HEAD – Genève, Department of Space Design / HEPIA, Departments of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
Organised by HEAD – Genève and HEPIA, Archipelago: Architectures for the Multiverse was a three-day international event with local and digital dimensions centred on pressing disciplinary issues within the practice of architecture, landscape, and interior design. The event was framed by custom-built scenography designed and created by faculty staff and students from HEPIA and HEAD. The conversations were moderated by Vera Sacchetti, Ala Tannir, Elise Misao Hunchuck and Meriem Chabani.
Details on the full team and the programme can be found at: www.archipelago-architectures.ch
The Archipelago broadcast began on the first day by challenging the assumption that disciplinary concerns within interior design, architecture and landscape always need material intervention, which brought forward the question Do We Need to Build? In a roundtable discussion with members of the Archipelago advisory board, the first conversation set the tone for the days to come by touching upon the processes of institution building and public engagement, as well as shifting modes of pedagogy. This was followed by a tour of the scenography with members of the design team which illuminated the intentions behind its many locally sourced, reusable parts.
On the second day – entitled Understories – What Remains Hidden in Plain View? – the broadcast turned to under-represented knowledge, systems and stories that have been canonically excluded. The day’s programme began with Territories of Intervention, a discussion of the local urban context of Geneva that looked outwards to the rest of Switzerland, its borders and beyond to discover how the city is entangled in larger myths of nationality and place. It continued with Extractive Systems, which sought to unearth systems and traces of capitalism, imperialism and extractivism by exposing and challenging forms of embedded exploitation. Panellists contended with extraction and its spectrum of interpretation, as well as the need to deconstruct the “architectural saviour complex”. From there, the broadcast moved on to Other Stories – narratives within architecture, landscape and interior design that are traditionally positioned at the margin, narratives which have either become visible only recently or which have been present from the very beginning. The conversation ended with a resolution to reimagine hegemonic narratives as the “other” and by doing so to find new disciplinary centre points. The final conversation of Day Two zoomed out and considered stories that play out on a global scale, stories which involve multiple material flows across time and space.
The third day of the Archipelago broadcast (Interdependency – New Disciplinary Narratives) focused on new methods and models which can be used to develop practice. Kinship and Advocacy opened this topic by unpacking the way in which disciplinary boundaries and expectations change when kinship, collaboration and mutual care are centred. Panellists related their personal experiences to their work and discussed the role that shared ritual plays in fostering kinship. Working With then continued this conversation by exploring how practitioners are changing the ways in which they work with one another within the complex present, allowing for experimental collective configurations that offer new possibilities for interdisciplinary exchange. Archipelago’s conversations ended with New Roles, New Practices, which sought to build upon the previous three days of insights by imagining new paths for architects, landscape architects and interior designers. The event concluded with a roundtable discussion in which students from HEAD and HEPIA came together with the Archipelago moderators to reflect on how these new disciplinary paths might be carved within the educational institution, leading to future generations of practitioners attuned to the complex contemporary issues we are facing.
May 6–8, 2021
Broadcast live from the Cube, HEAD – Geneva
Featuring conversations with: Pooja Agrawal, Céline Baumann, Ila Bêka & Louise Lemoine, Sofia Pia Belenky, Luca Cei, Esther Choi, Collectif Galta, Trojans Collective, Cynthia Deng, Cindy Duan, Matias Echanove, Elif Erez, Javier F. Contreras, Marco Ferrari, Silvia Franceschini, Nathalie Frankowski, Emma-Julia Fuller, Cruz Garcia, Rania Ghosn, Natacha Guillaumont, Jane Mah Hutton, Emma Kaufmann-LaDuc, Youri Kravtchenko, Adrian Lahoud, Léopold Lambert, Romain Legros, Ann Lui, Charlotte Malterre-Barthes, Oreste Montinaro, Lauro Nächt, Joar Nango, Marina Otero, Mariana Pestana, Nicolas Pham, Lucia Pietroiusti, Marie-Louise Richards, Francesco Sebregondi, Riccardo Simioni, Serina Tarkhanian, Justinien Tribillon, Charlotte Truwant, Manijeh Verghese, Daniel Zamarbide, and others.
