BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) is a Copenhagen, New York, London, and Barcelona-based group of architects, designers, urbanists, researchers, inventors, landscape, and interior professionals founded by Bjarke Ingels in 2005. Bjarke defines architecture as an art and science that makes sure our cities move ahead with time. The firm is involved in a lot of projects throughout Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Asia. BIG’s architecture evolves out of a careful analysis of how contemporary life constantly changes. Like some programmatic sorcery, they create architecture by mixing conventional ingredients of living, leisure, work, parking, and shopping. As architects, BIG finds freedom in changing the surface of the planet to make it a better place for contemporary life forms to fit in.
1. The BIG Philosophy – ‘Yes is more’ | BIG Architecture
BIG believes that the conflicts of society are the main ingredients in the analytical work of creating architecture. They find a way of incorporating and integrating differences not through compromise but by tying conflicting interests into a Gordian knot of new ideas. They stand with society rather than against it and their architecture is a key driver in the evolutionary process. They do not want cities to thrive on leftovers from the past but try to build something that fits in for the people.
2. No identifiable style
BIG-designed buildings do not have an identifiable style. They believe that style is like a straitjacket that keeps one confined to who they are and restrains one from becoming who they could be. They place more focus on the approach to architecture than on the result. They compare architecture to portraiture. The success of the portrait lies not only in the artist’s capability of expressing himself but also in how well it captures the soul and potential of the subject.
3. BIG is Globally inspired but Locally focused
BIG believes that as an architect every time one builds a building, he has the responsibility of making that little part of the world his dream world. If an architect creates an environment that he wishes to see, it’s a win-win situation. Treating every project like one’s own and creating it for personal use makes the project special and worth loving. Respecting the environment and giving back what has been taken from it is important.
4. Sustainability is the BIG motto | BIG Architecture
BIG looks at sustainability as a design opportunity that can increase the quality of life instead of imposing a series of restrictions. Their marketing strategy is all about moving the concept of sustainability away from the perpetual cycle of scientific reprimand and using it with a high-spirited attitude. The firm takes on big subjects like globalization, sustainability, and social cohesion by proposing evolution instead of revolution.
5. BIG IDEAS – the incubator
In an attempt to increase the influence on the built environment, the firm has established BIG IDEAS. It is an internal technology-driven special projects unit that explores new intellectual territory in both the digital and material realm. This unit expands the traditional scope of an architect into exploring information and material through three specific areas of Product Design, Technical Simulation, and Special Projects.
6. Diagrams – the key design tool
BIG’s diagrams are an inspiration to the entire architecture community as a way of representation but for the firm, these diagrams are an important tool for designing. They derive their building forms through a series of simple, logical diagrams.
They break down all their design decisions into smaller diagrams and then move ahead based on results.
7. The Playful Attitude
BIG takes multiple designable elements that seemingly do not fit together and turns them into a new creation. This approach allows them to break the conventional parameters of architecture and bring new ideas to life that earlier seemed impossible to achieve. The firm treats the environment with a playful perspective of exploration constantly shaping and reinventing it as if in a virtual reality game.
8. Investment in Technology
BIG has partnered up with 3D-Printing Robotics company ICON to push forward the use of 3D printing robotics to deliver dignified, resilient homes around the world. ICON is an Austin-based company specialized in developing construction technologies that advance humanity, including software, robotics, and building materials.
9. The BIG products
BIG plays its innovative role in the field of Product Design as well. They have explored the ideas of personal technology, mobility, and furniture design as a part of their collaboration with Kilo Design and Skibsted Ideation. The firm did not want their design intelligence to be limited to their office shelves hence the interest in product design became a literal extension of their efforts in architecture.
10. Landscape is the hero | BIG Architecture
BIG believes that a suitable Landscape Design can uplift the spirit of a project and create an environment worth living in. They are well known for integrating buildings and landscapes in large-scale residential projects. The firm promotes social interaction through landscape elements such as green roofs, small porches, individual terraces, gardens, etc. The integral thinking that landscape and architecture can contribute to where it isn’t technology-driven but human-centered can be transformative.