Les Mills International
Les Mills International
Les Mills International

BIG special

THE BIG TEAM - Kai-Uwe Bergmann

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


When Bergmann first met Ingels at the Venice Biennale in 2004, the two seemed destined to collaborate as Bergmann was planning his move to Copenhagen that same year. They met up again and Bergmann brought along his portfolio. “It was a funky combination of glass blowing and a clay temple in Central Africa. I really liked Kai and offered him a job,” says Ingels.

Bergmann is head of business development, or as Ingels refers to him, “BIG’s foreign minister”. He also spearheads BIG Landscape and works on BIG’s Urbanism projects. Recent examples include the Pittsburgh Lower Hill masterplan, the Smithsonian Institute campus overhaul and the BIG U, BIG’s leisure-orientated storm barrier for Lower Manhattan.

“BIG U is us starting the foundation work for a future resilient city,” says Bergmann. “What we’re looking for is investment in flood protection – we asked ourselves: instead of just having a basic grey floodwall, could we raise the quality of life in these neighbourhoods by leveraging the flood protection investment to create parks? We asked the people who lived there what they lacked most, and they all put open green space as their number one choice.”

Bergmann also takes his role as the BIG culture ambassador seriously, ensuring that ‘BIGsters’ share their knowledge through BIG schools, are inspired through the BIG Picture lecture series, enjoy BIG study trips and above all stay in touch with the global network of ‘BIGster’ alumni everywhere.

One of Bergmann’s favourite experiences with BIG was cycling from Mendoza, Argentina, over the Andes to the coast of Chile in 2004. “We spent six days, all together. It was an endurance; up to 200km a day, uphill, but it was absolutely amazing,” he says.

Bjarke Ingels on Kai-Uwe Bergmann
“Kai-Uwe is a unique blend of American extroversion and Germanic structure, which makes him a force of nature as a networker. His secret strength is his endurance and ability to take on and manage the complexities of creating opportunities for us. It’s liberating!”

THE BIG U

NEW YORK, US
COMPLETION DATE: PHASE ONE 2024/2025

Developed in collaboration with New York City, the BIG U proposal was developed to protect Lower Manhattan from floods, storms and other impacts of climate change. A storm barrier-cum leisure amenity, it stretches around Manhattan from West 54th street south to The Battery and up to East 40th street: a high water barrier incorporating public space with parks, seating, bicycle shelters, sports facilities and skateboard ramps.

The architect says of the project: ‘The BIG U consists of multiple but linked design opportunities; each on different scales of time, size and investment; each local neighbourhood tailoring its own set of programs, functions, and opportunities.

‘Small, relatively simple projects maintain the resiliency investment momentum post-Sandy, while setting in motion the longer-term solutions that will be necessary in the future.’

The BIG U high water barrier is 16km long, and incorporates community facilities
The BIG U high water barrier is 16km long, and incorporates community facilities
company profile
Company profile: Polin Group
Market leader in design, manufacturing and installation of waterslides and water leisure developments.
videos
BluGalaxy a Division of Blu Spas
Blu Spas
This animation showcases the beautiful concept design of BluGalaxy Spa.
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
features
Many of the cottages feature earth-sheltered designs
"Sam was such a champion for the team, and my goal is simply to carry that same torch"

As Blackberry Mountain resort opens in Tennessee, we find out why the project is a deeply personal one for owner Mary Celeste Beall

Francis graduated as a landscape architect in Belgium. He returned to Lebanon in 1993
"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

CopenHill urban ski centre
"It was born from the sheer anxiety of having to submit something brilliant in a very short timescale"

How a moment of desperation led to BIG’s CopenHill, the clean power plant that’s doubling as a skiing and leisure destination. Magali Robathan speaks to the architects that made it happen

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
The JG SkyHigh bar and lounge, with interiors by Foster + Partners and flowers by Jeff Leatham
Dana Kalczak
"If we had focused entirely on high tech in the hotel, the artistry we normally strive for would have been compromised"

Four Seasons’ vice president of design speaks to CLAD about working with Norman Foster and creating magical moments

The bedrooms feature cushioned window seats and bright colours
"We tried to take over in a friendly way"

The Standard’s first London hotel is bold, fun and full of surprising touches

The orchard view platform has a glass floor and railings at 40ft-high
Alan Metcalfe
"When people are a bit scared, they gather together"

Featuring a vibrating glass platform and one of the US’s longest tree canopy walks, Whiting Forest has been designed to bring visitors closer to nature and to one another

features
Martin Jochman founded JADE+QA in 2013. He formerly worked for Atkins
"We didn’t want to put in any gimmicks. We wanted to create a building that’s inherently sustainable through passive sustainability"

When Martin Jochman set out to transform an old quarry into a luxury hotel, he faced some serious challenges

Health & Fitness: Working it
"We’ve designed the space so that the atmosphere is intimate"

Les Mills’ new studio spaces at its iconic Auckland City Gym showcase a trend away from masculine ‘grunty’ gyms to something altogether different

cladkit product news
Cosm unveils Experience Centre with ‘one of a kind’ LED dome
The new Experience Centre houses a 20m LED dome
Magali Robathan
Cosm, a global technology company that builds end-to-end solutions for immersive experiences, has unveiled its Experience Centre which houses a ...
Diamond balloon concept merges tourist attraction with advertising billboard
Magali Robathan
A group of Dutch engineers have presented a new attractions concept that combines a flying observation cabin with LED digital ...
Christie laser projectors power new Five Senses Bubble dome theatre
The dome aims to integrate technology with arts and culture
Magali Robathan
Christie® GS Series 1DLP® laser projectors are delivering vivid and lifelike visuals in a new dome theatre located in Xiong’an ...
cladkit product news
Eden project uses drones to spell out climate change warning
Magali Robathan
Almost 300 drones were used to signal an environmental message above the Eden Project’s biomes, during the UN Climate Change ...
LianTronics’ glasses-free 3D Star Trek LED screen attracts attention
Magali Robathan
LianTronics’ giant curved LED wall with stunning glasses-less 3D spaceship display effect has attracted many on the street of Chengdu, ...
Jaffe Holden helps bring Academy Museum of Motion Pictures alive
Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics for the Academy Museum
Magali Robathan
Acoustical consulting firm Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics and audio/video design services for the recently opened Academy Museum of Motion ...
cladkit product news
Siminetti unveils first glimpses of Mother of Pearl decorative surfaces inspired by the four seasons
The new winter design is finished with naturally occurring hexagonal patterns found in snowflakes
Megan Whitby
Siminetti has collaborated with British designer Chrisanna London to create a luxury Mother of Pearl decorative surface range inspired by ...
Móz Designs columns anchor the world’s largest indoor aquarium
The design of the columns was inspired by the sea
Magali Robathan
After a two-year renovation, Oakland-based metal experts Móz Designs have unveiled their inclusion in Georgia Aquarium’s new shark gallery. Located ...
Fabio Alemanno Design uses elegant semi-precious stones to create memorable spa experiences
Alemanno believes the stones are well-placed in the spa environment thanks to their capacity to positively support physical and mental health
Megan Whitby
Fabio Alemanno Design has expanded its collection with semi-precious stones to enhance spas, wellness facilities, hotels and private residences. The ...
Les Mills International
Les Mills International