Two Minutes With // Michel Rojkind, of Rojkind Arquitectos

Hello! Today we’re proud to be posting a great interview with Michel Rojkind, of Rojkind Arquitectos. Rojkind Arquitectos have a unique way with form, pattern, and space, which is why we asked Michel to share some thoughts. Follow them on twitter for @rojkind_arq, and be sure to check out their website for more. Enjoy the interview!

Images courtesy of Uli Heckmann and Paúl Rivera, respectively.

VT: Your projects consistently convey a strong presence of form. Do your forms respond to positive or negative spaces within your site, and what decisions help to define your formal constraints? What impact do interior spaces have on overall exterior forms?

MR: We have a research area that works like a diagnostic and the last thing that we do is the design process; we first work on strategies. We ask ourselves what are the physical constraints? What are the limits? We are like private investigators from CSI. We gather together all of the facts and then start working on the concept. Once we have a strong concept, that’s when we start designing. When I first came out of school, I had a completely different strategy with clients. A lot of the students who came out of school didn’t listen to their clients, and they pushed their ideas on them. That was the wrong way to go about it. Now, I listen to the clients and this is a great opportunity; a great project is born in the office. We are a team. Do you want the project to be influenced from the inside out or in the outside in? This idea is that architecture gives to the public realm. The most important thing is to have no preconceptions about a project. We tailor each project to the client. We rethink ideas and new ways to do architecture. We love to create new interiors programs related to the urban condition. We search for ideas that make the project better for the client. We are the adviser for the client. We are not just the designer, but we give advice and build the strategy.

VT: Do you ever have repeat clients?

MR:Yes, they come back to us. A lot of designers try to force their ideas on their clients and here it is about the best result. It is the team research and the dialogue between the clients and our studio, this creates the design.

VT: Complex patterning can be found within many of your projects. What are these patterns responding to, and how do they relate to both the interior and exterior of your buildings? To what extent does digital technology help to assist you during this part of the design process?

MR:We are obsessed with the future and new materiality and the processes of digital design. We are always experimenting on patterning that is more inhabitable and design driven. Like in Tori Tori, the design was created in an existing house and we were still trying to make the design look like a house. We used a weaving pattern to make it look more liquid than solid, so that when you are inside you experience a sort of fresh air and a constraint on the vertical walls. We also incorporated a big rooftop because the client wanted it. It was fun working with the light and dark. We have an interest in the perforated skin and how that interacts with the structure. In a recent high rise competition, the skin depends on the conditions of the high rise building. It becomes a part of the skeletal structure and the extreme material constructional solution works to sustain the structure.

VT: With your years of experience and many design accolades, what do you consider a successful project? What are the common characteristics of those successes?

MR:We designed a bridge for the Nestle Chocolate Museum – this is not something they asked for but we were inspired to make because of the long, miserable trip to the museum, especially for kids. It takes about 40 minutes to get out of the city by bus, and then you are on the highway. So we created a bridge for the kids to give them a better view in contrast to the boring views outside of their bus window. After a lot of research, we realized there were not any chocolate museums in Mexico, which is strange because chocolate is a Mexican thing and then it was taken over by the Spaniards. So it’s really about once we have the facts, then we can do the work.

The most successful project is one where the concept and design come together. A lot of problems occur on the construction site. But when the architect and the interior designer work together, great collaborations occur; it is at the beginning when they should sit together and create the diagnosis for the client and give each other different responsibilities.

VT: What has been your favorite project?

MR:I am always excited about the projects to come. I can’t stop and look back at all of the projects that were great, I can’t stop working; I’m like a child with an adrenaline rush. We are doing something now for the government, refurbishing the National Film Archives and adding a public park, and it’s going to be great.