DOSarchitects, award winning architectural firm co-founded by Lorenzo Grifantini, has just been shortlisted for the prestigious Young Architect of the Year Award. The winner will be announced in March and guess who we will support. In the meantime, Lorenzo told us about his relationship with architecture and London.
What does this nomination mean for you?
We were very surprised and satisfied because our job can be hard and rough. In fact, artistic and design aspects sometimes are in the background. This acknowledgment is important because it gives us the strength to go ahead.
When did you discover you wanted to be one of those who dive in the landscape?
The seeds of architecture have always been in my genes since all my family members are involved in that. When I was a child I was fascinated by my dad’s studio, a special place full of drawings, pens, tables. I have always breathed architecture. When I had to decide what to study the choice was spontaneous (Lorenzo laughs). My strength consisted in emancipating from my background. The easiest option would have been working at my father’s firm in Rome. But, just after graduating, I moved to London and I began this adventure.
Which are your role models, apart from your dad?
Renzo Piano is an inspiring model for all young architects, not only Italian professionals. We are proud of The Shard, that stands out for elegance and quality among all the other buildings in London. In addition, our architecture firm won the Renzo Piano Foundation Award. That’s why there is a special link with the ‘maestro‘.
What is the ‘Italian touch’ you add to your job?
The English approach to the architectural project is completely different from the Italian approach, because it is much more pragmatic. Even the first stage of the project or of the proposal is characterised by a certain feasibility. The Italian approach, which comes even from university, is more complete and considers the relationship with the man and the historical heritage. Also, Italians are narcissist by nature and love liking themselves and being liked and the aesthetic aspect is important in a project.
What kind of expectations do English people have when they deal with Italian professionals?
Generally speaking, English people look at anybody who is not English as exotic, always keeping that colonialist attitude, which is also positive. So they expect a certain idea of aesthetics from Italian professionals.
Which is your favourite building in London and in Italy?
Without any doubt in London is the Shard, which stands out for its elegance. Also, Lloyds Bank building in Lime street, a classic. As far as Italy concerns, I love the MAXXI in Rome, where modern architecture coexists in harmony with ancient heritage, a matter that is important especially in Rome.
What does Italy mean for you?
There is always a nostalgic side in me when I think about Italy. If I had the opportunity, I would like to come back to work there and I hope one day I will do that. It is like Ulysses, our scenario is the return.