YINJISPACE use media professional’s unique perspective,try to explore the essence of life behind the design works.

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YINJISPACE use media professional’s unique perspective,try to explore the essence of life behind the design works.

© logo 粤ICP备19077098号

Yinterview.116 | Brazil x Denis Joelsons

Brazil 2023-11-22

Denis Joelsons holds a master's degree in the history and foundations of architecture and urbanism from FAUUSP, São Paulo (2017). He is the author of the book Architecture and Mourning in the work of Adolf Loos. He taught the course Introduction to Brazilian Modern Architecture at MASP (2020). He taught architectural design at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism of Santos FAUS - Unisantos (2018-2019), in the PAE (Teaching Improvement Programme) in the History of Art subject of the undergraduate Design course at FAUUSP (2016).  He has collaborated with various architectural firms in São Paulo and has had his own office since 2014.

Yinjispace:If you could summarize your design philosophy into a few key points, how would you describe it?

Denis Joelsons:I try to be very specific approaching each project. I like to avoid recipes or ready responses. Each project presents an opportunity to approach new questions and sites. I think about the site, the construction processes involved and the life circle of the building, it's maintenance. Every time you build you destroy something. Architect has to make it worth.

Yinjispace:What do you think of the influence of traditional culture on contemporary design? How do you combine tradition and innovation in your work?

Denis Joelsons:I see my work as the continuity of tradition, but I don't see tradition in a folkloric way. Tradition is much alive. That said innovation is only welcome when it means improvement, and those are rare occasions. Innovation for it's own sake it's frivolous.

Yinjispace:How do you view the relationship between natural materials, local culture and architecture?

Denis Joelsons:I see it both as a condition and an opportunity. When I think about materials I try to understand the whole production process, extraction, transport, handling, durability. And that's why I tend to favor natural material, because they do have a smaller carbon footprint and they usually benefit smaller companies rather than monopolies.
As local culture and architecture usually have very good answers for that climate and landscape. As I said, I'm not romantically attached to it, but many times they are a good starting point. I also think that most of the time architecture shouldn't stand out in the landscape.

Yinjispace:In many of your residential works, the architecture and the surrounding environment are naturally integrated. How do you integrate architecture and nature? How do you view the relationship between housing and landscape?

Denis Joelsons:To be honest, individual houses are hideous to the landscape, If you stop and think about it, they demand car transportation witch is ruining our cities and landscapes. However we are somehow fascinated by houses, and they provide good opportunities to essay something on a larger scale.
I like to think about the house as part of the landscape. The house is where the garden is covered, for example. Or the house and the garden are but moments of the landscape. It could be that one serves to frame the other or that they are somehow melted together.

Yinjispace:I see that you also have some renovation projects. How do you view the relationship between the new and the old? What do you think is most worth preserving during the renovation process?

Denis Joelsons:Somehow all of the projects are interesting because they deal with pre-existences. In that sense all of my projects are renovation projects, whether it the pre-existences are buildings, plateaus, mountains and so on. 
I think the relationship you want between new and old depends on what are you dealing with. And sometimes it is not the building it self, but it's history, it's memories, that are worth preserving. On sitio rio acima, I tried to establish a dialogue, where my interventions are clearly distinguished. But in a way that they resonate the old building to compose a new whole.

Yinjispace:Space, light and materials are eternal themes for architects. How to realize them?

Denis Joelsons:Tough one. Well, if we think about it, the visible world is merely reflected light, isn't it?
So light is essential in our apprehension of space. But you feel space with other senses too, not just vision. So materials bounce sound differently, they have smells, textures, humidity, temperatures. I like to think about the non visual qualities they embody too.

But returning to light, I'm also a light designer, and besides my own projects I do light design for other architects too. I think lighting is the most cost effective way to transform a internal space. It can be ruined our saved by light. And when we talk about light we mean it's opposite too. Shadows are very important. I would love to be called a shadow designer!