PROJECTS /// HEAD – Genève. Train Zug Treno Tren. Inaugural Exhibition at Mudac [Lausanne: Mudac, 2022] /// Javier F. Contreras, Ignacio Hornillos. Villa Cuadrada [Madrid, 2022] /// HEAD – Genève & India Mahdavi. Herbarium of Interiors: A Milk Bar [Milan: Alcova, 2021] /// HEAD – Genève & HEPIA. Archipelago: Architectures for the Multiverse [Geneva, 2021] /// Javier F. Contreras, Youri Kravtchenko, fala atelier. Nosy Hoods [Geneva: Dimanche Showroom, 2021] /// Javier F. Contreras, Ignacio Hornillos. Prismarium [Logroño: Concentrico Architecture and Design Festival, 2020] /// HEAD – Genève & USM Foundation. Space Duality [Red Dot Winner 2020, Frame Awards 2020] /// Javier F. Contreras, Youri Kravtchenko. Scènes de Nuit. Nocturnal Exhibition at f’ar Lausanne [Lausanne: forum d’architectures, 2019] /// BOOKS /// Javier F. Contreras. Manifiesto de Interiores [Barcelona: Puente Editores, 2022] /// Javier F. Contreras, Youri Kravtchenko, and Manon Portera, eds. Scènes de Nuit. Night & Architecture [Geneva: HEAD – Publishing / Madrid: Ediciones Asimétricas, 2021] /// Javier F. Contreras. Manifesto of Interiors: Thinking in the Expanded Media [Geneva: HEAD – Publishing, 2021] /// Javier F. Contreras. The Miralles Projection: Thinking and Representation in the Architecture of Enric Miralles [New York: Applied Research + Design Publishing, 2020] /// Javier F. Contreras, Youri Kravtchenko, Arjen Oosterman, and Lilet Breddels, eds. Herbarium of Interiors. HEAD – Genève & India Mahdavi [Amsterdam: Archis-Volume, 2020] /// Javier F. Contreras. Fragmentos de Planta y Espacio. Sistema Diédrico en Enric Miralles [Madrid: Ediciones Asimétricas, 2018] /// ESSAYS /// Javier F. Contreras. “El Croquis Night: Excursus into Nocturnal Obliteration in Architectural Media” Interiority. Vol 4 No. 2 (2021): 181-190. /// Javier F. Contreras. “Tactile and Reflective Conditions in the Architecture of Marie-José Van Hee” In Marie-José Van Hee Architecten: More Home, More Garden, edited by Hilde Peleman, and Katrien Vandermarliere [Ghent: Copyright Slow Publishing, 2019], 217-229. /// Javier F. Contreras. “Différences de Perception: Le Chablais Lémanique” In Prises de vue. Un paradigme pour l’observation du paysage, edited by Michael Jakob [Geneva: Métis Presses, 2019], 129-146. /// Javier F. Contreras. “Tactile and Reflective Conditions: Marie-José Van Hee’s House Declercq” BITACORA Arquitectura no. 39 (2018): 134-139. /// Javier F. Contreras. “Dibujo y Repetición: Presencia Manual de Enric Miralles en la Planta del Ayuntamiento de Utrecht” RA Revista de Arquitectura no. 19 (2017): 97-104. /// Javier F. Contreras, and José María Sánchez García. “Concentration as Program, Emptiness as Flexibility: an Idea of Space” In Passion for the Built Environment (Perspectives in Metropolitan Research no. 2), edited by Gesa Ziemer [Berlin: Jovis Verlag, 2016], 98-106. /// Javier F. Contreras. “La Tectónica de lo Aéreo: Enric Miralles y la Vicisitud de lo Climático” ZARCH: Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Architecture and Urbanism no. 4 (2015): 22-35. /// Javier F. Contreras. “Plan Libre vs. Plan Miralles” In Massilia 2011. Annuaire d’études Corbuséennes, edited by Josep Quetglas [Paris-Marseille: Fondation Le Corbusier, Editions Imbernon, 2011], 82-91. /// Javier F. Contreras. “Océanos de Arena, Ciudades del Petróleo” Revista Arquitectura