Bio: Antonella Scarfiello, 26 years old, was brought up in the very small village of Basilicata, in the south of Italy. She has always had a passion and attraction to all things creative; constantly drawing, painting and studying architecture. After finishing grammar school in 2008, Antonella moved to Rome to attend the architecture faculty of “La Sapienza”. During her time at the university she developed her skills and knowledge in industrial design, interior design, architecture, urban planning and restoration. She graduated on 30th October 2014 from the University of Marine and Atmospheric Science in Miami.
1. Tell us about your design career
From November 2014 I began to participate in many design contests on the internet, I was named as one of six finalists in the international competition, “Young Designer of the Year 2015” with a sailing boat of 55 metres. Since then, I have continued to participate in contests on the internet, working on competitions regarding urban design and interior design. I like to work on various aspects of design, because this way I never get bored; I get more and more inspiration so my interests continue to grow.
2. What inspired you to become an architect?
I chose to be an architect because I liked the idea of being able to give beauty to people, and do it in a tangible way, with an “object” that you could see and touch. I liked how through my work, people could live well and be enriched with a value as important as use: beauty. I chose to be an architect because I understand the reality and have the skills to change it; when I look at an object or a building that I do not like, I can always say “I would have done this in another way”. I chose to be an architect to create emotion through volumes, lights and spaces.
3. What inspires you as an architect? Are there any designers/firms you look up to? Any artist or publications that you draw ideas from?
Herzog & de Meuron inspire me: they have the ability to create architecture that has a main feature component, while at the same time creating something completely unique that is never overwhelming or too dominating. They can add a high value to the area thanks to their works, which are always simple and minimalist. I admire the incredible and innovative use of materials and surfaces, which can manipulate the volume of the structure expertly.
For the interior and furniture design, I always took Philippe Starck as point of reference. His eclecticism and originality is never predictable, and he always add a personal touch to his work. However, what I really adore in his design is the concept of “democratic design”. He has always fought for more accessible pieces because objects of good quality are not intended for regular, working class people. Examples are pieces such as the Kartell Louis Ghost chair (over a million of which have been sold), Fluocaril toothbrushes, or bathroom fittings for Duravit, Hansgrohe, Hoesch and Axor, Alessi’s Juicy Salif lemon squeezer and many many others.
When I’m looking for a strong and authentic poetry able to guide me, I spend hours looking at drawings and paintings by Guy Denning.
4. What would you say is your unique style? How did it develop?
My style is not unique and that’s why I am not yet able to define it. I have always referred to Mies Van der Rohe’s mantra “less is more”, preferring a pure and minimalist style, but lately I realized that on some occasions, I like to add items that are eclectic and original. Other times I am closer to the Nordic style: I like to evoke minimalist Swedish and Danish romance, as well as the black and white color scheme of Finnish furniture. Basically, I don’t like to be confined to one style and I think that experimentation leads to the evolution.
5. How do you think CoContest is changing the landscape for designers?
I think that the design and architecture world has already changed in the last few years, and CoContest is the answer to the new environment. Being a powerful and completely new tool, it has certainly accelerated this process of renovation, creating a great online community of designers who can take part in projects they never would have come across without CoContest.
6. What ways do you think the architecture market is changing in the years to come? What potential do you see in the internet expanding away from customers doing business only with traditional firms?
Today’s architecture is not what people imagine . The architect is not a person that makes beautiful drawings and tells you how to renovate your house, but he is a person able of creating the customer’s vision, he introduces the best design process, and also takes care of practical elements. Young people just out of college have explosive ideas, great skills in the use of software, and want to get involved; they have an advantage over the senior architects of the studies in which they work. However, the economic conditions doesn’t mean that there can be a mutual exchange and constructive contribution. The Internet is democratic and meritocratic, you get results based on what you can do. Everyone is on the same level; no matter how much you have, it only matters what you are able to do.
7. How do you think CoContest can be improved?
I think CoContest will grow faster if the active designers could collaborate in groups. I think that those who practice the same profession as us are not enemies, but allies. And CoContest, which gives us the opportunity to work and make ourselves known, is not an exploiter but an ally as well.
8. Have you seen any projects you admired on CoContest? If so which ones and why?
I really like” +cm Architects”, their designs are really elegant, minimal and never trivial, Valeria di Cuia, because I admire her attention to details but my favorite is Alberto Todaro, because I like his use of high concept furniture, which is always different for each project. His speech is always personal and very recognizable.
9. What is your advice for young architects trying to make a name for themselves?
Search for all contests that strike your interest, traditional or not. Don’t hesitate and participate to all.