ON/OFF consider themselves as a network.

Today: ON/OFF

Just completed your studies? Or about to finish? And you have no idea what to do next? We’ve all been in that situation. Perhaps you had a goal in mind at first, but then the future became a large question mark? We have something in store for you to fight your fear of the future: Young offices and employees who are going their own way. We asked them what their biggest fears, inspirations, and successes are. This time we talked to Sam Carvalho and Anika Neubauer from ON/OFF.

ON/OFF, an interdisciplinary design group based in Berlin, came into being around 2011, when someof its members started working on projects together in their free time. Having no office of their own back then, they would work on the streets and in their apartments. Their first competition submission was for the Istanbul Design Biennial. However, in order to submit a project, they needed a group name. They chose the name ON/OFF because it reflects the playful nature of their work, but also their way of working together. Since all the members of the group have other jobs or are involved in different activities, they plug in to or out of the group whenever necessary. Since ON/OFF began, more friends have joined the group. It currently includes 7 members.

Your greatest success?
The publication of our book “Co-Machines: Mobile Disruptive Architecture” was a special moment for the group. We were working on a number of mobile projects in public space, very action-based, and we never took the time to think of the “why”. So we decided to build a mobile printing press to publish a book on our research and theories on mobile architecture. Eventually, this resulted in a publication collecting projects from all over the world through an open call. Which was much better than our initial idea.

‘Co-machines: Mobile Disruptive Architecture’ is a publication from 2018.
It takes as its premise the recent tendency among architects and designers to opt out of traditional office work in favour of creating self-initiated interventions in public space.
It investigates a new architectural movement motivated by practices of place-making, occupying and squatting, and alternative economies.
The visual language of the book is inspired by DIY Risograph printing.
A series of essays by architects, educators and critics complement the book.

Fotos: ©ON/OFF

Which project has left you speechless lately?
The Floating University by our good friends Raumlaborberlin. Incredible site, building and outstanding program and activities.

What is breaking your heart?
The end of Floating University.

For the 2014 Kanal Playground festival in Brussels ON/OFF were asked to consider how children can still play in a city, where day traffic and circulation shrinks safe and playable spaces to a minimum.
They responded with the BOULEvard, a large mobile playground which rolls its way through the streets and squares of the city.
The BOULEvard allows kids to carve a new joyful path through their urban environment, because this mobile play-area crosses typical stops like roads and no-play zones and so claims space back for a temporary takeover of everyday space for action.

Bilder: ©Tim van de Velde

What do you love most about your job?
The journey with our clients, users, students, collaborators, participants, funders, interns, friends. When it all finally comes together, it turns into something pretty special.

What caused your last nervous breakdown?
Running a practice is a struggle, regardless of the advantage of being part of a large group. We support each other in terms of the workload. We also remind each other that it’s fun first and then work, and not the other way round.

What are you afraid of?
Its worrying to see how society is becoming polarized and how some people are acting in a very insensitive way. This reminds us that we have to work better and harder and be kinder to each other.

Most recent young professionals-related embarrassment?
We have had our share of fails. A funny one was in Aix-en-Provence when, for a scenography piece, the entire electrical system crashed just in the moment the audience sat down for the show. It was outdoors and cables were too wet. Actors saved the day in the end. These moments keep you in check. Fail more, fail better!

How do we a create an affordable home for everyone in a city with the top-ten-rents of Europe?
The temporary housing project in Munich from 2014 attempts to answer this question.
In the framework of „Shabby Shabby Apartments“ the Münchner Kammerspiele, the architecture collective raumlaborberlin and the TV channel Arte invited ON/OFF among others to build the apartment of the future for only 250 Euro in 8 days.

Fotos: ©Matthias Kestel

Nine to five or eleven to ten?
None of these apply to us. Our activities vary a lot, but working hours are usually 9-7ish. When we are doing construction work on site, we tend to work longer hours. That’s quite normal, in our view.

What’s the next goal?
To continue to develop the practice and grow as professionals. We would also like to print a second edition of our Co-Machines book.

Die Baumeister Academy ist ein Praktikumsprojekt des Architekturmagazins Baumeister und wird unterstützt von GRAPHISOFT und der BAU 2019.

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