ARCHITECTURE: THE SUM OF THE DETAIL
Marie Aigner is an architect who works in the fields of architecture, interior design, furniture design and product development. For pinta acoustic she embarked on the search for visual design in acoustics. This endeavor resulted in several astounding prototypes to inspire designers to create their own ideas.
Architecture, interior design, furniture design and product development—those are extremely diverse fields. How did this come about?
That may sound diverse, but essentially it is not: my interest is in the design of objects. I have also designed gardens—of course, not with the knowledge of a botany, but with an engineer or a designer approach. I am interested in geometry. I explore accents, and create tension or balance. The study of architecture provides a perfect basis for working in many areas of design. An piece of furniture, in the end, is a detail in a house. When designing a product, the first thing to consider is function. The same applies to the design of a building. I think it makes sense to start with the design and implementation of these details—the finishes and furniture. For me, all the aspects combine to form a unit. And it is only collectively that it creates architecture.
What is your passion in the design process?
Each task must be examined from different perspectives in order to achieve an integral solution. I try to alternate between the perspectives of designer and user and respond to the needs. Depending on the task, there are always new challenges. In remodeling, for example, the existing building and the addition of a new space are the relevant factors. It is a matter of using the existing resources appropriately. In other projects it is important to use innovative and intelligent materials or to utilize technological means and know-how to save energy and resources. For me, it is always important to improve and develop things. That includes the courage and the curiosity to try out something new and to break out of set patterns.
Is that also how you became involved with “acoustics”?
My first conscious encounter with acoustic planning was in 2006, with the construction of the pinta acoustic factory in Maisach. That was the first time I had the opportunity and the need of learning extensively about acoustic products and their design. Although I had used sound-absorbing products in my projects before, they were purely functional. In the years that followed I have repeatedly encountered acoustic problems in rooms and was unable to find suitable solutions. Through conversations with colleagues I became aware that I was not alone with this. The interest in the design of acoustics in the market and among architects has increased in recent years. However, there were no suitable products. I was on the lookout for well-designed systems that deal with the issue of acoustics not only superficially, but on a performance basis. My second inquiry at pinta acoustic was in 2013. Working together with a material expert I was commissioned to conduct research. The goal in cooperation with pinta acoustic is to use existing products as the basis for new developments with respect to acoustical performance and design.
What is the potential for the Designed Acoustic elements you have designed for architects?
My designs are intended only to give architects ideas. There is still much unused potential in the design of acoustics. In the past, acoustic systems offered a choice of different wall and ceiling systems. In very few cases, however, did they offer a visual enhancement for the room – the basic orientation was always technical. The “Designed Acoustic” prototypes now show that there are many more design-related possibilities. pinta acoustic manufactures individual solutions. The products are intended not only for the technically oriented agencies, but also the “creative” design-oriented and competitive agencies. “Designed Acoustic” products provide innovative solutions for creative implementation of technical requirements. pinta acoustic will implement every design suggested by an architect, as long as it is acoustically useful and technically feasible.
The Designed Acoustic products that have been designed so far are a combination of art and room sculpture. What was your intention in this development?
Acoustics should also be visual—an experience of architecture as design. The aesthetic added value of the prototypes makes the acoustical effect engaging to the user. This creates an awareness of acoustic design and communicates its necessity. As free-standing sculptures, suspended ceiling elements or wall objects, the products offer design accents and are suitable for office buildings, museums, galleries, commercial buildings and multifamily residential.
What is the importance of the material for you?
Material must always be contemporary. For me, this means working with genuine and pure materials. A modern and progressive material must be reusable and recyclable, it must be manufactured in accordance with proper sustainability guidelines. Material meeting these qualifications then defines the form and function of the new products.
What are you planning next? Are other integral and interdisciplinary projects planned?
I remain true to my motto of diversity and have widely differing projects planned. In addition to the design of a large office building I am also working on the architectural development of a franchise concept in France, for example. Various consulting commissions in the area of project controlling and fire protection are also on the agenda. And, of course, the continuing development of acoustic products – this is very important to me.