Interview: JEMS Architekci

Interview: JEMS ArchitekciImage courtesy of JEMS Architekci

Interview: JEMS Architekci

Luca Curci talks with artist JEMS Architekci during BODIES+CITIES SKIN exhibition in Venice on May 2016. JEMS Architekci was established at the end of 1988 by three architects: Olgierd Jagiełło, Maciej Miłobędzki and Jerzy Szczepanik- Dzikowski with Wojciech Zych, an economist. The practice was one of the first privately-owned architectural firms to be set up in Poland during the period of political transition. The 1990s saw designs of small residential complexes and single-family houses that gradually led to housing and office complexes. Next to a long series of competitions won over the 2003-2008 period, a recent significant project has been the Embassy of Poland in Berlin (2012) that gave JEMS an opportunity to have the first project built abroad.

 

Interview: JEMS ArchitekciImage courtesy of JEMS Architekci

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Luca Curci – We were attracted by the project you had shown. Was the project created for the festival itself or was it a part of your preexisting works?

JEMS Architekci – Some photographs and drawings were presented  in the Gallery of Architecture in Garden of Arts in Cracow last year, however we have changed the selection of illustrations and texts to follow the BODIES + CITIES SKIN subject of the Venice Exhibition.

L.C. – What are you currently working on?

J.A. – We are working on various residential, retail and office areas, which are a part of  masterplanning of a former industrial district in Warsaw – Wola. The most intriguing project that is about to be completed is the refurbishment and partial reconstruction of a Market Hall “Koszyki”, which plays a crucial part in creating a new image of public spaces of Central Warsaw District, that was intensively developed at the beginning of XX century.

 

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L.C. – Which project has given you the most satisfaction thus far?

J.A. – During the last years we have won several open architectural competitions for public buildings, which were successfully built. Projects which gave a lot of  satisfaction were: MCK – International Congress Centre in Katowice, Extension of Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and a new wing of Raczynski Library in Poznan. We are also pleased with some of our commercial buildings that create a complexed dialogue in the urban and social context, like the Royal Wilanow multifunctional building.

L.C. – Which architects inspire you the most?

J.A. – JEMS is a group of more than 60 architects so it’s rather difficult to select one or two the most inspiring architects. Certainly, there are contemporary architects who are often a subject of our studies and discussions like Chipperfield, Aires Mateus, Zumthor, Caruso/St. John. We are also fascinated by the history of architecture, we are studying Schinkel, Loos, Van der Laan, Milanese architecture of 1950/60 ties and many others.

 

Interview: JEMS ArchitekciImage courtesy of JEMS Architekci

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L.C. – How would you describe your style?

J.A. – Architects usually express an allergic reaction for the word “style”. Perhaps because it is still associated with XIX century “battle of styles”. Apart from that architects are following patterns and references which can be considered as “styles”. It is natural that architectural culture means critical approach to preexistent works, opinions, thoughts. The way we are setting the boundaries of buildings in relation to the landscape, how we are creating  three dimensional “material” building structures, enclosed in regular blocks, our approach to the geometry of buildings, plans could be considered as a kind of JEMS style. It is however quite apart from the fact that we are not crazy about following pre or self-established rules.

L.C. – Do you usually cooperate with museums, architecture studios or other institutions? If so, for what kind of projects?

J.A. – We cooperate with museums and galleries by presenting our works. Two years ago we have also designed Adolf Szyszko Bohusz exhibition in The National Gallery of Art “Zachęta” in Warsaw. Szyszko Bohusz was one of the most important polish architects, famous for narrative means in creating a new political and cultural image of Poland between I and II ww.
We also cooperate with various architectural magazines.

 

Interview: JEMS ArchitekciImage courtesy of JEMS Architekci

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L.C. – What do you think about It’s LIQUID platform?

J.A. – It’s LIQUID platform gives an opportunity to present many aspects of art and architecture. It is a platform for discussions and what is very important for us it does not limit individual ways of expression.

L.C. – Did you feel comfortable cooperating with us?

J.A. – It is our first cooperation with architect and curator Luca Curci and frankly speaking we had no precise idea about the character and ways of taking part in BORDERS festival. It is very interesting experience to compare our preliminary expectations with the festival reality. Interiors of Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi  create very atmospheric and incredible context for contemporary art and architecture presentations. We were surprised that those two worlds successfully co-exist.

 

Interview: JEMS ArchitekciImage courtesy of JEMS Architekci

 

Interview: JEMS ArchitekciImage courtesy of JEMS Architekci

 

more. jems.pl

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