no. 361 (Autumn 2010): 88-91. /// Javier F. Contreras. “El Organicismo Expandido” CIRCO no. 153. Madrid: M.R.T. Coop, 2009. /// Javier F. Contreras, Gabriel N. Duarte, and Roberto Gª Caballero. “It’s Not Just Grass! Subverting Legal Planning and the Reinvention of the Dutch Process-Landscape Agenda 2000 & the C2751” In 306090 vol.8, Autonomous Urbanism, edited by Alex Duval, and Kjersti Monson [New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2005], 21-30. /// INTERVIEWS /// “Depuis Rue Las Cases. A Conversation with India Mahdavi” Interview by Javier F. Contreras. In India Mahdavi, edited by Chronicle Chroma [Los Angeles: Chronicle Books, 2021] /// Javier F. Contreras, and Graeme Brooker. “The Future is Interior and Interiorised” Interview by Marco Costantini, and Claire Favre Maxwell. RADDAR no. 2 (2020), 192-213. /// Irma Boom. “Within Pages, Beyond Books” Interview by Javier F. Contreras, and Lilet Breddels. In Herbarium of Interiors, edited by J. F. Contreras, Y. Kravtchenko, A. Oosterman, L. Breddels [Amsterdam: Archis-Volume, 2020], 42-47. /// Javier F. Contreras. “Architecture d’intérieur. Espace et Communication” Interview by Nic Ulmi. In IN MY HEAD, edited by Julie E. Julliard [Geneva: HEAD – Genève, 2020], 240-243. /// Jean-Pierre Greff, and Javier F. Contreras. “Dialogue sur l’enseignement de l’architecture d’intérieur” Interview by Roberto Zancan. In L’architecture par l’intérieur, edited by Roberto Zancan [Geneva: MetisPresses, 2018], 185-205.
Javier Fernández Contreras (Dipl. ETSAM 2006, PhD 2013) is a Geneva-based architect, design theorist, and the Dean of the Department of Space Design at HEAD – Genève. His work explores the relationship between architecture, representation and media, with a specific focus on the role of interiors in the construction of contemporaneity. Contreras is the director of several BA, MA and research programs, including MAIA (Master of Arts in Interior Architecture) and Scènes de Nuit, a research platform investigating the entanglements between night and architecture. He is the author of the books Fragmentos de Planta y Espacio (2018), The Miralles Projection: Thinking and Representation in the Architecture of Enric Miralles (2020), Manifesto of Interiors: Thinking in the Expanded Media (2021), and co-editor of Scènes de Nuit: Night & Architecture (2021). His critical essays have been published in numerous books and specialised journals, including Marie-José Van Hee Architecten, Massilia Annuaire des Études Corbuséennes, Drawing Matter, India Mahdavi, RA Revista de Arquitectura, RADDAR, and Plan Libre. Contreras is a regular contributor to professional debates, international juries and conferences. His work has earned him prizes in various international competitions, including the Concentrico Design Festival 2020, f’ar Lausanne 2019, and several editions of Europan. His recent projects and distinctions with HEAD – Genève include Train Zug Treno Tren, the opening exhibition at MUDAC Lausanne in 2022; the invitation to the 2021 Seoul Architecture Biennale for the Circa Diem project (in collaboration with the EPFL); the Brands and Communication Red Dot Award 2020 and the Innovation Frame Award 2020 for the Space Duality project; as well as a Design Prize Switzerland 2019 nomination for the #Looslab project.
This website is an index of selected projects and writings.