PROFILE: a story about an architect who got sidetracked
a little more background
Q: Who are you? Tell us about yourself.
A: Hi, I'm Thys a thirty-something-year-old architect, who got sidetracked somewhere along the line.
For the better part of a decade, I worked for a furniture design company. It was a small company, but we had big ambitions and did even bigger projects. The day I started at the company they have been going for two years, we were two people in the office and three guys in the workshop with only traditional woodworking machinery.
The owner had all the determination in the world, and this had led us to new and greater heights again and again. The day I left eight years later we were five people in the office with twelve guys in the workshop and all the woodworking machines you could ever need and some of the most significant projects under our belts ranging from a small corporate office to large university campuses.
It was a great journey, and anybody who has worked for a small company would know that you learn to do anything and everything, and I believe that it is the best type of experience you can get.
Q: So what is next for you?
A: In January 2019 I started Pekka, a parametric design company. At the moment it's only me, but I hope to grow the company sustainably in the coming years.
Pekka needs to become known in the local industry as the "go-to" company when faced with out-of-the-ordinary projects and design challenges. Clients should be familiar with our quality of work and should not hesitate to consult us.
One of my goals for the company is to create an environment where we can experiment and explore new and innovative technologies. I believe the easiest way to achieve this is not to limit your professional network to only your industry.
"Never stop exploring; never stop developing new skills. Always be willing to push the button."
Q: How does your work fit into the world you want to live in?
A: I would like to live in a world that pushes the boundaries and encourages an explorative mindset, a world with an appreciation for art and aesthetics as well as the underlying support system that makes it possible. I believe it is my role as a designer to activate this thinking and appreciation and ensure that my work creates this world.
Q: What kind of projects interest you?
A: Projects where the norms and conventions within the industry are set aside. Projects where a different approach is required because the tried and tested procedures performed inadequately.
"Out-of-the-box projects. I'm uncomfortable with the inside of that box."
Q: Can you give me an example of such a project with an unconventional approach?
A: Okay. Say you have a large residential building, Accommodation for post-grad students and your job is to design and install the furniture. How would you tackle that?
The conventional approach would be to make use of built-in cupboards for all the storage needs and use of standard furniture items for all the rest. Right? I mean it makes sense, ordinary built-in cupboards are manufactured out of chipboard and cost a dime a dozen. However, they won't do much for the project in terms of aesthetic and maybe only last a couple of years where after they will need replacement.
Here is what I would do:
Firstly there is no such thing as a plumb wall on a construction site. That means that if you are intent on installing ordinary built-in cupboards, you will have to make a lot of adjustments on-site costing you time and money.
Secondly, nobody likes chipboard cupboards. They don’t last, disintegrate when exposed to moisture and they are not very pretty...
So if you don't want to spend additional time and money on-site and at the same time provide your client with a solution that is both durable and visually pleasing, I would suggest you design a modular system.
A system that relies on minimal interaction with the building to perform its required functions, and constructed from a much more durable material like high-quality plywood and steel
The solution should be versatile in its modularity, easily repeated and configured. A good rule of thumb is to have about 70 to 80 % of your components multifunctional, and by this, I mean that you should be able to use the same shelf component in the bedroom and kitchen.
The advantages of such a type of system by far outweigh those of the traditional approach.
Please have a look at my portfolio; we have successfully implemented modular furniture systems like this, on large scale projects in the past
Q: What kind of people do you see yourself working with, who would be your dream client?
A: A dream client would be open-minded and will understand that not all solutions are equal or come from the same place.
A dream client would understand that creativity and resolve that differ from the norm takes time. Oh, and if they have a clear idea of what they want or need it would be great.
Q: Tell us something about your self that people might not know.
A: I can solve a Rubiks Cube in less than 2 min.
Q: Last one, What gets you out of bed in the mornings
A: Creative problem solving, I love the thrill you get when solving a problem especially if the solution is unconventional and out of the ordinary.