1. The start of your career was marked by collaboration with "L'Arte Brut". What can be in common between naked sensitivity of outsiders' art and your current high-intellectual style?
The raw art, invented by Jean Dubuffet in 1945, has always striven outside every concerted esthetic norm. My projects are in fact more often alternative plans that question the contemporary consumption society. They reinvent new programmes and new processes via a decodified language, disalienated from the classical commonplaces of the art, from the fashion and the design. My architectures are brutal and propose a transversal and quasi self educated eye!
<B>2. You are dealing with urban life-style and culture. On your opinion, what is the biggest psychological problem that faces urban people today? Can your projects solve some of them?
The contemporary citizen copes with two interdependent phenomena. On the one hand, he lives in a global, interconnected and mixed world, whereas on the other hand he looks for his roots and tries to assert his own culture to affirm his identity. Between global extension and local contradiction, the new urban dilemna is as following: How make these new glocal inhabitants live together? All my projects study deeply the multiple identities of the inhabitants and propose strongly contextual spatial declensions. Moreover, these new hyper-flexible spaces reintegrate systematically the nature, the biodiversity and the new technologies of the information and the communication as universal basis of the architecture project.
3. If you had a task to create a house for yourself to live in for the next 20 years, what kind of house it would be?
It will be a deliciously schizophrenic house! Actually, it will have a multiple personality. It will be urban but ecologically integrated, will produce its own energies and will welcome the fauna and the flora that surround it. The city will become again an inhabited jungle as I propose it currently through a new project in Hong Kong. In the opposite, facing the renaturalisaton of the cities, my house will be connected to all the information networks and will be parametrizable in real time transforming the ambiances and the spaces according to my humours and my desideratas.
<B>4. You often use biological and other scientific terms, describing your works. There is an opinion that the development of science reduces the sense of world as a mystery. Are you not afraid that those who are going to live in your houses will be something like automatized machines?
The nature is not automatic! The scientifical and biological research helps me to understand the processes of creation of the living organisms. Each project is not considered as a finalised static shape but as a snapshot of a process in perpetual mutation. The adaptability to the exterior variations that are climatic, demographic or energetic changes the habitat not into a machine but into a cleverly interactive living being.
<B>5. Can you describe the ideal future inhabitant of the houses that you create? What should the person of future be like?
I am not looking for the ideal inhabitant for the houses that I create but in the opposite for the ideal house for the inhabitant of today! We live in a society of nomad flows where the new means of communication define new time-spaces. The contemporary citizen is multiple and looks in my houses for the daily welfare of a cocoon in harmony as well with the landscapes.
<B>6. Speaking all the time about future, do you think there is something really important that humanity unfortunately lost in the past? What period of human history you would like to live at, if you had a choice?
Result of an unrestrained capitalism lost in the productivity and the benefit, the world of today lacks utopia, dreams and brains that crackle! I am not nostalgic and I find the current time terrific! We are at a turning point of the humanity ! The inhabitants of this Earth realise finally their ecological print. The cultures knock together. The Third World and the emerging countries are warning. We live in real time what happens at the other extremity of the globe and we can interact via the net to an interactive democracy. In a world of the immediacy, I speak very often of the future simply because my projects dare to invent long term and long lasting!
<B>7. Most of your works have a rich hidden sense, sometimes rather philosophical, that most of the people are unable to interpret. Don't you think that contemporary design has become too self-reflective and alienated from people's understanding?
Beyond the philosophy, the reaction of the people against my projects is rather sensitive than reflective. Many of them project themselves very easily in the new worlds that I invent, giving themselves up to the depths of my pictures with layers to imagine other styles and life frameworks. Everyone looks for possible unknowns !
<B>8. Your project of ECO-MIC tower in Mexico is concerns with local ethnic identity. Do you imagine the future society as ethnic distinguished or do you believe in future cosmopolitan world citizenship?
I believe in the merge of both because the contemporary culture is glocal (contraction of the words «global» and «local»). In the opposite, I run away from the minimalism and the sterilized worlds and look for giving a maximum of sense to my projects by affecting them a strongly individual trademark. Thus the project Ecomic refers to the Incan architectures and the South-American totems whereas the master plan Landscript replies to the sensuality and the fluidity of the Genevan landscape.
<B>9. On your opinion, what should be the next fundamentally new technology, used in architecture?
The new technology that will revolutionize the architecture is the parametrizing in real time such as the Open Source or the Smart Mobs. It will enable to draw interactive cities equipped with invisible numeric infrastructures and to manage at best the complexity of our contemporary cities. Going with this mutation, the ancestral culture of the earth and the reappropriation of the nature by the contemporary urbanity that will assure the well living inside new inhabited landscapes!
<B>10. What are your interests and hobbies beyond architecture?
Fractal Physics. Chemistry.
Graphics. Comics, Mangas. Photography.
Cinema. Science fiction. Rock’n Roll.
Cycling. Jogging. Yoga.
Internet. Wikis. Blog.
I am a true sponge. I absorb everything on my way and try to retranscribe it in my architectures !
Vincent Callebaut Architect, Paris, 2007.