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Interview with Benedetta Tagliabue: Looking at Buildings as if They Were Decomposing and Becoming New Sketches

Over the past quarter-century, EMBT has emerged as one of the most influential practices in Spain, remaining as thought-provoking under the sole direction of Benedetta Tagliabue as it was before the tragic death of her inspirational husband and co-founder Enric Miralles. In this installment of his “City of Ideas” column, Vladimir Belogolovsky visits Tagliabue at the firm's studio in Barcelona to talk about the role of experimentation and curiosity in their work.

Vladimir Belogolovsky: Before we start, I would like to compliment you on the space here at your studio. It is absolutely fantastic to feel such creative drive here, and I am particularly fascinated with the very simple light fixtures with cords stapled to walls, each expressing its own character and its distinctive signature. I wonder how consciously all these features are done here. Or is it a true laboratory and tomorrow the studio might look slightly different?

Benedetta Tagliabue: It is sort of conscious, but also many things are here because we are constantly running out of space. Most importantly, we want to work in a kind of space that inspires us. So we are in the old city… We found this abandoned building in the early 90s with many layers of history, which reminds me of Venice where I lived before meeting Enric [Miralles]. Yet, from the beginning, it was clear to us that this was going to be a forward-looking, experimental place. And everyone who comes here can see the type of work we are producing. We particularly champion a hand-made approach – building models, making collages. You see and feel what it is like here!

Scottish Parliament Building, Edinburgh. Image © Scottish Parliament Corporate Santa Caterina Market, Barcelona. Image © Alex Gaultier Clichy-Montfermeil Metro Station, Clichy-sous-Bois, Paris. Image © EMBT Gas Natural Office Building, Barcelona. Image © Alex Gaultier

Heathcote Examines The Architecture Of Scottish Independence

Scotland have voted against independence.

Arguably there are only two architects in history that have become almost completely synonymous with one particular city - Charles Rennie Mackintosh for Glasgow and Antoní Gaudi for Barcelona. Indeed, a Catalonian architect, Enric Miralles, designed the Scottish Parliament Building in Holyrood, Edinburgh. The fact that both of these cities are part of large enclaves who are seeking, or have sought, independence is perhaps just a coincidence. Architecture, often used as a symbol for the identity of nationhood, will certainly be part of a wider dialogue about the Union of the United Kingdom following yesterday's referendum.

Material Inspiration: 10 Projects Inspired by Concrete

To celebrate the launch of ArchDaily Materials, our new product catalog, we've rounded up 10 awesome projects from around the world that were inspired by one material: concrete. Check out the projects after the break...

Ceramica Cumella: Shaping Ideas

Aichi Expo, Japan © Ceramica Cumella
Aichi Expo, Japan © Ceramica Cumella

From September 29th to December 8th, the exhibition dedicated to the work of Toni Cumella will be open. His works in ceramic have been utilised by architects such as Enric Miralles, Alejandro Zaera-Polo, or Jean Nouvel. These collaborations made his material became part of the image of Barcelona, being part of the construction of La Sagrada Familia, and the restoration of Casa Batlló and Parc Güell.

Focusing on the 4 main fabrication processes in use at Ceramica Cumella – extruding, casting, pressing and revolving – Shaping Ideas presents the work of Toni Cumella and the application of his ceramics in some of contemporary architecture’s most significant projects.