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. Today we present to you So & So – the anonymous architecture practice. Wait – anonymous? Exactly. Read more about it here.
Today: So & So Studio UG
The members of So & So Studio studied together in the US and ended up in Europe. Since their desk jobs weren’t allowing their ideas to materialize, So & So became their outlet. This outlet didn’t require a name until a year or two later. Their studio became their channel for testing ideas freely, making art and temporary spaces for themselves. The focus of their work is always the client or defined user – how they live, how they work, what are their daily habits and how the space will be utilized.
You’re an anonymous design practice – why that?
We want to avoid becoming a brand of architecture, but rather a reputation for thinking. Architecture should not be about the name of the founder nor the design director’s signature.
What should architecture be about instead?
Good architecture places importance on the analysis of various data: the site, the social situation and everything else it encompasses. So & So starts there. We then solve problems together, because nobody does this shit alone. Our Architecture is realized by accumulating knowledge and experiences. Each project utilizes a different group of experts, focusing on a specific challenge, with a wide range of perspectives. We are certain about the discovery that organized groups of focused individuals produce, and we are skeptical of the traditional (misleading) stories of a singular genius-like architectural figure.
What are you the proudest of?
We don’t often think about pride in specific terms. We are proud of each other and the passion in which we inspire and drive one another with. We are proud of our persistence; we are proud of our hard work. Sometimes you get too buried in a pile of projects in the tunnel vision of your dream or focus. But sometimes, when you are forced to stop and think, we realize that we are just thankful for our team and the ones we collaborate with, for continuing to push forward with us.
Which was the last project that left you speechless?
We’re quite loud. So not too often are we speechless. In terms of our work, there is always a small moment of bliss at the end of each project: When we can see and smile at the materialization of what our hard work has accomplished. In terms of the architecture around us, if it were to leave us speechless that would be something negative. As with art, we think powerful architecture creates dialogue, pushes boundaries and forces people to ask questions. So, if we are left speechless, maybe it’s because the building never spoke to us and we walked by in search of something more engaging.
What breaks your heart?
The shortage of builders willing to get outside of their comfort zone to construct more particular Architecture. Although we are very fortunate to have worked with many skilled artisans and makers interested in great architecture and design, these people are less common than we would all hope. Therefore So & So Studio holds onto such individuals when we find them. We’re not sure when or why this conservative-building mindset began. Possibly the result of economic instability, maybe we can look to the advent of warranted products in creating an architectural climate in which customization is only for the risk-taking contractors. For us, this lack of courageous builders is a huge heartbreak. Especially considering, that we study the built work of past architects like Carlo Scarpa and Mies van der Rohe for their ability to marry great ideas with great hands, that were successful in shaping a greater future. *We are hopeful that this statement will be outdated soon.
What do you love most about your job?
The more satisfying aspects of our work are usually less physical than one might expect. We are excited by our discoveries of spatial configuration, color, and composition. More than anything, we find great joy if the end-user of our work has discovered something they hadn’t anticipated, within their So & So object or space. In some ways, the feeling is similar to giving a gift that wasn’t expected.
What is your biggest fear?
Our biggest fear is not taking that chance and being left to wonder “what if?”.
Are you more the ‚nine to five’ or the ‚eleven to ten’ kind of person?
It depends on the day and the task at hand. Let’s say we are architects by day and artist by night.
Last but not least – what is your new year’s resolution?
We never have any truly singular New Year’s resolutions, but we are constantly striving to get better, be more efficient, do more projects, make more art. So if we had to sum it up… Learn from the last project and push ourselves to take the next step with the next project.