Alexander de Caires graduated in 2015 and has just featured in the London Festival of Architecture. Here is his story……
It’s been about six years since I left Brighton, but I think you can still see its influence in the Quick Getaway Bench for the London Festival of Architecture.
I completed my Bachelor in Architecture at the University of Brighton back in 2015. It was a period of real development for me, where I gained an interest in sustainability and the subtle detail that help to define our built environment. Since finishing the course these aspects, amongst others, have enabled me to develop a career in architectural design and construction; spanning from work with award winning studios to completing my MSc in Architecture at TU Delft.
Building on this, two years ago I founded my own design and construction studio, Ex Architectures. Through this company I create small scale projects and collaborate with other artists and designers. Ex Architectures is focused on making new and interesting forms and happenings that combine performance art, architecture and woodwork. A free flowing, open and interdisciplinary form of practice that was inspired by my time at Brighton.
As Ex Architectures is all about working with wood, I wanted to find out more about this material and investigate sources of wood for use in my
projects. This desire was heavily influenced by the ‘Cradle to Cradle’ design and manufacturing methodology, that I was introduced to during my time at the University of Brighton. For this reason I began a professional exchange called Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs. I travelled to Galicia, Northern Spain, collaborating with studio Flu-or Arquitectura and investigating the local wood industry. And it is through this collaboration that I was part of the team that won two design and build competitions. The first was an installation for the Valle Inclan Theatre in Madrid and the second, more recent, Quick Getaway project for the Pews and Perches competition.
Quick Getaway is a bench installation, featured as part of the London Festival of Architecture. This year’s edition of the festival followed the theme of ‘Care’, with this bench referencing travel as a form of care, as part of its design. Unfortunately, many of us have been deprived of this throughout the pandemic. Which is something that has been particularly hard for those in dense urbanized cities such as London. The Quick Getaway bench creates a holiday inspired oasis in the heart of the city, with subtle details providing a rest bite and triggering memories. Designed and Built by Ex Architectures, in collaboration with Flu-or Arquitectura. The wood used for the bench is thermally treated Galician pine and was supplied by Finsa UK. While the protecting oil was supplied by Rubio Monocoat.
This project has helped me get some important experience and exposure in the architectural design sector. It has also been an opportunity to demonstrate the benefits that come from international exchange and collaboration. I hope this design and the project as a whole can inspire people to challenge themselves with new opportunities and work together to make things happen.
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