Francois Roche and Stephanie Lavaux of R&Sie(n) speak to Ola Bednarczuk about complexity, conflict and the importance of pushing the boundaries of architecture.
May 6th, 2011
The largely conceptual work of French architectural practice R&Sie(n) – pronounced ’heresy’ and led by architect François Roche and artist Stéphanie Lavaux – challenges modern conventions of design and building.
“International design is a catastrophe,” says Roche, who blames the capitalist model for encouraging a standardised mode of architecture “bringing the same ideology to everywhere on the planet,” creating a homogenous built environment with the delusion of being unique.
“Architects need to renovate the notion of resistance,” Roche says.
“How can we be at the same time in the system, and denounce the system? We have to re-embrace the ambiguity and complexity of the world. Architecture is ideal to do that. Not to deny or to simplify, but to articulate conflict.”
R&Sie(n) strive to achieve this through their projects.
“We work in the ambiguity between where we come from and where we want to go,” says Lavaux.
Their Isobiot®ope installation, part of a laboratory and research centre for lighting company Zumtobel, explores the danger of nature by using uranium pigments to measure the intensity of UV rays.
“Uranium pigment is very sensitive to the intensity of the UV crossing the stratosphere,” Roche explains.
“We are using uranium to create danger. There is paranoia of danger from the bomb, and from nuclear power stations, and at the same time it’s a substance that visibly indicates the degree of danger for the future. So [our project] indicates the paranoia of yesterday created by science and the dangerousness of tomorrow.
“I love this kind of ambiguity, this ambivalence. I think architecture has to reveal this ambiguity. Normally architects are commissioned where there is no more conflict, where it has already been erased. This is an incredible paradox.”
Roche is optimistic about the possibility of change in approach to the current system by modern architects.
“For the first time in a long time architects have in front of them the apparatus and tooling which could help them to approach complexity,” he says.
“It doesn’t mean that everyone will use this kind of potentiality of course, but it’s temptation. You cannot resist this kind of temptation. It’s linked with desire.”
Photos by Alessio Erioli
Keep up to date with the latest and greatest from our industry BFF's!
For Living Edge, B-Corp certification was the next appropriate step in a long journey focused on building a truly sustainable and socially responsible business. In 2023 they achieved certification at their first pass, giving customers a new level of environmental assurance and the company an important milestone to celebrate across two decades of staff-led, sector-leading sustainability practices.
The leading furniture supplier solidifies its Asia Pacific expansion with an immersive new showroom space.
Explore the captivating realm of molo, the world-renowned design studio led by Stephanie Forsythe and Todd MacAllen. molo’s acclaimed soft collection celebrates a unique fusion of art, design, and architecture and – crucially – sustainability.
Respected brand designer Alex Ritchie will be presenting at Living Edge, Sydney.
Are start-ups looking for something more from their workplaces – some sort of connection with the past and a counterpoint to their ephemeral work and the ‘corporate culture’? We talk to US-based Leeser Architecture to find out.
Education has been one of the few sectors that has maintained a presence throughout the time of Covid 19. Open for business and supporting fewer pupils has been a necessity but can the design of our schools be smarter, contracting and expanding as future needs dictate?
The internet never sleeps! Here's the stuff you might have missed
Barry Jenkins has created the Venue Tables range based on principles of modularity, simplicity and sustainability – and they’re available exclusively through TCW in Australia.
Optimising the natural beauty of Chengdu, in central China, CCD has designed the Angsana hotel in a way that speaks to old school resorts with a horizonal plan stretching outwards from a central hub.
Urban renewal which opens a dialogue from the past to the present; Melbourne’s Western CBD is on track for complete revitalisation.