Interview with ENORME Studio, the evolution of PKMN Architectures

by | 25 July 2016 | Interviews

With projects ranging from ephemeral architecture interventions to audio-visual display installation, including habitational proposals adapted to modern life, ENORME studio was born as the evolution of PKMN Architectures stablished by three of its original co-founders, not only as an architecture studio but also as an attitude.

ENORME-estudio-entrevista-arquitectura-more-with-less-01ENORME studio team: David Pérez, Rocío Pina & Carmelo Rodríguez (with Yubaba)

 

Carmelo Rodríguez, Rocío Pina y David Pérez are the soul of ENORME studio, three Young architects who met each other during their architecture studies at the ETSAM Architecture School of Madrid, where they started their first projects as a team. Also involved in research and teaching, ENORME studio present a radical approach to architecture that explore the industrial hybrid systems and typology innovation, being the participatory and social collaborative practice the basis for their creative process.

“We work with collaborative methodologies that understand the participation as a co-design process at all its scales, beyond the consultative survey”

 

How was Enorme Estudio born? How was the evolution from PKMN Architectures and how did the idea of the name arise?

ENORME is shaped by three of the co-founders of PKMN Architectures. PKMN was born 10 years ago with eight friends who wanted to make projects together. Since then, we have changed the structure several times and in the last split we thought it would be time to change the scene… New name, new life! PKMN was already our identity sign, ENORME is an attitude to tackling the projects. Why should be someone be called all his life Alfredo?

 

What is your work method to develop a Project?

We always start with something like a trialogue meeting to brainstorm a few initial ideas. Of course we almost always use references from other designers that we like, there has always been someone who has done it great before! That is usually the starting point.

 

What are your sources of inspiration or references when you design?

Our references are very varied, and certainly they are not only from the world of architecture and design. We are very interested in the period from mid-sixties to mid-seventies. To quote some of our past idols, in our Top Five would definitely be Stanley Tigerman, Hans Höllein, Superstudio, Trix and Robert Haussmann or James Wines. ENORME-studio-arquitectura-paradise-lost-more-with-less-01

ENORME-studio-arquitectura-paradise-lost-more-with-less-02Paradise Lost [PKMN Architectures]

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Despite being a team studio, is it possible that each of its members could leave his personal mark on a Project?

Of course there are personal traces everywhere. However, teamwork makes some more traces appear, not only ours but from all the people who make the process possible, contributors, clients, friends, builders, painters, carpenters, etc. That turns the project into a crime-scene impossible to solve.

“The most important thing in a team is to assume different roles that complement the whole, as the A Team or La Bella Fuerza Cuatro; put the skills that distinguish us to make the Group stronger”

 

Could we say that there is a philosophy that features your work? Or is it different in every project?

More than a philosophy, there is a number of common interests and collective discussions that are always present in every Project. We have used very similar methods to build a public space in an abandoned park in Chihuahua, Mexico, or to imagine the future of a shopping mall. However, there is always a period of adjustment to the project. Each project is an extraordinary world to discover.

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Which one of your projects makes you feel more proud? Why?

There is never a fully great Project… We move through built flashbacks more, through pieces of highlights moments of each Project. Home Back Home, for example, is a very rewarding project because the relationship with the client -a young person who has come back to his parents’ house and who adapts that room for the “back home”- is very close. Gestate the idea through a collaborative workshop in a very short time, is very intense… And when you finish the intervention you still want to remain being an architect.

ENORME-studio-arquitectura-home-back-home-dune-more-with-lessENORME-studio-arquitectura-home-back-home-ana-more-with-less Home Back Home [Workshops led by ENORME Studio] Above case Dune, Below case Ana – Read more here

 

“Rather than changing the idea of understanding architecture, is very urgent to build an architectural culture at all scales and for everyone”

 

What is your vision about architecture nowadays? Do you believe the way we understand and make architecture should change?

Rather than changing the idea of understanding architecture, is very urgent to build an architectural culture at all scales. An architectural culture for all which translates into urban culture on public space, graphic and spatial culture. In that sense, there is a long way to go regarding an architectural education accessible to all audiences and all ages.

