The cre­ative tal­ent be­hind many of the world’s most envy-en­duc­ing build­ings, Stu­dio KO is a firm syn­ony­mous with in­ter­na­tional glam­our

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Global Design - Words TOM DELAVAN AND JULIEN GUIEU Pho­tog­ra­phy DAN GLASSER

Olivier Marty and Karl Fournier, the duo be­hind the Paris-based ar­chi­tec­ture firm Stu­dio KO, have ac­com­plished much in their twenty-year part­ner­ship, which be­gan when they met as stu­dents in 1996. Their projects are grounded in hu­mil­ity, col­lab­o­ra­tion and def­er­ence – to con­text, to his­tory and to their clients. ‘Carte blanche is the death of ev­ery­thing,’ de­clares Marty, dis­miss­ing the pop­u­lar idea that the best work comes from an ag­gres­sively sin­gu­lar vi­sion, un­chal­lenged by cir­cum­stance. ‘ We like to think about the best so­lu­tion to the prob­lem, and not im­pose our own lan­guage.’

Such an ap­proach means Stu­dio KO in­ten­tion­ally avoids a sig­na­ture look. ‘ We wish for there to be no KO style, but a KO at­ti­tude,’ says Fournier. In­deed, rather than see­ing the pre­cise re­quire­ments of a client as an im­ped­i­ment, they see them as es­sen­tial to their work. One can scarcely be­lieve that the same firm is be­hind the Villa E in Morocco (over­leaf), a mono­lithic and qui­etly pow­er­ful build­ing, and the Ed­war­dian-style Chiltern Fire­house ho­tel in Lon­don. There is mod­esty even in the cul­tur­ally rooted ma­te­ri­als that Stu­dio KO favours: stone, dry earth, rough-hewn beams. ‘ We don’t like sleek,’ says Marty. ‘ We pre­fer things that show they’ve been crafted by some­one’s hands.’ Here, we look at some of the duo’s most ex­cit­ing builds, fea­tured in re­cent book Stu­dio KO (£55, Riz­zoli). stu­dioko. fr

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