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su11 architecture + design


Designers: Ferda Kolatan, Erich Schoenenberger

New York-based su11 architecture + design, founded in 1999 by Ferda Kolatan and Erich Schoenenberger, was a YAP finalist in 2008 for their project Chromazon, a multi-faceted installation inspired by the rhythms and colors in nature.

Q&A with su11 architecture + design

MoMA PS1: How did you position yourself to get nominated?
Ferda Kolatan, su11 architecture + design: We were always interested in challenging conventional notions of design particularly through a convergence of digital technique, materiality, and novel forms of fabrication and assembly. For the past few years we have been experimenting with pluripotent structures, which have the ability to express different design potentialities while maintaining their overall organizational principles intact. Many of our projects engage this topic on different scales ranging from buildings to installations and objects. To us these methods open up new avenues to explore design effects, which are unprecedented in their atmospheric, material, and programmatic qualities but also reflect on larger tendencies in current design culture. This approach fits well with many of the ambitions YAP has put forward in their own design philosophy.

MoMA PS1: Did YAP change anything for you or your firm? When did you recognize the full potential of the competition?
su11 architecture + design: Becoming a finalist for YAP certainly increased our profile. Being associated with such acclaimed institutions as MoMA and MoMA PS1 is both rewarding and inspiring for a young architecture firm. Since the competition we have been approached to participate in a number of local competitions, whose organizers noticed Chromazon. In addition, having been chosen as a finalist added to our confidence that our way of thinking and producing design is relevant to contemporary culture.

MoMA PS1: How was your design shaped by the history of YAP?
su11 architecture + design:We were very familiar with YAP from its beginning since we had just started our practice in New York in 1999. Many of the winners and finalists throughout the years have been our colleagues and friends with whom we meet and exchange regularly. YAP has generated a culture for young experimental practices that reaches far beyond the actual competition and installation. When we were nominated to participate in the competition, we had a keen awareness of YAP’s history both in terms of the successful entries as well as the overarching dialog it had created. Given our own approach to design, we always felt a strong affinity to the site, theme, and experimental nature of YAP.