Good Architecture is a Total Work of Art

MACH Founding Partner David Marquardt speaks in an interview about the holistic nature and responsibilities of good architecture. 

What accounts for good architecture?
Good architecture can emerge when good clients, craftspeople and architects join forces. It involves the interplay of an overarching concept, strategic division and refined details – at all scale. It’s not only the function that must be met but also an artistic ambition; good architecture is a total work of art. The objective is to build for people and their interactions. 

What tools does an interior designer have at his or her disposal? 
To begin with, you have to empathize with the client and take on the perspective of a user, in order to then develop strategic spatial relationships. It’s a matter of being fully responsive to the client in terms of concept and design, and then creating compositions of color and material; tinkering, inventing and working out functions until everything is just right.

What characterises MACH’s architecture?
It derives from high modernism: quality, timeless construction and minimalist design. The quality sometimes only becomes tangible through use. We call this “design at second glance”. We work inventively and holistically. Our designs are long-lasting, tactile and genuine. 

Architects assume a great amount of responsibility. How do you deal with that? 
We view rooms as living spaces that must function well in the long term. Our responsibility is to create situations for living. Our clients invest lots of money, which is why we also serve as their trustees – by building intelligently and, on the other hand, by designing durable concepts. 

Does digitisation influence your work?
We design projects for around the world and that’s only possible by working digitally. We also simulate spaces in advance by using augmented reality and 3D printing. We use digital capabilities to work more efficiently but the result is very much analogue in nature. By collecting data on usage, we are able to design better spaces. In the future, artificial intelligence will also help us to create scenarios. But our interior design offers a counterpoint to the abstract digital world; a bit of naturalness.

In what way do materials and technologies influence your architectural language? 
We belong to the old school and rely on authentic, natural materials such as wood, stone, leather and textiles. To optimally accentuate them, we work extensively with details and textures. What is important to us is the relationship to human scale: where you come into contact with the materials and how they feel to the touch. And they should also age beautifully. Natural materials can be treated in many different ways. For instance, the same wood can be left rough and unplaned or used in a very elegant and sophisticated way. We love technically perfected naturalness. 

What building or interior has inspired you recently? 
Buildings inspire me equally, whether they are new or old. I take just as much pleasure in a visit to Max Bill’s home or the Eames House in Los Angeles as I do in the architecture of David Chipperfield’s new Kunsthaus Zürich. In order to experience architecture, you have to visit the buildings.