 

In which city of the world do you think the latest trends in architecture and design are moving? Where would you like to submit a project and why?

We don’t really know… Anywhere with someone willing to change the way things work. We would like to make projects in so many places!!! A dream would be to do a Project in Japan… We love that land!

 

It seems that architecture has always been conceived as something static and permanent. However, you develop ephemeral architecture and projects with hybrid and mobile systems. Do you think that is the way to respond to current needs?

There has been a large number of ephemeral architectural projects in all ages, from moving tents of a whole Jewish village wandering around the desert, to the assault towers of the feudal castles or “false” façades in the commemorations of the appointment of a new king. The problem is not the production of that kind of architecture but the fact that it has not been prestigious as it should have been. Of course such a dynamic contemporary society requires changing systems of mobility which should be understood from the point of view of flexibility.

ENORME-studio-arquitectura-all-i-own-house-more-with-less-01ENORME-studio-PKMN-arquitectura-all-i-own-house-more-with-less-03All I own house [PKMN Architectures]- Read more here

 

Given that today many young people are planning to form a team and create a studio, it would be interesting to know you opinion about which are the strengths and difficulties they have to face. What advice could you give to these young entrepreneurs?

We believe it is important to avoid the usual architectural model, derived from a boom period that will not return. We believe it is more important to focus on specific services and to discover how they can expand or contract based on demand, and even the wishes of the stakeholders. It is important to learn about business plans, marketing, sales strategies, positioning of product… Something that was not necessary before, as a result of the equation that linked a lot of work with little architects, the equation is now reversed… So you have to reinvent the work we can do as architects.

 

According to your manifesto, you bet on a participatory architecture with a radical approach, what does this mean?

We are working on participation understood as a process of co-design at all scales, from a refurbishment of a house to a public space. In that sense, we work with methodologies of design thinking that understand the participation beyond the consultative survey. The radicalism is provided by the fact of putting too many different people to co-design and not just to work from the supremacy of “like” or “do not like” or YES or NO.

ENORME-studio-arquitectura-urban-spa-mexico-more-with-less-04ENORME-studio-arquitectura-urban-spa-mexico-more-with-less-02Urban Spa [PKMN Architectures]

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What are you based on when choosing a material and what characteristics do you think that are important?

We are open to experimenting with any type of materials, provided that they meet the project-related logic. Of course there are also some very intense desires to use them in “different” ways to conventional ones, however, many times those desires are stopped by the reality of budget or simple common sense.

 

The vast majority of your projects have very marked and characteristic graphics. Why do you give so much importance to them and how do you believe that this affects the perception of your architecture?

Graphics are a very important part of the project. I do not know who said that there were plans very well drawn which ended up being horrible buildings, but he did not know any big project badly drawn. Drawing is a statement of intent of the project, beyond its marketing component.

ENORME-studio-arquitectura-oficina-turismo-alcazar-more-with-less-01ENORME-studio-arquitectura-oficina-turismo-alcazar-more-with-less-02 Alcázar Tourist Office [PKMN Architectures] – Read more here

 

What books or authors would you recommend us to have in our library?

There are so many…! We propose two: one about architecture, “De-Architecture” by James Wines (Rizzoli, 1987) and other that is not about it.. A classic as “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver, written in 1983.

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What documentary do you think we should not miss?

We have recently seen “Electric Boogaloo: The crazy story of Cannon Films” about the producers of successes of the eighties as “Over the Top” Stallone or “Delat Force” of Chuck Norris. They challenged Hollywood movies with almost standard B movies about the strangest freakiness that you may think of. Think about something strange, far stranger and Cannon Films certainly made a movie about it.

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What does More with Less mean for you? Do you see it reflected in your work?

It turns out the daily bread! You have to work increasingly with very low budgets and make a maximum spatial profitability of them. But it is not that it has become a rule of ENORME, because sometimes it costs more to build that Less than a More… More with More is not bad sometimes.

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Interview: Angela Montagud & Alba Peña

Translation: Miren León

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