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5 Minutes With… Chris Bosse

Co-founder of the Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA), Chris Bosse is a German-born Sydney-based architect whose work encompasses everything from small-scale pop-up installations to masterplans and urban centres, merging research into future technologies with exploration of patterns in nature. Bosse took 5 minutes to share his design inspirations with Indesignlive.

5 Minutes With… Chris Bosse


May 18th, 2012

Describe your design philosophy.

MORE WITH LESS: more (architecture) with less (material/energy/time/cost).

Your top 3 influences.

Mankind, nature, technology.

The moment you knew you wanted to be a designer.

Growing up opposite Frei Otto’s Institute for Lightweight Structures in Stuttgart in the 1970s.

Favourite local landmark/building.

The Sydney Opera House for its mathematics, geometry, inspiration from nature and timeless beauty, but that’s a boring answer.

The trees in Centennial Park – Moreton Bay figs – hmmm not a building…

Favourite material.

Membranes – they follow the forces in nature and shape themselves in extraordinary ways.

Favourite international landmark/building.

The Watercube in Beijing – The Olympic venue has recently reopened as Asia’s largest waterpark and comprises all kind of attractions from wave-pools, to fun rides, vertical drops.

Biggest career moment.

Winning the Venice Architecture Biennale Award in 2004 and watching the Olympics in 2008 on TV [Bosse was a key designer of the Beijing National Acquatics Centre built for the 2008 Olympics].

Dream project to work on (real or imaginary).

In China, LAVA is working on several projects including the ’Home of the Future’, an exhibition pavilion on the rooftop of a shopping mall in Beijing. It integrates smart technology with a space that embraces nature under an ETFE geodesic sky dome providing a year-round microclimate.

At night the home turns into an otherworldly experience, with the underlying technology, the electronic veins of the system, coming to life. The fluid, adaptable organisational strategy is based on cells.

For us, the project symbolises the merging of the desire for nature with 21st century technology that surrounds us.

Dream person to collaborate with.

Aliens…actually we are currently building the Martian Embassy in Sydney.

Favourite decade of design.

I’ve recently returned from meeting an incredible network of designers in a very lively emerging scene in Moscow, where I gave the inaugural Lexus Hybrid Art Project lecture.

I was inspired to see the legacy of historicism, Russian suprematist and constructivist art and architecture, the Soviet period and now the amazing emerging cultural transformation over the past 20 years.

The layering of all the different styles and societies creates something very special and uniquely Russian.

Favourite chair.

That would have to be the Panton chair c1967 by Danish designer Verner Panton. It was a radical departure from traditional design and manufacturing techniques.

It anticipated the digital revolution by 30 years and is the first freeform, organic moulded piece of furniture. When we were asked by the Powerhouse Museum to reinterpret the chair, we sliced it into Perspex layers like a medical scan.

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

Architects are in the driver’s seat when it comes to addressing the future of the planet. Topics such as global warming and pollution, transportation, waste, water, etc are the issues of the 21st century.

An additional 2 billion people will require housing. Sustainability is looking at nature, humankind and technology to live in symbiosis.

Which items in the workplace can you not live without?

My incredible team, a cup of coffee, a picture of my puppy Lucy, and my LAVA green Schiavello screens on the desk.

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

We have overcome the era where computers were used for pure form generation and now use them to increase transparency in the design and construction process and to enable informed decisions. This gives you incredible freedom of thinking and, for the client, great security of outcome.


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