What is your architectural vision? “It’s a powerful instrument that can bring light, culture, art and energy into the city. Architecture is not about the details: [they] annoy me.”
Where do you get your ideas? “It usually happens in the early morning, when I’m still in bed. With my eyes shut, I can imagine the shape of a new structure and the light dimming through it. I always have three kinds of lights within this vision: the direct one, the indirect one and the ‘magic’ one.”
“Later, I paint what I saw, with brush on canvas. Then people in my studio construct models – a lot of models, so many I could donate them to public libraries – but that is only to allow others to understand my vision. Otherwise, to me, the project is complete, done, when I put down my paint brush. That is probably because, deep inside, I am still six years old.”
What do you mean by that? “I lost my father at that age, and it is a moment frozen in time. I am still basically just a child who follows his dreams. Everything else comes down to professional experience that counts practically, of course, but not in substance.”
What inspired your Cultural Centre project in Beijing? “I like to see things happening despite the stillness of a built structure. A building is just a building: stout, stupid. I chose stainless steel and a mirror finish to define the volumes of the Cultural Centre, because I love the idea of having life that unfolds outside the building reflected on its surface, like an instant movie. I am convinced that to understand reality we should start from its reflection.”
Can you explain that? “I was talking to a prominent Chinese man 10 years ago. I was curious to understand how he thought China would develop. So I asked him: ‘Where do you think the United States – not China – will be in 10 years?’ He said: ‘They have tremendous capital in patents and technology; this is where their power comes from. If they can maintain this, they will still be strong.’
“And then I could see where China was looking to build its bright future. It was just a matter of reflection.”
Massimiliano Fuksas was in Hong Kong recently with his wife, Doriana, who leads Studio Fuksas with her husband.