Timid Progressive Thinking, Neatly Dressed: Kinzo’s Greeting for Detail
Architects: Karim El-Ishmawi, Martin Jacobs, Chris Middleton, Kinzo, Berlin
The founders of Kinzo first encountered Detail during their studies of architecture at the TU Berlin in the 1990s. The architecture of the 1960s provides momentum for new projects and, for the team of architects from Berlin, represents a ray of hope compared to the mainstream thinking of the 1990s.
When did you first encounter Detail?
It must have been 1996. I had just heard “Fettes Brot”; it was day 2 of the architecture program at the TU Berlin. Chris had his long hair, Karim was blond and Martin was constantly surrounded by a bevy of women. Every one of us had a cigarette in the corner of his mouth and Detail under one arm. We knew that we were kindred spirits, that our ideas and humour were complementary. It’s crazy how that first impression took hold and that we’ve been doing things together ever since. And we still like to read Detail.
What does the magazine mean to you?
Building is more than design and sociological context. The significance of building techniques and details that generally appear only with a second, more attentive look, or the distinction between dross and monument is shown by Detail as nowhere else.
What do the 1960s and 1990s mean to you?
The 1960s convey a feeling of timid progressive thinking, neatly dressed in a wooden, bourgeois, yet somehow timeless corset. They were the perfect fertile ground for a radical avant-garde in architecture that still gives us momentum and whose fantasies we are slowly approaching.
Never was a decade more tasteless than the 1990s, although a few things are currently being recycled. Someone has to find the pearls in the dungheap! It was a bad time for architecture as well. Unfortunately, a lot of building went on then. Berlin-Mitte, on the other hand, was our place of refuge beyond the mainstream, with no Dr. Alban, Buffalos or United Colors of Benetton-VW Polo. There was plenty of scope for improvisation and experimentation. It would seem that a particularly boring or ugly environment is required for development to be accelerated.
Where will architecture be in 60 (30) years from now?
Architecture in Europe as a unified art of building is already over. It’s been wiped out among property valuation, cowardice in planning policy, the drive towards sustainability, quixotism and building services. Reduced to mega-concert halls and insane museums as substitute monuments for leisure-time pilgrims, surrounded by faceless, bog-standard boxes, our cities are left to indifference. This trend is a self-firing propulsion model with no brakes.
The future of architecture lies in UX design, user interface design, or an interface which, for users and their expectations, constantly continues to develop in need-oriented iterations, both physically and virtually.
Kinzo was established in 2005 by Karim El-Ishmawi, Martin Jacobs and Chris Middleton. Today, the architecture studio works internationally for global companies at the intersection of interior decorating and design. The guiding principles of the team are the best possible consultation for clients, the precise analysis of every project and the collaborative development of strategies. Holistic design approaches as well as accompanying clients through all phases round out the firm’s philosophy, which aims at individualized, sustainable solutions.