Rencontre avec : BIG

On the occasion of the presentation of his biopic to the press, Muuuz's editors met the young prodigy Bjarke Ingels on his lands in Copenhagen, Denmark, in the impressive premises of his agency, BIG, which now counts more than 450 employees from the Danish capital, New York and London. A no-fault route for those who, at the base, did not even want to be an architect but a cartoonist.

Muuuz: You just arrived from the airport. What does it make you know that one of the first things people see from Copenhagen from the air is your building 8-Century ?
Bjarke Ingels : It's a nice way to be welcomed! Depending on the direction in which you arrive, you may also soon see a ski run on the roof of the Amager Resource Center, a future waste treatment plant in Copenhagen [located a stone's throw from the Opera House, it will be the tallest building in the capital, ed.]. It's funny to say that on one side there will be the Queen's Palace, and opposite a ski run!


How did the idea of ​​a biopic come to you?
The story begins with 2009. The director of the film, Kaspar Astrup, turned at the time My playground, in which he followed the freerunners of Parkour, who used as a playground The Mountain, the residential building we designed with Julien de Smedt. It was 7 years ago! At the same time, I wondered how the neophytes could be interested in architecture, because it is rare to catch their attention on the subject, or when it works it is because they find a lousy building! For that, I thought that we had to approach the film as a fiction, not a documentary.

This was the starting point of the 7 years of filming of BIG TIME. What does it take to be followed so long by a director?
Kaspar became a friend. So, being followed by him has nothing to do with being by an unknown team. And it was not all the time there. For example, when I moved to the United States, there was only me and one of my associates, who is also a friend. Now there are 200 people! BIG TIME does not show everything that has happened in the meantime, it feels like we just took a plane and it was all done easily ...


Did you ask to make cuts in the film?
We made some adjustments to focus more on the context. When I saw the final montage, I was surprised to see that it was also a love story. At the end of the film, "Bjarke found love" !


In your opinion, the film talks about you as a man or as an architect? Who of BIG or Bjarke ...
I would say it's above all a story about me, as a person. It would be a success for me to know that the audience has felt emotion, sympathy or empathy for the main character that I incarnate, while taking an interest in architecture and its impact on everyday life. In the movie Storytelling, by Todd Solondz, a teacher of writing "No matter what happened, as soon as you start writing, everything becomes a fiction". In this sense, what happens in BIG TIME in spite of me, it is ultimately a fiction. Building also appeals to this narrative aspect because you can imagine what you want, but the outcome can be completely different.

Has your parents' house seen in the film, of modern style, influenced your work?
I have a theory: I think the little ones are much more modern than the big ones. In the James Bond movies I watched, the villain still lived in a house with a terrace, geometric lines and glazing everywhere, I thought it was really cool! Then at school, I learned to love something else.

On this subject, why do not you draw houses?
I think it's a lot of work to design private homes. A set of four dwellings was built in northern Denmark. Each of them is different, like a portrait of the people who will reside there. The more they have an unusual way of life, the more exciting it is! Before we started, we made sure that the owners wanted to do something extraordinary. Because for a project like this you are spending so much energy! For it to be relevant, it is like a film: the film to which it is destined must be emotionally invested.


What does it do to you, only 40 years, to have been chosen to build on a site like Ground Zero?
It is an incredible honor. It feels like the actor of his own film ...
I remember very well the day the towers were destroyed. At the time I had just set up my first agency, PLOT, with Julien de Smedt. We were in the process of painting our first premises. Our trainee warned us. We were glued. This was stunned, and there the second turn was touched. We then realize that everything can one day disappear. All this seemed unlikely; having been chosen, 15 years later, to build one of the towers of this site is even more. I learned that while I had just set up a New York office. It is as if the loop was closed, as when one realizes at the end of a cinema session the importance of first scene ...

After such a career, are there any projects for which you would be willing to kill?
Committing a Murder ?! Oh no, I would never go that far!

BIG TIME, Kaspar Astrup, Denmark, 2017, 93 minutes; an article to discover on Muuuz

To learn more, visit The site of BIG

1) © Steve Benisty
2) Amager Resource Center © Julien Lanoo
3) The Mountain, PLOT = BIG + JDS © Iwan Baan
4-6) BIG TIME, Kaspar Astrup, Denmark, 2017, 93 minutes
7) © Jonas Bie
8) © KT Auleta
9) 8-Century © Dragor Aerial view
10-12) 8-Century © Jens Lindhe
13 ) Amager Resource Center © Julien Lanoo
14-17) Amager Resource Center © BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group & MIR
18-19) Superkilen © Iwan Baan
20 ) Serpentine Pavilion 2016

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