Speed Date / WOVEN, architects
J (Jarmila), O (Oľga), V (Vilma), P (Petronela)
Where are you from?
Where did you study?
J: At AFAD in Bratislava.
O: Mostly at AFAD in Bratislava and then I did internships here and there.
V: In Bratislava at AFAD and at the Faculty of Architecture of the Slovak University of Technology and in Tallinn at EKA.
P: In Bratislava at AFAD and in Vienna at the Academy of Arts.
Who was your best teacher?
J: From my early childhood to adulthood, it was my art teacher Mária Klimanová.
O: It was Zuzka Dianovská at the high school in Trenčín and I guess it was the studio of Benjamín Brádňanský at the university where it was most intense.
V: Víto Halada at AFAD.
P: Imro Vaško and Marián Zervan in Bratislava, Angelika Schnell and Wolfgang Tschapeller in Vienna.
Who were/are your parents?
J: Farmers and entrepreneurs.
O: A teacher and a technician.
V: A civil servant and a draughtsman.
P: A pharmacist-organist and a neurolinguist-university teacher.
What don’t you enjoy in design?
O: Autocad, barrier-free, functionality, detail, user…
P: Community, Borders, Story.
And on the contrary, what do you?
J: Play and imaginativeness, putting myself in the shoes of a user.
O: Diversity, softness, materials, dreams, spaces, meanings…
P: Paradoxes, self-referencing or when design doesn’t take itself too seriously.
What do you listen to?
J: I’m mostly into audiobooks.
O: Sufjan Stevens and guilty pleasures.
V: Lately I prefer silence.
P: My husband’s (BZGRL) music or Tim Hecker.
Your favourite film or cartoon?
J: I don’t have a favourite one, but I was largely impressed by the Hungarian film On Body and Soul.
O: Call Me by Your Name. It was pouring down and I went to cinema alone and I was crying as never before.
V: I don’t have a favourite one.
P: I don’t know if I can call them favourite, but the first thing that came to my mind – the film: My Dinner with André; cartoon: the new Spiderman purely enjoys the fact it’s animated, and that is the great thing about it; series: The League of Gentlemen.
Who do you respect as an authority in and out of your field?
J: In my field it is Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, for his absolutely uncompromising attitude. Outside my field it could be Richard Dawkins, as an author that brought me to popular scientific literature as such and started broadening my horizons, turning me towards completely different fields.
O: On the local scene, it is mainly Monika Mitášová and Marian Zervan, because discussing with them (not only) about architecture is always a real pleasure. Next, I respect my supervisor at CITA in Copenhagen, Mette Ramsgaard Thomsen, as she is not only an exquisite architect, but mostly an amazing woman.
V: I agree with Petronela. I couldn’t say it better.
P: I won’t be saying any names, but I admire people who apart from being good at their field have a complex overview and besides all that are modest, that is they don’t yearn for external recognition.
What thing did you last buy?
J: It was yesterday – a mountain baby carrier.
O: A lamp for the studio and two metres of felt.
V: Gloves, that’s my third pair this winter.
P: A ticket for public transport.
Do you buy professional literature? What was the latest book?
J: The last book I got myself was by Elemental: Incremental Housing and Participatory Design Manual.
O: Project Japan (Rem Koolhaas, Hans Ulrich Obrist), on Japanese metabolists.
V: Elements of Venice by Giulia Foscari.
P: Reza Negarestani – Intelligence and Spirit, Michel Denis – Space and Spatial Cognition
Do you vote?
J: I do, every time I can.
O: My electoral card has already arrived.
V: I do.
P: Of course.
Who throws best parties?
J: Best buddies.
O: I missed this train… (?)
V: I do, I specialise on pajamas parties.
P: My older brother (last time he organised a cocktail party with improvised drinks).
Your favourite dome?
J: The one in Janko Kráľ’s Park in Bratislava.
O: The one by Dedeček at the Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra.
V: The Foster’s one on Reichstag in Berlin.
P: Does Kugelmugel Republik in Vienna count as a dome?
Party dress. Made by…?
J: From a secondhand shop.
O: By myself. But mainly – no time, no dress, no party.
P: A working overall.
Your hero from the past?
