We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of our Honorable mention winners for our "Gaudi La Coma Artists’ Residences" competition – Pietro Giromini and Ekaterina Ivanova from Italy!

Honorable mention winners from Italy

Pietro and Ekaterina, architect and spatial designer, from different countries – Italy and Belarus, started their collaboration in Italian company “URGES” in 2022.

Pietro Giromini is a passionate architect with a Master Degree in Architecture at Politecnico di Milano. Following his studies in Architecture and Interior Design, has been working for renowned firms in Milan, Shanghai and Rotterdam. Licensed since 2011, opened his own practice in 2020. He is currently working on a different of scale projects in Italy and China. Has been involved from large scale projects in China to small apartment renovations in Italy. Pietro believes in Ernesto Nathan Rogers’ quote “Dal cucchiaio alla città” (From the spoon to the city). He always founded this approach very effective in its simplicity which summarizes his philosophy of architecture. At the basis of any design there is creativity, no matter what the subject is. Creativity then needs to be supported by technical skills that allow ideas to turn into construction.

Ekaterina Ivanova is a passionate and creative spatial designer. After receiving the Bachelor’s degree in International relations at the Belarusian State University in 2009, worked for some years as interpreter, including two years in the construction industry in Venezuela. Having always had passion for design, in 2015 enrolled at Politecnico di Milano, where in 2018 graduated in Interior Design and in 2021 received her Master’s Degree in Interior and Spatial Design.

The first significant experience in the design field was the project “Cubox” carried out within a group of students and under the supervision of the Professors during the internship workshop held in 2018 by McArthurGlen Outlet and the School of Design of the Politecnico di Milano. “Cubox” is a unique and sophisticated temporary unit designed for McArthur Glen Outlet in Italy, which was transformed into a prototype and manufactured. The installation of the pavilion was carried out in July 2019. In 2019-2020 collaborated with Venetian company “Zafferano”, which produces blown glass, tableware and lighting, within the Thesis Incubator Design studio of Politecnico di Milano. Realized a theoretical research on the topic “How does blown glass still bring emotions to spaces” and developed two projects - the showroom and the pop-up store for the company.

From October 2021 started working at URGES, working mostly on residential buildings, public spaces and participating in competitions, as well as taking part in the project “Fontana Milano 1928”, a project which aims to bring to live well-known Italian luxury fashion brand and unite two areas – fashion and interior design. Claudia Perego has a Master’s Degree in Architecture with a specialization in the technological area and a Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Until 2021 also teacher in building materials technology, since 2022 she has been involved in Urges projects looking for innovative construction techniques.

URGES is an engineering and architecture company, founded in 2020 and based in Merate, in the province of Lecco in Italy. Having 20 collaborators, URGES is an incubator of ideas that operates nationally and internationally, bringing together highly specialized professionals in the engineering, architectural and technical fields. Our strength lies in the multidisciplinary approach that allows to follow a project from the conceptual phases through analysis, design and implementation.

Brief information about the projects that you/your company have been involved with. For instance, what scale have you focused on/preferred, any significant projects where the company/ individuals have been involved?

URGES realizes wide range of projects: from design competitions till private and public works, urban regeneration, industrial redevelopment, luxury villas, always taking into consideration the visions of its customers by building targeted, efficient, innovative and technically advanced solutions. The key to our success lies in the ability to provide the best design, structural and aesthetic response by taking care of all aspects of the work with a view to optimization and enhancement.

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?

Ekaterina: Architecture for us is a language which responds to the contemporary demands of the society in the best possible way. An architect is a person of multiple backgrounds with never-ending curiosity.

Pietro: Architecture is an expression of the true strength of a society because the things humans value most are those that are irrevocable, according to G. K. Chesterton. Unlike other forms of art, architecture lies in full view and is difficult to get rid of. Architecture is a relatively permanent expression of how society as a whole sees itself and how it views the environment, and it can serve as a time capsule of human history and human thought. It is a powerful reflection of human culture.

Architecture is part art and part science. As an art, it provides an outlet for creative expression that leads society to look at their living space and the overall environment in different ways. At the same time, architecture responds to society’s functional needs while making use of modern technology in building design. The global population is not only growing but is also urbanizing at a rapid rate. As this trend accelerates, the role of architecture in the design of sustainable living space will become critical.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

Ekaterina: The main aim of the participating in architectural competitions is to keep up with the times and constantly develop creativity, to learn with others and from others.

Pietro: Through architecture competitions I can challenge my creativity and experiment new approaches to architecture without many restrictions. It’s a great exercise for me to build confidence, express my ideas and engage in dialogue with other architects around the world.

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide
whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture

Ekaterina: The advice to the individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architectural competitions is to be brave and to accept the challenge.

Pietro: Ideas have value only if they are shared with others, Architecture competitions allow you to express them and make them visible to the world.

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