BIG special

THE BIG TEAM - Jakob Sand

Bjarke Ingels credits BIG’s enormous success to the creative team he has built around him, and the studio now has partners spread across the world. Each brings something markedly different to the table, as Kim Megson and Magali Robathan find out


Read on turning pages | Download PDF | sign up to CLAD

Jakob Sand left his native Denmark in the early 2000s to work in Paris, first with Odile Decq and then with Dominique Perrault. Eventually he returned to Copenhagen, where mutual friends introduced him to BIG partner David Zahle.

The studio had just won a project to expand the University of Jussieu in Paris, and were seeking a French-speaking architect to oversee the project.

“It was the beginning of a French adventure for BIG,” Sand says.

In the intervening years, he has led projects such as the MÉCA Cultural Center in Bordeaux, the Pont de Bondy metro station in the capital, and the Europa City Masterplan. He has also helped win competitions in Denmark, Sweden and the UK.

“We have some partners with a very clear profile and specific focus areas but my role is more versatile,” he says. “This morning I worked on a competition, this afternoon I went to a construction site, tomorrow I’m focusing on business development. Architecture happens until the day you deliver the project, and I love being involved in every phase.”

Sand liaises closely with local architects in France, and he says the close relationship between BIG and its collaborators around the world is why it has been so successful globally.

Reflecting on what else makes BIG tick, he says: “We all have a curiosity to explore new ideas and we don’t have a singular style by which we define ourselves.

“Maybe a project ends up looking like a BIG building, but there’s no blueprint. If you have a good idea, we will look at it, whether you’re an intern or a partner.”

Bjarke Ingels on Jakob Sand
“He has this amazing ability to take ownership of projects without taking away any space from his team. He allows his team members to grow under his wing, not to fall under his shadow and he allows everyone to shine.”

MECA

BORDEAUX, FRANCE
OPENING DATE: 2019

BIG teamed up with French studio FREAKS freearchitects to create the Maison de l’Économie Créative et de la Culture en Aquitaine (MÉCA).
This project brings together three cultural institutions into one building: FRAC (the Aquitaine Regional Fund for Contemporary Art), ECLA (the Cultural Agency for Writing, Music, Film & Broadcasting), and OARA (the Artistic Office of the Aquitaine Region for performing arts).

BIG’s design is for a building integrated with Bordeaux’s waterfront promenade, that allows public life to ‘flow through’ the MÉCA. The three institutions and their shared facilities are gathered around a public space, or ‘outdoor urban room,’ which can be used as a stage or outdoor gallery.

The three cultural organisations are set around a flexible public space
The three cultural organisations are set around a flexible public space
The three cultural organisations are set around a flexible public space
The three cultural organisations are set around a flexible public space
company profile
Company profile: Gharieni Group GmbH
Gharieni Group is based in Germany and is a leading European manufacturer of high end spa and medical furniture, beds and equipment with 25 years of experience. All products are high-quality productions, made in Germany.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
Enea is responsible for the landscaping at the Genesis resort in Beijing. A Bulgari Hotel has just opened there
ENZO ENEA
"Sociology and functionality are the two most important aspects when we design – how an individual lives and interacts"

On saving trees, working with Zaha Hadid and changing the face of Miami

The stadium has 13,000 extra seats, boosting ticket sales so far
Antonio Cruz
"We were set the target of building one of the five best stadiums in the world"

Shares the challenges of designing Atletico Madrid's new stadium

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
The 85m-high sloped roof at the Amager Resource Center doubles as a ski slope
Brian Yang
"You can be an intern on your first day and be expected to contribute to the design conversation. That’s something driven strongly by Bjarke."

How the idea of putting a ski slope on a factory roof was born

Libeskind designed the extension to the Royal Ontario Museum, opened in 2007
Daniel Libeskind has designed a number of public spaces that deal with difficult or painful historical events
"Architecture can only thrive in a democratic environment"

The Polish-American architect on how his buildings explore memory and identity

The BIG U high water barrier is 16km long, and incorporates community facilities
Kai-Uwe Bergmann
"BIG U is us starting the foundation work for a future resilient city."

The 'BIG culture ambassador' on the BIG U

features
“If BIG had been founded for one project, it would have been Lego House,” says Ingels
"We want to take responsibility and initiative in giving form to our future"

The BIG founder talks about Lego House Mars Science City and the role of his team in BIG’s success

The city will feature a huge range of cultural, sporting, retail and leisure facilities
Andreas Klok Pedersen
"I say no more than yes. You need both sides – people presenting ideas and people not afraid to say if the idea isn’t good."

Discovering new talent and saying no

Passengers could travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi in 12 minutes
Jakob Lange
"I was screaming out loud – it was impossible to hold back. This was something that had never been done before."

Head of BIG Ideas shares the latest on Virgin Hyperloop One

cladkit product news
Brdr. Krüger to exhibit at IMM Cologne
The Theodor chair was named after studio co-founder Theodor Krüger
Lauren Heath-Jones
Danish furniture company Brdr. Krüger will showcase a range of new and existing pieces at international interiors show, IMM Cologne. ...
Matteo Thun Atelier create hospitality collection inspired by Mediterranean atmosphere
The collection is designed to integrate with numerous architecture and interior projects across the hospitality sector
Kim Megson
The studio of Italian architect and designer Matteo Thun have produced a new range of wooden furniture designed for everything ...
HawkinsBrown complete timber pool facility for 'swimming among the trees'
The space has been designed as 'a welcoming retreat that engages with the mature woodland setting through the use of natural materials and colour schemes'
Kim Megson
Architects HawkinsBrown have completed an elegant timber pool hidden among the trees for a school in the English county of ...
cladkit product news
Ma Yansong debuts out of this world furniture collection
Ma Yansong was inspired by science fiction and the possibility of life on Mars
Lauren Heath-Jones
Curation-led design gallery Gallery ALL debuted the MAD Martian Collection at Design Miami. Designed by Ma Yansong, founder and principal ...
FAÇADE2017 winners
Ramboll was awarded for the Blavatnik Building, Switchouse Extension of the Tate Moder
Lauren Heath-Jones
A trio of British leisure facilities have been honoured in the Façade2017 awards. Established in 2013 by the Society of ...
AB Concept partners with House of Tai Ping for luxurious rug collection
The collection was inspired by the idea of looking down at the world from a great height
Lauren Heath-Jones
Design house AB Concept has partnered with bespoke rug specialist Tai Ping to create Nephele, an exclusive line of handcrafted ...
cladkit product news
RIBA North announces winter lineup
RIBA North opens its new season with the Cerámica exhibition
Lauren Heath-Jones
The RIBA North architectural centre in Liverpool, UK, has announced its lineup of events and exhibitions for the winter season. ...
Rockin' around the Christmas tree: Lasvit partners with the Upper House hotel and Yabu Pushelberg for bespoke Christmas project
The tree is designed to greet guests with a design and light experience as they enter the hotel
Lauren Heath-Jones
Lasvit has partnered with design firm Yabu Pushelberg to create a bespoke Christmas tree for The Upper House, a boutique ...