ISA STEIN Studio is working on the verge of architecture, design, and art. Our focus is giving a special meaning to a project; therefore we like to collaborate with different professionals from other fields like philosophy, sociology, economics, and others. Working with space is not just an alteration of space; it is far more a redirectory of a coded common sense.
By changing an internal or external space, within the present time, you influence in the smallest unit people or even a whole society. An appearance of a building connects in a new way with its environment.
Therefore, process is an important factor as well, and we think that every built environment changes over time. The new creation changes the existing and the existing will change the new implantation. Architecture, as everything else is aging, gets influenced and influences and is co-creator of our environmental code.
We try to approach our projects as an implantation in a bigger system, which is dynamic. To start a project, we try to understand everything that is connected to the scope of work. This can start by a real site itself, to the neighborhood, to the city, the country, of course weather influences, but also society and bigger dynamics. A new architectural approach has to involve more than just building facts. Otherwise, if not handled with care, the system gets destabilized.
This is also why we chose our contribution to the Biennale as questioning our system. Through globalization the whole world is even more visually connected. We have had bonds, of course, but it was not that obvious. Now the media and virtual world informs us about what is going on with our globe.
Architecture always leads us back to origin. When did building start? When did mankind start? Who needed shelter? And this also starts the discussion of housing and of clothing, as clothing is the direct shelter of a person, which he or she can carry around. The first “house” was the “Urhütte”, looking like a tent made out of small pieces of wood. The starting point has an enormous value, especially as we have gone a far way apart from what housing meant to be. In general, our society took more or less one path Erich Fromm already defined as “haben” versus “sein”. It is no longer the question of what we need or what is necessary and what helps us for our development. We went to a discussion of having the maximum, what is possible. It is a very egoistic choice we took.
In every field we started with diets, and it seems that an architectural diet has to take place. We have to go back to our needs.
What is necessary? What makes, us as a person and as a community, better?
Leaving away all these fancy distractions makes us enjoy architecture in its purest form. We can enjoy again and do not have to pass on the information via our virtual world right away.
Architecture especially has this one real good trait; it can make you happy and enhance your well-being. We are very careful with what ingredients we work, as too much kills the other additions. Too much salt is still too much…
The slogan “less is more” is something we like, but only in the sense of being clear in your statement.
And our installation “Inner Dress” asks exactly for that. If we go further on, without reflecting, we have to go back to the roots in order to understand what direction to take. This is a process where we invite the viewer to participate and feel the process, so to say, being a part of the transformation. Change can only happen with clarity, and understanding this always involves space – time – existence.