J: Joan of Arc.
O: Amelie from Montmartre.
V: Hmm, for instance this gentleman: Ignaz Fülöp Semmelweis.
P: My grandad!
J: Maison de verre in Paris.
O: I’ll just mention the latest ones. For example, the greenhouse at the Chateau Lednice or István Szabó and his reformed church in Budapest.
V: I have a weakness for iconic villas.
P: At the moment, it’s Barbican.
Do you have any stereotypes when you work? How do they show?
J: I have more problems with a rut and I am actually quite happy about stereotypes now. But of course, there are certain procedures I repeat as an architect, for example, my common point of departure is a cube.
O: Negotiating between the worst and best possible result.
V: I have certain common procedures, e.g. designing variants.
P: I take a long time to play with language, with words – and only then I interpret it into spatiality.
What’s on your desktop?
J: One graphic print by Wols. Since high school.
O: Pixel City. Tokio.
V: I don’t know, it’d been there before.
P: Oslo Fjord that I took picture of during our Scandinavian road trip with WOVEN.
J: Recently, I saw the excellent Homo Faber exhibition dedicated to craftsmanship still alive in Europe. It took place just for a few days in September 2018 in Venice.
O: I recall Katharina Grosse in the National Gallery Prague, Kintera in Rudolfinum, Šimon Chovan in the Žilina’s synagogue or Danish and German pavilion at the Biennale of Arts 2017 that fascinated me with a topic of beautiful ruins and rebirth after apocalypse (purely my interpretation 🙂
V: Amsterdam DNA in Amsterdam Museum, but also others in the Slovak National Gallery, e.g.
Preserving the World, Museum Ritual in the Digital Age. I admit that I am often more interested in the way of exhibiting than in the exhibited works.
P: Ach, these superlatives. For example, Milan Adamčiak in SNG, or I was unexpectedly stunned by Calder in Tate Modern.
What do you respect both from the local and foreign design scene? And why?
J: I respect people that talk about ecology and take action in this respect in whatever way. Architects and designers that bring forth or sort out environmental topics. Because I don’t see any other greater problem.
O: Dedeček, Koolhaas, Eisenman, SANAA, Kengo Kuma, Selgas Cano. As I have a feeling that their works are intellectually teasing, coming from inner, authorial desires and problems, not from external limitations.
V: I respect people that push my thinking forward and those who I can learn from.
P: It’s actually a large variety of production, but the most important thing is that it radiates sincerity and enthusiasm.
Morals or money?
J: That’s an awful question.
O: The first, unfortunately.
V: Ideally both.
P: And do they contradict each other?
J: I recommend Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine to everyone. It’s a truly unique book.
O: Boris Vian’s Froth on the Daydream. It depends on the period of life, but: 1. At my teenage – Murakami’s Norwegian Wood; 2. In my twenties it was Paolo Giordano’s Solitude of Prime Numbers; when I was twenty-five it was Nicole Krauss’s A Man Walks into a Room; and 3. in my thirties (well, it’s been a short time so far) Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.
V: For me lately it was The Glass Room by Simon Mawer.
P: Steinbeck: East of Eden, Salinger: Franny and Zooey (and all the books about the Glass family), Marquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude – I can’t help it, I just love those family sagas.
Optimist, pessimist, nihilist?
J: An optimist.
O: An optimist with occasional extreme tendencies.
V: An optimist, but the woven call me Miss Skeptic.
P: A hopeless optimist.
Do you have any hobby?
J: Travelling, languages, mountains and all kinds of sports, woodwork, but also sewing and baking.
O: Books, basketball, genealogy.
V: Yes, I do.
P: Haha, that’d be life itself – I enjoy it a lot!
Solo or in a collective?
J: Solo in a collective.
O: In four!
V: Solo in four.
P: Solo or woven.
Slovakia as the Promised Land?
J: It is clear.
O: So far so good.
V: I don’t know, but I like being here and am not going anywhere.
P: Sadly, there is only little local patriotism in me.
J (Jarmila) is Marianna Maczová.
O (Oľga) is Danica Pišteková.
V (Vilma) is Veronika Michalíková.
P (Petronela) is Anna Cséfalvay.