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Inspiration comes mainly from understanding the client and the site - It’s like a riddle | Shieh Arq

Award-Winning Shieh Arquitetos Associados was established in São Paulo since 1976. Their projects varies in scale, from small houses to large urban plans, such as schools and hospitals. The team will grasp a greater understanding of what their clients need to create their unique architecture.


Q: Why did you get into Interior Design?

A: I wouldn’t say we’re “interior designers”. Rather, that we’re “architects” and the consideration of the interiors is absolutely inherent to our work.

Q: How did you start up your career?

A: Upon my graduation at the University of São Paulo, I went to NY and worked for a couple of years with Rafael Viñoly. It was a crazy moment in the office, we were submitting the proposal for the new World Trade Center. After that, I went to MIT for a master’s degree. And then, finally decided it was time to come back to São Paulo and join the office my father had founded 30 years earlier.

Q: Where does your inspiration come from?

A: Inspiration comes mainly from understanding the client and the site. It’s like a riddle, every time. Nothing gives me more pleasure than revealing a project to the client – it’s a magical moment.

Q: Can you tell us about a significant accomplishment or project that you regard as notable?

A: We were very lucky to distill many of our ideas in the new High School for Bradesco Foundation. The client basically wanted us to rethink what a school should be like.

Q: Where would you like to see your company in 5 years from now?

A: That’s a very difficult question. Quantity is very different from quality. If we can find a way to keep, or rather increase, the quality of our work and expand in volume, that would be great.

Q: What project(s) are you working on at the moment?

A: We’ve been working on a couple of new schools, a church and a handful of houses. And for a while now, I’m immersed in the most difficult project ever, for any architect: my own house.

Q: How do you think an Interior Designer should dress?

A: In any way it makes her/him happy at the moment.

Q: If you could design anything, what would it be?

A: The opening of an Akira Kurosawa movie.

Q: What type of restaurant would you choose to go to for dinner?

A: The works of both Helena Rizzo and Alex Atala with Brazilian ingredients are fabulous. I recommend Mani and DOM for anyone visiting SP.

Q: Can you give us a statement about Design?

A: It’s all about the people, always.

Q: If you could describe your designs related to food, what would it be and why?

A: I like when you can make a fine dish with the minimum ingredients. I love to prepare barbecue for family and friends, with just two ingredients: meat and salt. It’s the way you cook that makes all the difference. If you’re precise, get the right cut and the right temperature, it will be great. But if not, it’s a disaster. There is no margin for errors, you have no extra spices to fix or hide your mistakes.

Q: What do you think of the design trends in the future?

A: In the future, we’ll still be designing for the people, under the same considerations of nature. Question is, how will people be in the future?

Q: Who is your favourite Designer and why?

A: I can’t single pick one. But it’s hard not to think about Vilanova Artigas when you go to school at FAU-USP.

Q: In which country would you like to have your project in?

A: Anywhere! An architect goes where there’s work. So far and fortunately, we’ve had plenty in São Paulo. Maybe we should get out of this comfort zone.

Q: What element of a design is the most important thing to you?

A: The human being. I’m interested in anthropometrics, in the movement of the body, in the different ways one can perceive our design in every head rotation.

Q: What is your favourite cocktail?

A: For me, nothing beats a glass of good red wine – preferably Malbec.

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