At the recently concluded Moscow Urban Forum, Renier de Graaf shared his opinion on a range of topics, from UK’s Brexit and the EU identity to OMA’s work in Russia, particularly in shaping the recent growth of Moscow. De Graaf is a partner at OMA and as director of the firm’s Think Tank, AMO, he produced The Image of Europe, an exhibition hoping to portray a “bold, explicit and popular” European Union. Thus, it comes as no surprise that De Graaf, along with Rem Koolhaas, is particularly outspoken about the recent events within the European Union.
Beginning in 2001 with the firm's Barcode Flag for the EU, AMO has closely associated itself with developing the identity and iconography of the European Union. In a previous interview, De Graaf discussed how research and media become vessels for political agendas. AMO’s work with the EU, which includes the "Atlas of the European Union" and the "History of Europe and the European Union," certainly reflects that opinion. In the video, De Graaf described the Brexit as a “major stupidity” and stresses his opinion of national sovereignty as a myth, spawned by his belief that “politics is all about managing interdependence between countries in a global economy.” He has also recently written a personal blog regarding his thoughts on EU's current situation.
Taking place at the Moscow Urban Forum following a round-table discussion called “News from the Future,” the interview also offered the perfect opportunity to question de Graaf on OMA's involvement in Moscow, including working with the Strelka Institute and designing the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow's Gorky Park. OMA also took part in the Moscow City Agglomeration Development Concept Competition along with nine other firms. When asked to weigh in on the development of city after the competition, he comments: “In a lot of other cities, interventions about public space are very cosmetic or they stop at the rhetoric. Here [in Moscow] there is an interesting degree of follow-up on the rhetoric.”