud Dechelle. Kimmy Liu. Hiroka Nakano. head of Art in the Open. Niki Lampaski. Fernando Lai Couto. Karin Aue. Stuart Jones. Susanne Buck. and to all the people i have had supportive and informative conversations with in the lead to this book. Jeffrey Koh.

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