BIG special

THE BIG TEAM- David Zahle

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


Zahle joined BIG as an intern in the early days, and helped win the practice its first major commission when he met the Danish developer Per Hopfner in his friend’s backyard. On learning Hopfner was a developer, Zahle outlined BIG’s ambitions and invited him to the office to find out more.

“I called him up a week later and asked if he wanted to drop by,” says Zahle. “He said he’d be there in 15 minutes. At the time there were only nine of us, we didn’t have a receptionist and everything was a total mess. We frantically cleaned up and then showed him around. We had no built work at all, but he must have seen something in us, because he asked if we could design a housing project for him.”

This led to BIG’s first assignment, the VM Houses in Copenhagen, and the collaboration with Hopfner continued with the Mountain and the 8 House.

For Zahle, he knew that BIG was the place for him when the practice won the competition for the Danish Maritime Museum in Helsingor. “We decided that I should be the project manager, even though you’d normally be expected to have 10 years experience for the role. I realised we’d created an environment where it was more about talent and trust than how much experience you had.

“It was a turning point for me, realising that, here, I can basically do anything.”

Zahle is currently involved with several BIG projects in the Nordics and is overseeing the business development of BIG’s Scandinavian projects. Projects include the Amager Resource Center, the Panda House at Copenhagen Zoo and Kistefos Museum, Norway.

Bjarke Ingels on David Zahle
“David is a real people person. He’s great at relating to people internally and externally. I think he acknowledges the significance of that in architecture. It’s a very important skill.”

Panda House

Copenhagen, Denmark
OPENING DATE: 2019

BIG’s design for the new Panda House at Copenhagen Zoo begins with a circular shape, formed by the zoo’s surrounding facilities at the intersection of multiple walkways. Panda House is designed to feel like humans are the visitors in the pandas’ home, rather than pandas being the ‘exotic guests from faraway lands’.
The habitat has been designed to closely resemble the pandas’ natural habitat. The architect said of the design: ‘It forms the freest and most naturalistic possible environment for the pandas’ lives and relationships with each other, providing the freedom to roam about and the ideal conditions to mate – one of the major challenges facing pandas.’

The Panda House features separate spaces for the male and female pandas
The Panda House features separate spaces for the male and female pandas
The Panda House features separate spaces for the male and female pandas
The Panda House features separate spaces for the male and female pandas
company profile
Company profile: Starpool
Starpool is recognised as a leading company in spa design. Along with its business model based on careful planning, excellent products and outstanding services, Starpool is introducing its idea of wellbeing to the world.
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
The SHL-designed Vendsyssel Theater in Denmark
"Most clients are very focused on how buildings are used and experienced as the primary design driver"

The MD of Schmidt Hammer Lassen and the CEO of PerkinsWill tell us why their merger will help create smarter buildings driven by human behaviour

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
"I believe gardens are where the soul rests"

With a focus on desert landscapes and collaborations with Zaha Hadid and OMA, the principal of Francis Landscapes has a deep belief in the power of nature

Manuelle Gautrand
"The cities where you have good cultural buildings and facilities – it’s a way for people to mix, to share the city in a much deeper way"

The French architect and winner of the 2017 European Prize for Architecture tells us why she is determined to surprise

cladkit product news
Daniel Svahn creates furniture collection using repurposed table tops
The Goodies But Oldies collection features three pieces made from repurposed MDF table tops
Lauren Heath-Jones
Daniel Svahn, a Stockholm-based furniture designer, has created a new range of sustainable furnishings, made from recycled MDF tabletops. Svahn, ...
Metalline transforms London hotel with bespoke aluminium fins
The aluminium fins will form the façade of the upcoming Minories Hotel in Aldgate, London
Lauren Heath-Jones
Metalline, an architectural metalwork specialist based in the UK, has created a range of bespoke 3D twisted metal fins for ...
XTU concept imagines life in the clouds
XTU's X Cloud concept is part of the Future and the Arts: AI, Robotic, Cities, Life - How Humanity Will Live Tomorrow exhibition at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo
Lauren Heath-Jones
XTU Architects, a Paris-based architecture firm, has released images and renderings of X Cloud, a new concept that showcase a ...
cladkit product news
1885 Lounge at St Mary's Stadium celebrates Southampton FC's history
Rainbow Design worked closely with KSS Architects to ensure the furniture matched the design vision
Lauren Heath-Jones
KSS Architects has partnered with Rainbow Design, a London-based furniture supplier, to create the 1885 Lounge at St Mary's Stadium, ...
Painting with Light pushes boundaries to create unforgettable visual concepts
The team combines lighting, video, sound and special effects, with scenic and architectural elements, to create unforgettable visual experiences
Megan Whitby
Belgium-based light and video design studio, Painting with Light, will translate the story of your location into a visual experience, ...
Barr + Wray to launch space saving hammam concept
Light shines through a striking central chandelier to create a feeling of movement
Katie Barnes
Smaller footprint. Maximum theatre. Those are the two main features of a new hammam concept being developed by wet spa ...
cladkit product news
Matteo Thun grows Allaperto collection with new suspended outdoor armchair
Megan Whitby
Allaperto, the lounge collection spawned by the partnership between design studios, Matteo Thun, Ethimo and Antonio Rodriguez, has been expanded ...
BIG partners with Louis Poulsen for new lighting collection
The Keglen collection is made up of four different pendants
Lauren Heath-Jones
BIG Ideas, the technology arm of renowned architecture firm Bjarke Ingles Group (BIG), has partnered with Danish lighting manufacturer Louis ...
Tom Dixon collaborates with Prolicht to launch CODE lighting range
The product has three LED light sources: Dot, Dash and Grid
Megan Whitby
British designer, Tom Dixon, and Austrian architectural lighting specialists, Prolicht, have collaborated to unveil a new lighting range. Called CODE, ...