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Slow architecture: our philosophy

Why architecture has to do with time.

The time for exploring and designing, the time of the actual context and future life of the building. At Frigerio Design Group we have chosen to slow things down, to be solid and flexible, as the Latin adjective ‘lentus’ suggests. Since 1991 this has been our way of working: to observe carefully, design better, and look far ahead.

Our architecture is ‘slow’: it lives through time, it is progressive and from its context draws the resources of its own definition. It enjoys being where we built it, ‘here and not elsewhere’. It aspires to relate with what surrounds it and to be lived. It grows, with no fear of growing old.

The Culture of Action, in three ‘Cs’

At the core of relationships, being aware of the route.

Context, Client and Construction site: this is how you can define the triangulation at the base of our culture of action. Because every project has its story and a number of players who are a part of it, it is a complex path, made up of different competences and skills, to be orchestrated with expertise.

As ‘slow’ architects, we want to remain at the center of the triangle. We do not want to be at the top of it, in a state of precariousness, running the risk of being overturned once the latest fad passes. In order to keep to a steady route, we make architecture from the center.

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Context: our raw material

In every place, we perceive the concrete echo of a unique and unrepeatable story.

We are able to gather and embrace the positive that every context offers on its own. Its variety of stimuli and inspirations, its resources: culture, climate, atmosphere, lights, materials, even scrap and pottery shards, because – as the ‘kintsugi’ Japanese art of repairing with gold teaches – every shard has broken off in its own way, imparting a story to be appreciated.

This raw material, readily available without any effort, is the fuel that powers our ideas and solutions. This produces architecture that is just as unique and unrepeatable, that can build a bridge between tradition and innovation.

Client: we value also what is not visible

The client-architect duo remains behind the scenes but sets the outcome.

On the stage we are the alter-ego of our client. We ensure the work carried out meets expectations and monitor cost containment. We act according to our expertise and at times some improvisation is needed since we know that every stage should be crossed without hesitating, with professionalism and new creativity. Although the client often remains behind the scenes, an open dialogue with them and their feedback is crucial for the success of the project and achieving overall quality.

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Construction site: from two to three dimensions

An appointment to be prepared for, to plan and manage with the utmost care.

On the Construction site we are in touch with the secret of inanimate things and building processes. We see the realization of what we have designed. We test solutions and materials with various prototypes and we prevent problems from occurring by constantly improving quality, always without neglecting cost containment.

This phase amazes us every time as if it were the first. We never delegate it to anyone: we like to get involved and dirty our hands in the most exciting part of our work.

The opportunity to achieve total quality

We always strive for every part’s perfect compliance with the whole.

Ergonomics, space, acoustics, maintenance, cost management: these are only a sample of the factors we take into account when we develop a project, by considering the building as an organism where every part has its own specific and collaborative function, even when not designed to be seen.

Studying carefully the correlation between the parts means pursuing total quality. Indeed, although aesthetic beauty is the most visible quality factor for a building, we are convinced that a good blueprint and the right selection of materials are not enough to achieve the quality we strive for. Much of it depends on execution, on the ability to build and experience on the field. Every project, therefore, gives us an opportunity to achieve total quality that we intend to catch.

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Transparent sustainability, from the very beginning

Our commitment not to leave footprints.

We want to reduce ecological footprints and make a more coherent and aware use of materials and resources. In order to do so, we follow the lesson provided by nature – in the circular processes where nothing is wasted – and by the past.

We aim at sustainability from the very beginning since the energy consumption of a building is only the final phase of a process, which started from the energy used to produce the architectural parts and components we decide to use.

The construction site reveals itself as the theatre of potential waste but also of possible economy, and to make ‘slow architecture’ means to make a proper assessment of these aspects by looking for the right balance. Moreover, we seek beauty as an intrinsic feature of sustainable architecture, since we are convinced that beauty and sustainability do not rule each other out but rather go hand in hand.

A piece of comfort for all

The specific quality that every space should have to make us feel good.

Well-being, interaction and communication between people are at the core of each project of ours. Sensorial comfort is measured through the human factor.

Values like the happiness and inspiration of those who will live in a building, together with measurable factors such as the optimization of natural light and the right climate and acoustics produce smart and sustainable architecture. Every solution of ours is measured in relation to use and the contribution of natural resources, where necessary, is offset through technology and plant design.

We are sure that the search for total quality means creating the conditions where everybody can enjoy a high level of comfort.

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At the end comes the beginning

A progressive project, which is also aware of the end.

Our buildings’ entrance into society is always full of expectations. We are parents of the job. As such, our “end” comes in the form of delivery, not abandonment.

During the design process we never underestimate aspects concerning management and maintenance, use and versatility of use; quite the contrary, it is precisely where we lay the foundation for future of our buildings.

They will then be able to renew themselves, open up to potential changes they will need one day.

This will be beautiful and progressive, lived-in and durable architecture.

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