Alessandro Scandurra, architect and owner of Scandurrastudio, was recently in Victoria as part of the state's flagship inbound trade mission, the Victoria Invitation Program.
Scandurrastudio works with a number of global clients including ABB, Europra Risorse and the BG Group.
Architecture and Design spoke to Scandurra about Victoria’s architecture, the design approach in Italy and what makes a good designer.
What is your impression of design in Victoria?
I think this is a very exciting period for design and for any form of expression in Victoria. In my opinion, there is an information overload that is influencing and transforming the local culture. The result is a new spirit – a very particular one that probably has to still deal with the culture of the Italian design know-how.
How does it compare to Italy?
Italy, for various reasons, is the cradle of design. Designers, constructors and businesspeople made a huge effort after the Second World War. In the 50s, a new generation of enthusiastic and capable designers was born, which inspired a lot of small enterprises, giving them the strength to get out of the post-war crisis.
Actually, there is no such thing as a proper Italian style: maybe we can identify it with a certain way of doing things, with each designer’s personal research, pushed by the same curiosity and the same desire to learn and improve.
Is there any design approach in Italy that you think Victoria could adopt?
Victoria is already doing it. As for the origins of Italian design, Victoria is looking around itself, fully aware of its potential. Therefore it will be very simple to keep the right distance and to highlight its specific quality – the capacity to work with nature and become one with it. I believe there is a really vital relationship with things that makes room for people, by giving a high level of freedom and inclusiveness.
What building in Victoria do you think encapsulates Australia’s design approach well?
I was really impressed by the Robin Boyd Foundation and by a large amount of contemporary buildings, which embodies the refined but rough spirit of Victoria, shaped by a strong and sincere connection with nature. I truly appreciated this great respect for nature, the ability to stop and listen to it, and the mutual and lively capacity of things to influence each other.
What qualities do you think make a good designer?
Being curious about the changing in people’s behaviour, being able to adapt yourself to people’s needs and to communicate wellness and positivity. There aren’t critical designers: there are only needs, the strangest, invisible needs.
How difficult is it to teach people these things?
It is not difficult: the most important thing is to listen. Probably the most difficult part is to understand and introduce some positive changes step-by-step by using the proper experience.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I have recently won some very important competitions in Milan; a square with the informative pavilions for Expo 2015 in the heart of the city and a big residential district in the suburbs. These are two very complex ad different pieces of the same city, each with its own peculiar characteristics.