Being an architectural enthusiast, I am more than excited to meet Dante Borgo and Isabella Eriksson, founders of international architecture studio Main Office. Dante and Isabella are both top-notch architects with solid knowledge from the largest agencies. They have been involved in and developed several projects around the world, and now have two offices, one located in Sweden, and one in Guadalajara. What is the driving force behind their success story, and what are their (architectural) plans for the future, or here in Sayulita? Read to find out.
Dante, can you tell us about your childhood and what sparked you to become an architect?
Well, I was born in Guadalajara in the early 80’s. As most people were living in the cities at that time, living in the suburbs was the new thing, so my dad bought an apartment right there. I’ve always been very interested in architecture, even as a kid. My dad and his whole family have always been in the Marble business. In fact, my grandfather, an Italian man who emigrated first to New York and eventually to Mexico, was one of the pioneers introducing marble work to Mexico. Thus, I grew up going together with my dad to different construction sites or playing with the blueprints the architects gave him. I think this is where my journey to become an architect started.
Isabella, what role does environmental and social sustainability play in your designs?
They both play a big role. Environmental issues are important in terms of using sustainable and local material as far as it’s possible, and in the term that the materials should last over a long period of time. We design for our present time, but also for the future, and thinking long term feeds back to the environment. Social sustainability also plays a very important role in our designs as the spaces we create should support healthy and livable communities, providing for a good quality of life. It could mean everything from functional aspects, such as good light conditions and good floor plans, to tactile and spatial aspects, such as the views or sensation of a wall, and healthy aspects such as good ventilation systems providing good airflow for optimal health.
You both come from different parts of the world. How have your backgrounds and upbringings played a role in your work today?
Isabella is Swedish. I am Mexican, and my wife, Sima Agisheva, who is also an architect and runs the Mexican office with me, is Russian. We all met while living and working in Rotterdam. So yeah, you can say our office is a complete melting pot, but somehow, that contributes in a positive way when we do architecture. I think that our different backgrounds complement each other perfectly. Multiculturalism can only make things better on any field.
Main Office is said to reject any precipitation on the architectural form. Can you tell us more about this?
Well it is our experience that the best projects are ones that respond to a specific situation and context. Sometimes we have clients who come with a picture from Pinterest saying “I want my house to look like this”, or constantly asking “but how is my house going to look?” For us, it is very important to first take context into account and from there to have a design strategy to approach any specifics of the project. We try to bring special qualities to the project, such as nice light, nice views etc. before thinking about how the building is going to look from the outside. A second but very important element for us is the execution of the construction. Thankfully we have found a great construction company here in Sayulita we always partner up with. Quality is a must that all our projects need to have, regardless of the size, budget or location.
What are your thoughts on the architectural culture of Mexico?
I think right now Mexican Architecture is going through a sort of Renaissance. There are many young firms out there doing super interesting things, and globally Mexico is now recognized for this new wave of architecture. Then of course you have Luis Barragan, the greatest Mexican architect of all time and Pritzker award winner, but also, in particularly, I love all the anonymous traditional architecture, maybe not even made by architects, but enormously rich on spacial qualities, and we always try to learn from that.
When it comes to your architectural work, what do you most want to be remembered for?
I think we would like to be remembered as a practice that was constantly looking to bring innovative ideas to the projects we created.
*Written by: Inge Poell