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5 Mins With… Diego Ramirez-Lovering

One of the department heads at MADA, Ramirez-Lovering is pioneering a new platform in the training of sustainably minded architects, artists and designers

5 Mins With… Diego Ramirez-Lovering


April 3rd, 2013

Your top 3 influences.

  1. Brian Eno- An artist/musician who has mastered the balance between cutting edge innovation and popular culture
  2. Alvaro Siza- An architect working so closely with (Portuguese) culture and tradition who is able to depart and in some way reinvent this culture.
  3. My father- As an architect and educator he has had a profound influence on my career path and convictions about life and work.

The moment you knew you wanted to be a designer.

When building sand castles on the beach as a child

Favourite local landmark/building.

The Car Park at Melbourne University made famous in the first movie of Mad Max. It is amazing how such an ordinary program can produce such an extraordinary space-the atmosphere created by the field of funnel shaped columns is mesmerizing.

 Favourite material.

Brick- It is a very interesting material, so universal on the one hand and so local on the other- it tells us so much about a place, its culture, its building practices…and is so nimble-it can appear heavy and grounded -almost solemn, or can be light and playful, almost dematerialised.

Favourite international landmark/building.

At the moment (it changes weekly!) I am obsessed by the work of Uruguayan Architect Eladio Dieste and in particular his Church of Christ the Worker in Uruguay of 1958-60- an example of this brickwork that is so playful and light…absolutely transmaterialised!

Biggest career moment.

Having the privilege and responsibility of starting and leading a new school of architecture at MADA (Monash Art, Design and Architecture).

Dream project to work on (real or imaginary).

Designing a middle-eastern Kasbah- a whole urban environment that is so cohesive and at one with its broader context and environment.

Dream person to collaborate with.

David Byrne- A musician collaborating with designers and architects across a wide spectrum of projects….while highly diverse, all his activities are characterised by great vision….and he seems to have such a good time doing it!

Favourite decade of design.

The 1900’s, 10’s and 20’s for spawning such incredibly diverse art, design and architecture movements and works – Art Deco, Art Nouveau, De Stijl, Modernism, Dada, Surrealism. What an amazing time for art and design…

Favourite chair.

Shaker furniture fascinates me…its simplicity and rich cultural associations. The chairs that I am captivated by are the ones made circa 1830 in New England…they intrigue me for serving the double function of utilitarianism-robust objects to sit on, and also as decorative objects – they are hung on the wall when not in use (in order to prevent idleness!).

 #1 concern for the design industry in the coming decade.

Getting the powers that be to understand the social, economic and cultural value of good design. We need to be better advocates and build on the well-established evidence base to finally dispel the myth that good design is a non-essential extravagance.

Which items in the workplace can you not live without?

My books and the live giving coffee machine

The most unusual/interesting thing about the way you work.

I work best and fastest between 5 and 7 am.



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