Interview with Davide Marco Ferrari

OMQ: At OMQ, we’re interested in what makes fascinating people tick. We think that certain individuals, especially though not exclusively creative people, illustrate their soul and spirit through their work. Do you think this is true of your work and if so, how?
DMF: I strongly believe in working as a way to express oneself. Work should be the possibility to make one’s passion useful for everybody. While I work I store, consciously or spontaneously, my energy, ideas, point of view, dogmas and even my moods in the project. Marks from very deep inside myself are all over the final results. Not all the work I do make those marks easy to read, though. The work of architecture for example is a choral process. More people collaborate in it directly and indirectly. The final product of this process may contain the heart, the soul, the spirit and the struggle of many different people. Painting and craftsmanship are more likely to transmit those personal imprints unfiltered.

OMQ: There is a fine line between important, educational influences and lack of individuality, veering from the path of internal vision. How do you walk the line?
DMF: Nevertheless architecture has to be humble. Professionals in architecture are assigned to “humbly” solve the everyday problems people have during their lives interfacing themselves with the space that surrounds them. To do that architects have to use all the knowledge, education, possible inspirations, other people’s work and the personal sensibility we have. Individuality may not even to be taken into active consideration, as it would be naturally introduced. Expressing yourself as an architect does not mean making decisions following personal taste or the will to leave a mark. The goal is to solve problems for people. It’s not about the ego. With architecture you make people’s lives better, and that’s the reward.

OMQ: Do you feel there is something bigger than you present in your work and when you are working?
DMF: How does it show then? God is in the details (says Mies van der Rohe). The attention you put into solving each problem and circumstance, in connecting the parts and matching idea with reality is what delivers the dedication of the individual through their work to generate an emotion in the person finally experiencing it. This emotion has no reason to be directly related with the specific detail: the creative process may be brought on through a methodical process of analysis, but people perceive the world through emotions. It’s like love at first sight. With that look you receive a great amount of information to be analysed, but the reaction is faster and it is an immediate emotion. In my personal experience, the creative process may sometimes work in the same way: facing a problem or a challenging situation you can “feel” the solution. That’s because your brain has been going through the process intuitively and then the right answer is the first one that comes to your mind.

OMQ: How would you explain the notion of artistic integrity?
DMF: Artistic integrity in my personal view means “not to do anything that is going to give me a stomach ache”. I get a stomach ache when I am forced by the client or by colleagues to skip steps in the process, when the simplicity and cleanness of the architectural solution get compromised by useless or meaningless influences and generally when a project is not understood by the clients.

OMQ: Do you think it’s difficult to remain true to yourself in the face of other’s opinions and advice?
DMF: I have great consideration for other people’s opinions and advice. Talking about my projects with other people always help me. Often their opinions help to corroborate my choices even if they are suggesting the opposite solution. Through dialogue I can evaluate the weak points of a project from more than a single point of view.

OMQ: Do you ever suffer from selfdoubt and if so, how do you combat it?
DMF: Insecurity is part of human nature. Selfdoubts (somebody may call it demons) are something that, as ghosts, will disappear at the first ray of light. I combat it with awareness. By being aware of my selfdoubt I generate a paradox that cancels it.

OMQ: What’s your greatest achievement?
DMF: I always look forward, trying to do better and better every day. That’s why my greatest achievement is always in my
last project and gives me the energy to look for my next challenge and move on.

OMQ: What is your favourite building and why?
DMF: I don’t have a single favourite building. I enjoy San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane (Francesco Borromini), as much as the VM Mountain (Bjarke Ingels) just to mention two very diverse projects. There is something to learn in any good architecture, a message to read. If the question refers to my favourite personal project instead, I will refer to the last interior design project I’ve done: I’ve been designing the interior of a “co-working” space in Milano, called StartMiUp ( ). I had the opportunity of going deep into details: one of the goals was to keep the space adaptable to events and to different working situations, so we decided to keep the entire floor completely free from any fixed elements. Cables are coming from the ceiling and the tables, as main elements in this system, are specially designed not just to solve the architectural issues, but also to express the values of the company. They are designed for four persons each, without any visual mark of the single person desk, to express the value of sharing working space and collaborating.

Davide Marco Ferrari, Architect
Davide Marco Ferrari, Architect