Content That Builds

3 Favorite Quotes by Bjarke Ingels in Abstract: The Art of Design

March 21, 2017 | Trends



Abstract: The Art of Design, a new Netflix docuseries follows the lives of eight high-profile designers through their creative process on a recent project while providing background on their own inspiration. From illustrator, Christoph Niemann to interior designer, Ilse Crawford, each accomplished maker shares their unique philosophy about creativity and the desired purpose of their work.

Episode 4 follows the polarizing rise of Danish architect and BIG founder Bjarke Ingels from his dream of becoming a cartoonist to some of today’s most talked about projects worldwide. He began to study architecture thinking it would help improve his drawing skills; however, it opened his eyes to the possibilities and opportunities architecture can bring to society. His buildings represent his strong philosophical approach to improving society and the environment. The episode begins with the first building he ever built and progresses to the large, world-renowned structures he is working on today–including a special exhibit for the Serpentine Gallery.

From one project to the next you can see the excitement and passion grow in his eyes as he begins to think bigger and more futuristic. Here are some of his insights that stuck with us:


_2.jpg8 House by Bjarke Ingels Group in the Ørestad district of Copenhagen, Denmark (Photo: Jens Lindhe; Wikipedia)

#1: “In the big picture, architecture is the art and science of creating the framework of our lives. The buildings that we build are either open possibilities or they hinder encounters or connections.”  20:15

Ingels uses his 8 House apartments as an example of possibilities. This mixed-use building is being called “a 3D community” by bringing the 500 homes together to feel more like a village. By first featuring a large mountain trail for biking and walking that is incorporated into all 10 floors of the design, 8 House fits Ingels “big idea” design, emphasizing the idea of inclusion throughout the community. By creating a functional yet inspiring design feature, Ingels reminds us that where you live can pave the road to limitless connections with others in your community.


_1.jpgBIG’s installation at the Serpentine Pavilion. (Photo: Laurian Ghinitoiu; ArchDaily)

#2: “In our work, yes is more.” 29:30

This is one of Ingels’ biggest mottos; he even named a comic book after it. In explaining this ideal, he says to begin with an inclusive approach. It is dire to hear everyone’s input to the extreme and meet all occupants’ needs. With so many different personalities and ways of life, this driving force can develop into something extraordinary. This motto initially only appeared in his lectures, but once he actually wrote it down it became a permanent part of his and BIG’s identity. The comic book features iconic pictures and contrasting phrases such as, “Less is bore.” His need to meet and resolve every concern, no matter how small, is a recipe for success that makes him stand out from the rest.



#3: “You can take things that are considered infrastructures like highways, bridges, power plants and crossbreed it so that it actually has positive and social environmental side affects.” 39:25

Each city has its necessities and its niceties, usually functioning as separate entities–the factories and the parks, the office buildings and the playgrounds. Ingels took the Copenhill Power Plant in Copenhagen and merged the necessary with the nice in a dramatic and convivial way, choosing to celebrate the environmentally friendly plant by enhancing it with a public park and ski slope. Instead of the typical steam stacks, steam “rings” are released into the air as a unifying symbol. Ingels proves that there are always opportunities to combine art and function in new, utopian ways. This merger of clean technology and excitement has become a driving force in his innovation.


By: Nevin Ergul


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