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19:04

Welcome to the pleasuredome: Fellows Friday with Antonio Torres

  Posted by Karen Eng

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Squishy, vivid, frozen, frothy – architect and artist Antonio Torres’s wildly colorful and whimsical built spaces are often created using membranes filled with gases, liquids and organic materials, inviting people to crawl in, jump, touch and play. Here, we ask him about his incredible works and where his inspiration comes from.

Tell me about yourself and how you became an artist – because, as I understand, you were originally trained as an architect.

Actually, the first time that anyone called me an artist was the TED Fellows team! I have always considered myself an architect, but after graduate school, my work became more multidisciplinary, bringing aspects of art into architecture and playing with it. So this is new for me.

Do you object?

No, not at all. I think it’s good when somebody describes you as an artist and you don’t have to call yourself one.

But I always knew I wanted to build things. It has been part of my life for a very long time. Most of my family is in construction and landscaping, so everyone has a pretty natural grasp of materials and how to put things together. I don’t know if that’s what got me involved in architecture, but it definitely is something that plays out right now. I was always around job sites, from when I was 13. At some point I was even thinking of doing civil engineering. That road would have probably been a big mistake! Now I’m trying to explore new architectural possibilities in unifying art, sculpture, soft and living materials and hilarious forms in the hope of finding different building blocks in architecture. I think I have a pretty good grasp of how to put traditional methods together – now it’s about trying to challenge what it means to build.

I grew up in a small village in the state of Michoacan until I was 12, and then my family moved to Chicago. That’s where I did my undergrad, at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In my last year, I had the chance to study at the School of Architecture in Verailles, France – a pivotal moment for me. When I came back, I ended up doing a three-year master’s degree in architecture at UCLA, where I met my partner in crime, Michael Loverich, with whom I founded The Bittertang Farm, our design studio. Now I am back in Mexico and it has been very receptive to me and my work.

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“Ice caves of the Polar Regions are a rare treat to those who travel there. Created by hundreds of years of accumulation and erosion, to enter an ice cave is to be immersed in color, color that only ice can create. Our Ice Palace attempts to get close to this intense environment by creating vertical thick walls of dyed ice.” Photo: Bittertang Farm

To read the full interview, visit the TED Blog >>>

 

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