We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the Clients Favorite winners of our “Monte D'Oiro Wine Tasting Room” competition – Thibault Sortes and Alexis Poumailloux from France!

Thibault Sortes and Alexis Poumailloux from France

We are both architects based in Paris. We trained at the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture de Paris and followed our curriculum together.

We have various studio experiences and have worked with Jakob & Macfarlane and DATA architect respectively before obtaining our master’s degree in 2019. We had the opportunity to experiment with a wide range of subjects, from new construction to rehabilitation, and architectural competitions.

Today, we both work within a collective of architects/interior architects and designers (BSTLL) which, due to the diversity of its actors, responds to a wide range of projects (rehabilitation of high-rise buildings, art galleries, private apartments, etc.).

Due to the plurality of the subjects treated in the studio and the coordination of people coming from various backgrounds, everyone finds his or her place within the project. Each person’s experience and expertise feeds a common objective – that of wanting to (modestly) improve people’s living environment.

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?

We don’t care about the scale of the projects at the moment. The essence of our research lies mainly in the depth of a method, of a thought.

We are currently working in the BSTLL studio on interior projects, renovations, and new construction projects. This encourages us to move from one scale to another quickly. And it is specifically this work of translation of scale which seems to us to be indispensable in order to have a real grip on the constructed reality of our world. The essential thing for us is that there is a thread, from the detail of the door handle to the façade. We want to create a coherent whole where each element of the project finds its place, by multiplying the layers of meaning and evocation of sensitive aspects.

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

Architecture is above everything political and social.

Architecture, as we see it, must be a vehicle for experimentation. And in reaction to an increasingly standardized world, we firmly believe in the affirmation of particular, sensitive objects and see it as a catalyst for moments, for meaning. For us, more than ever today, the architect must find the uncertain link between past, future, territory, and society.

The galloping urbanism has caused a real no-place to emerge in its bosom. The city was the place of sociability and proximity, but its desperate attempt to resist «in spite of itself» to expansion (and the paradox of having to be the most dynamic and the most static, the oldest and the newest) has made it a hostile place for bodies and minds. It is from this that we understand that architecture, more than ever, must be thought of from the largest to the smallest scale. And insofar as the urban environment «is no longer a place that can be drawn but a condition that can be described», it must negotiate an effective interaction with its immediate context and be the bearer of a specific experience ingrained in its time and location.

As a reaction to fast food architecture, impoverishing environments and thinking, where generic architecture trivializes places, we believe that its vocation is to reveal them. The architect must propose strategies to accompany the changes in the city, society, and its uses. For us, he must take a poetic look at situations and carry out work that speaks to the body through the senses, as well as to the consciousness through concepts (symbols, evocations, etc.).

We think that architecture crystallizes moments of the times of cultures, thoughts which, as time goes by, must be subject to questioning, transmission, appropriation, revaluation.

Why do you participate in architecture vision competitions?

The reason we enter contests is to experiment with our own ideas. It is also a way to let our ideas live freely in the eyes of others. We meet a variety of responses as eclectic as the multiplicity of the architectural profession. We are also stimulated by the idea of creating together a synergy which tends to advance the debate of ideas by the diversity of the proposed answers. This is the very principle of a competition; we strive to give the best of ourselves, with the idea that all the answers formulated will modestly advance our common practice.

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

If we could give one piece of advice, it is that there is nothing to lose and everything to gain if you put energy into it. You have to find a subject that speaks to you, and question it. From there, future collaborations can be born, existing ones can be strengthened or questioned. There is nothing to lose by expressing yourself, on the contrary, there is the success of learning new things and learning from the experience.

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