“I think you really have to be passionate. It is not a job – to be an architect is a way of life. You work all the time, you really don’t stop, but it is not a problem because it is what one chooses to do.“
Antonio Virga: When I went to Paris after my Bachelor’s Degree, I worked as an interior designer and I also worked a lot in the fashion industry for Dior, Céline, Givenchy. So I drew my architectural character from something that was ephemeral, something that belonged only to the aesthetics. A little bit later, I started to participate in some public and private competitions and started to build. After my first building I realized that what I was doing was not very interesting. That’s how I developed a passion for doing something just for people. Now I try to participate only in cultural, social housing and urban competitions and I try to build something that helps the population. I started from something that passes very quickly – fashion, and now I try to work on something that resists the passing of time.
Andreea Robu-Movilă: What have you learned from your working experience with fashion designers? How did it influence you?
A.V.: I attained an idea of beauty, a taste for the detail because when you are working in fashion you have to study all the details and develop some kind of aesthetic idea. What is interesting is that you bring this sense of aesthetics with you in a domain that you are not specialized. You have to make good spaces and have simple, but well done, designs.
A.R.M.: How do you perceive the purpose of the architect’s endeavor today?
A.V.: It’s a very complicated job to be an architect nowadays. We feel a lot of pressure to do something and take into account several aspects like… keeping a low level of pollution. So the real problem is the impact of architecture: of course, we have to think about and take care of the planet but we have to keep in mind we are doing something for the people and we have to do it well. The aim should be to do something better with generosity and passion.
A.R.M.: Which one of your projects is very important for you?
A.V.: The building that was really appreciated is a mall. But it was valued because it changed the idea of the mall.
A.R.M.: In what manner?
A.V.: We knew how the exterior of the cities looked. Before we arrived, the area was full of metal boxes with big signs and there were no investments in aesthetics. In 2012 we designed a mall outside of the city and it really changed the idea of this kind of building in France.
A.R.M.: What makes you happy in architecture?
A.V.: I think you really have to be passionate. It is not a job – to be an architect is a way of life. You work all the time, you really don’t stop, but it is not a problem because it is what one chooses to do.
A.R.M.: So you have to assume from the beginning that this is a way of life.
A.V.: Yes, in every step you take, you live through your work.
A.R.M.: Thank you for your time!
Based in Paris and Milan, the Antonio Virga Architecte agency has been working for over 15 years on public facilities and shared habitats. That on projects of revaluation of the urban inheritance in constrained site and of interior refurbishment with an increased knowledge of the requirements related to the territories of expression of luxury brands (offices, showrooms, retail, apartments). In 2012, he and Vincent Parreira are awarded a multi- award-winning project that will seal their rich collaboration with many other varied and innovative programs. In 2016, they won together Réinventer Paris with a funeral parlor and an urban logistics platform on the Poterne des Peupliers site.
Find out more: https://www.antoniovirgaarchitecte.com/