"I believe that architects need to think and act more like artists rather than architects by playing with the unknown and fantastical. A meaningful architectural experience speaks to all the senses. A space’s quality is registered with the eyes, ears and nose but also with the skin and muscles.
Every single room or place characteristically resonates intimacy or monumentality, hostility, warmth or cold. Architecture must transcend its materialistic and practical levels to reach deeper down and also touch new heights of our consciousness.
I try to formulate my design process, which derives from a non-architectonic analogy, in order to update the relationship between architecture and form, function, construction, materials, social aspects, architectural principles and the urban space.
My architectural process has several sources of inspiration such as city life, daily objects, memories, people moving, people who will become protagonists of a new space, and their images as they move within it. Creating a particular atmosphere by introducing colour with people’s clothes, and movement with their walking and dancing. It would be a kind of experience that would transform a user into an inhabitant, an experience that could change the idea of consuming space into one of living in places, into the act of giving a space life.
To allow such a dramatic experience to occur, it is necessary to design spaces in a special way. I use the concept of stage design – stage design as a series of visual and spatial events opening to interior landscapes or make the design narrate a story. I create different situations where the user will feel get pleasure from the space and enjoy being there, traversing and discovering new views.
Lighting design as well as sound, music and costume design are important aspects of my work. The theatrical space is a stage for experimental work, for investigating the basic components of architecture. The theatrical realm provides a secluded, limited space where the design process emanates from a script. Stage design makes use of physical elements, light, sound, and the presence of human beings, of movement and action.
The notion of ”theatre” is juxtaposed with architectural thinking, with the design process being forced to take on new and unpredictable directions, towards a more vital, non-traditional architectural proposal. Theatre enhances the perspective in order to create a magical atmosphere. In the imaginary world of theatre I can experiment infinitely with spatial proposals. That world invites us into a creative, stimulating environment and provides an unusual launch-pad for developing original and curiously non-conventional architectonics.
I enjoy walking mentally in the future building, imagining and planning different partial spatial sequences, on an interior journey. Here something occurs to me as an architect - I am no longer the designer; I become a part of the audience.
A creative process does not accept compromise. Compromise could affect the quality of the building. The challenge is how to use limitation as a source of creativity.
Sense of the Fantastical: Encourage imagination
I feel that a missing factor in much of today’s interior design is the failure of the designer to encourage (perhaps even force) the user to use their imagination. The stimulation of fantasy, emotion and recreation should be a major consideration for the interior designer, to mix architectural styles and forms to achieve an eclectic design. Let the user experience everyday, practical activities with a spirit of the imaginary so that he is allowed to momentarily combine the reality of the streets with interior spaces containing elements of the fantastical. The style should not underestimate or, even worse, limit the user’s ability to appreciate design characteristics that go beyond the functionalistic experience. In short, let design interact with man’s most creative faculty: imagination.
The scenographic interior
The second goal is to transform architectural elements into a scenography using historical events, decoration, mythology and even movement. As action is shown in the theatrical play, so might a “story” be told in an architectural design. Is it possible to transform the ideas of dramatic action into an architectural style? I feel that it is. It is a question of how to animate a space and interact to produce a play and let it come alive. In what must be seen as a quite complex arrangement of spatial situations, such a style allows the user to choose their own particular interpretation of whatever elements they find interesting in the environment. If successfully done, the result is a dynamic set of spaces that cannot be totally appreciated at first sight. The decor unveils itself with each step, it changes angle, and new scenes appear with the slightest turn of one’s head."
I give my client something that doesn’t resemble anything else - but then I don’t think about what exists or doesn’t exist, only about what is most suitable.
It is important to remember that just because something is different it doesn’t have to be good.
Abelardo Gonzalez was born in Córdoba, Argentina, where he studied architecture. After his Master’s degree from Córdoba National University, Gonzalez studied postgraduate courses under, among others, Reyner Banham. He then became a lecturer in the same subject and introduced the students to design theory and spatial design.
After his doctoral dissertation at Stettin University of Technology, Poland, Gonzalez carried out research with Hans Asplund at Lund University, in the project “NewTown, an EnergyLandsaving, Public Transport, TwoLevel, LinearTown”. He is now Professor Emeritus at LTH School of Architecture, Lund University, where he for many years also was Chairman of the School Board.
At the beginning of his career, much of his work focused on recreation and pleasure, as he got many commissions to design hotels, discotheques, nightclubs, restaurants and cafés. Through the years, Gonzalez’ works have been published in several renowned, international architecture and interior design magazines. He has also received many, well-deserved and prestigious honours and awards, both in Sweden and abroad.
Now, Gonzalez focuses entirely on his broad spectrum of work at his office – Abelardo Gonzalez Arkitektbyrå.
Architects must think more like artists and play with the unknown, the unexpected and the fantastical. All aspects of man must be taken into consideration. Not only logic, function, technology and production is important, but also dreams, fantasy and desires.
THE TEAM 1980-2021
Abbas Chahrour, Abelardo Gonzalez, Aida Kalnins, Albaryvan Florez, Ameer Hammoude, Ana Sanchez Pietro, Andreea an Mar, Bahador Mohammadi, Beatrice Kianuyte, Birgitta Hallström, Caroline Dieden, Cord Siegel, Cristian Zavoian, Daniel Gerse, David Ferrer Avila, Enrique Villacorta-Eliasson, Ervin Busek, Farmin Ahsan, Francesco Sorasio, Fredrik von Geijer, Frida Olsson, Gabriela Giacosa Petersson, Gabriella Balint Sec, Germán Gonzalez Damonte, Haydar Alward, Hedda Sidemo, Horst Petri, Ida Hammarlund, Jens Pamp, Jesper Magnusson, Johan Larsson, Johan Stenström, Jonas Byström, Juan Carlos Peirone, Kent Andersson, Lautaro Salvador, Louise Franzén, Marcus Hultberg, Maria Udriot, Marianne Olson, Mats Håkansson, Mattias Åström, Maysam Fahad, Mert Aytac, Ola Göransson, Olivier Tripod, Panagiotis Kyriacou, Paul Eriksson, Per-Johan Dahl, Peter Wigelius, René Borda, Riccardo Castiglioni, Robert Janson, Rodolfo Hödar, Salony Saxena, Tadele Nemera, Tarek Abdel Hamid, Theodora Mastrogeorgio, Thomas Lind, Tina Öller, Tomas Andersson, Tudor Gliga, Ulrika Abrahamsson, Valeria Saravia, Vera Matsdotter, Veronica Veronese, Yi-Jo Rebeka Tien
It is important to avoid the limitations of compromise.