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Julien De Smedt

office people

What is your ideal office?

 

In the 16 years I’ve had my practice, we moved in and out of locations many times around. We’ve had mostly the open floor plan type of office space, backed up by meeting rooms. I’ve had my office space at home, on planes, or once even flew staff to the tropical island where I was on holidays to finish up an urgent deadline. We literally worked on our laptops with our feet in the sea. I think I can work from any physical condition. All I really need is good communication with my team. I’ve come to realize that it’s the time seemingly wasted in long discussions that makes the best projects. It requires face-to-face interaction, but it doesn’t matter in which environment that happens.

 

Rock, paper, or scissors?

 

Foam. I make physical models to sketch my ideas. It’s the closest we have to real buildings.

 

What makes the world go round?

 

Caring and only caring.The rest is bullshit.

 

What is your go-to writing utensil?

 

I type in my phone, I sketch in a notebook, but for projects I prefer, by far, modeling architecture or product designs in foam and cardboard. I’m a sucker for efficiency, and nothing is faster to test and to communicate than a good model. What do you do to fall asleep? No need to fight insomnia. When it comes, it’s because you need alone time to think something through. I normally end up writing late into the night.

If your practice were a song, what would it be?

 

Since I always talk about my obsession for diversity I would say that if my practice was a song, it would be a bunch of songs. In no particular order: You Or The Gang by When Saints Go Machine, Father by Ellis May, Kyoto by Yung Lean, Take Me Into Your Skin by Anders Trentemøller, Business and Pleasure by Tuomas Toivonen, Ta Fête by Stromae, Tänd Alla Ljus by Silvana Imam, Young Again by Kasper Bjørke, What Else Is There? by Röyskopp with The Knife’s Karin Dreijer, Demain, c’est loin by IAM, Oldie by Odd Future, Blastit... by Shabazz Palaces, Girl by The Internet, Kicks by FKA twigs, Ascenseur pour l’échafaud soundtrack by Miles Davis, Be a Body by Grimes.

 

Who would be your dream roommate?

 

Prince would have been pretty dope—best musician and singer, smart, fun...and we could compete on our pancake and basketball skills, two of my favorite things. If you could be made of one material, what would it be?

 

Liquid metal. See Terminator 2. Does your outfit matter to you?

 

Yes, but mostly for practical reasons. So I tend to go for minimal but innovative and smart features, and definitely lots of pockets!

 

What is your least favorite location in the world?

 

Rotterdam.

 

Have you ever cried in the rain?

 

Probably. Actually yes, in Rotterdam, when I heard my grandfather died.

 

Do you have a drink of choice?

 

Not just one. My top five: water, espresso, Caipirinha, fresh watermelon juice and cold sake.

 

How do you define ‘home’?

 

I’ve traveled a lot the past years. Now home is being with friends. I’m in the process of making a new home for them, so they’ll be able to come to us. We want to make a peaceful and autonomous form of community, not too far but remote enough from society. It will include office facilities, of course.

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