The latest piece in our ongoing Architecture Week is a roundup of five quintessential architects that everyone should know, compiled and written by Filling Pieces founder Guillaume Philibert – himself a qualified architect. 

“Fashion, product design, interior design and architecture all go hand in hand. It’s this overlap that led me to do what I do today. For me, however, architecture is one of the highest levels of art man is capable of. It is the combination of form, function, emotion, detail, message and technical innovation.

As a qualified student of architecture, I understand a lot of what goes into the process to create a beautiful building. While it’s not exactly the same, there is a lot of common ground in the way I design Filling Pieces shoes. The things I learned from these following five architects — things like how to express ideology through form, or the power of seeking out new materials — have stayed with me long after my studies, and have benefitted me in all kinds of ways.

“I believe everyone should be familiar with the work of these five individuals. You never know how it could help you in the future, too…”

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1. Le Corbusier

“While studying architecture, Le Corbusier, his work and his ideology were all very important to me. In our classes, he was always the one example of what I believed to be “perfect architecture.” He is my favorite architect of all time, largely because of his “five points” and his personal commitment to making everything sure everything contained both “Form and Function.”

Great architecture is not simply about building some beautiful building with a striking aesthetic; functionality is the most important aspect. Unlike art, whose existence can be purely decorative, buildings must have a purpose. Le Corbusier is also very well know for his furniture pieces, and this combination of architecture and product product design is something I’m very inspired by.”

His masterpiece, Villa Savoye, is completely designed according to this ideology, and if you look at the aesthetic, he was way, way, way before his time.

The building is based on his well-known “5 points” concept:

1. The support of the construction should be via columns on ground level, which elevate the building from the earth and extend the continuity of the space underneath.

2. The roof should be multi-functional, offering space as a garden and/or terrace. This allows nature to reclaim some of the space which had been occupied by the building itself.

3. The interior should be free and open-plan, with no necessary supporting walls. This means walls are only placed where they contribute aesthetically.

4. Thanks to the open floor plan, windows should be very wide and long, and there should be as few things as possible to interfere with the passage of the sun. Inside is outside, and vice versa.

5. Because the majority of the architectural construction is inside, the facade should be clean and free from unnecessary adornment, serving simply as a skin.

2. Ludwig Mies Van De Rohe

“Less is More — a phrase from the poem “The Faultless Painter”, and one re-adopted by Mies in almost everything he did. While you might think minimalism has been super hot in fashion recently, it was already being done in architecture long before.

Van de Rohe’s ideology was very strong, and this is clearly visible in his work. Looking at one of his masterpieces, the Barcelona Pavilion, you see this in its purest form: the space is walled with glass on all sides, giving the impression that the entire building is nothing other than stone and steel.

Mies was one of the first pioneers to use plate glass and structural steel to divide interior spaces, and although the Barcelona Pavilion was literally only ever used once (and never lived in) it remains one of the most important buildings of the 20th Century.”

3. Jean Nouvel

“With his roots in France, Jean Novel is one of the best architects that has ever lived, in my opinion. He is very well known for winning the design pitch for the Arab Institute in Paris — a building heavily inspired by the hallmarks of Arabic culture.

The combination of modern technological innovation and classic historical appearances were very important in this project. The south wall of the building is fitted with hundreds of mechanical lenses that open and shut automatically to allow different amounts of light in, depending on how bright the light is outside, and altogether have the look and feel of traditional Arabic latticework.

The whole project is a triumph of technology and heritage combining to produce a building that is both culturally sensitive and exciting for anyone to behold.”

4. Frank Lloyd Wright

“In architecture, no building is designed with only one aspect taken into consideration. The interior has direct influence on the exterior, and vice versa.

Franck Lloyd Wright was very much aware of this, and only ever thought of these two things as part of one whole. Alongside that, he was way ahead of his time when it came to the the shapes of his buildings, the ways he used to construct them and how all these practices came together.

Most of his pieces use very organic shapes that fit into, rather than compete with, the natural landscape. The strongest example of this is his masterpiece “Falling Water” in Pennsylvania. The building is built literally on top of a waterfall, and the various different levels and projections of the structure make it completely fit in.

With such innovative detailing and attention to his environment, his work is still considered to be some of the best concepts and buildings ever created. The Guggenheim Museum in New York is another excellent example, where the exterior of the building mimics the spiralling curves of the interior completely — as if the two were, in fact, one.”

5. Rem Koolhaas

“Rem Koolhaas is an architect and urbanist, and his modern take on interiors and aesthetic design inspired a lot of architects around the world.

His strong love of angular, irregular shapes is visible in works like the “Casa da Musica,” music hall in Porto, Portugal. However, as striking as his buildings look on the outside, nothing prepares you for what you’ll find inside…On a much bigger scale, the CCTV building Koolhaas designed in Beijing is a complete masterpiece. The shape of the building is totally radical, and this gives it a hyper hybrid look.

For me, as a footwear/product designer, Rem inspires me with his strikingly individual take on interior design. Together with Prada, he designed the flagship retail spaces in New York and LA. He and his firm also worked together with Kanye West for the Cannes Film Festival, and together they designed a seven screen movie pavilion to show Kanye’s work. His design firm OMA still does a lot of work for the retail/fashion industry. What a legend.”

For more from Architecture Week, check out our video tour of Snarkitecture’s Brooklyn headquarters.

To see the current range from Filling Pieces, visit their website

Words by Staff
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