Design News: Interview with Architect Radu Dragan – My Design Agenda in collaboration with Coveted Magazine had the honour to meet Radu Dragan for an exclusive interview. Radu is an architect and Urban Planner that established his company, Dragan Architecture, in Paris.He was born in Bucharest where he graduated from the Ion Mincu Institute of Architecture in 1992. Radu is also a Doctor in Social Anthropology and Ethnology, EHESS in Paris and a Member of the French Order of Architects.
Dragan Architecture works mainly with projects in Saudi Arabia, but they also develop architectural projects in Europe and even in China. Radu Dragan talks about his pursuit of perfection and his passion for projects that are never finished because the ways to alter them are endless.“Something which is never finished or something that you are continuously working on – this is a metaphor for my work and also my life”
Salon and dining room of a privvilla project by Dragan Architecture
Tell us about your career path so far.
I am an architect, I came across architecture by chance because around 15 years ago I had the opportunity to work for Middle East countries. I had the chance to make very luxury interior design and the Middle East is the only place where you can do almost all you want.When I began in architecture and on these projects they asked for classic decoration.In my first years in the school of Architecture I had some teachers that told me how the classic style works, what are the proportions, how the elements have to work to construct that specific style. One of the most important things I learnt was how to design the space, not only the walls. So, my work is a very volumetric kind of design and very architectural interior design. What people don’t know is that interior design was made by architects, the difference between them is a problem of degree and exterior and interior design are architecture. The first interior designers were architects. So the architects work was a little suppressed.In the Middle East the new generations, they know new designers, visit the world and ask for a new approach. So the classical style is asked more by the Chinese.
How hard was it to build a company like Dragan Architects? How hard was it to create your own name in this business field?
Most of our clients are from the Middle East so we have always a confidentiality agreement because most of our clients are princes. So we are not allowed to publish any of these works and because of that, we are not a very well-known company. We have representatives in the Emirates and they are also making some projects there.I think we are not recognized because of this situation of confidentiality.“What I am trying to do with my work is to always have a concept behind and a true idea behind the concept.”
Transports Museum project in Doha, Qatar by Dragan Architecture
What is the main source of inspiration for your Middle East projects?
I have some oriental inspiration, but the main source is the classical style and environments. But, it is not in my philosophy to copy the classical style. If you ask me what I like, it is modern decoration and minimalist decoration. Right now we have very modern cars, we want to go on a trip to Mars and we make interior design and decoration inspired by styles from years ago, it is not logical.My inspiration comes from the true classical architecture and the books. What I am trying to do with my work is to always have a concept behind, and a true idea behind the concept.
If you had to choose just one of your projects, which project would it be?
Last year we finished a villa, it was a new experience for us because I tried to do an ethnic concept and use ethnic materials. Another project that I really like is a project that is just a plan, a never constructed modern building. Because it was never built it has loads of possibilities still. Every project that is built it always faces problems, and you say to yourself “if I would do it now I would do it better”.
Private villa project by Dragan Architecture
Do you have a passion for what you do?
All the time I have a feeling of unsatisfaction. Every time I am unsatisfied with my work. Architecture is not the best job, in my opinion, because you are obligated to work too quickly. There is the will of the client and there are problems with the budget. My passion is the passion of unsatisfaction.Something which is never finished or something that you are continuously working on this is a metaphor for my work and also my life.
Medusa stair lobby project by Dragan Architecture
What projects are you working on?
Right now we have an architecture and interior design hospitality project close to Saudi Arabia (in the East Coast). Also, we are making some houses in France and two villas near Paris. In China, we are engaged in a project of a classical villa.