Mauricio Villa-Vasquez, Sow Design | Bureau Expert - Design Bureau

Mauricio Villa-Vasquez, Sow Design | Bureau Expert

Friday, November 9th, 2012

By Jenny Seyfried

Mauricio  Villa-Vasquez is busier than ever. The Colombian-born architect recently abandoned his career designing commercial spaces in the healthcare, aviation, and hospitality industries to follow his passion for thoughtful, more creative design. With this in mind, he founded Sow Design Studio with partners José Lobo and Igor Reyes. Here, he discuss the economy, egos, and entrepreneurial gambles.  

You work both locally and internationally. How are the projects different?
In South America, people are taught in modern language; South Florida, on the contrary, is very traditional. It’s very steeped in Mediterranean Revival and developers are hesitant to change. 

How did your education and time spent in Colombia influence your aesthetic? 
In Colombia and South America in general, people are taught in a very modern language. Everything is very current and people are very educated about contemporary architecture. In South America, they also use local labor, local materials—it’s very responsible. 

More so than the States?
Well, in South America, the economy doesn’t allow you to use endless fashionable new materials. So in a way, my education was always very clear about the fact that things need to be contemporary but also utilize materials that are local in context.  

You previously designed spaces for the healthcare and hospitality industries—how different is the work you are doing now? 
When you design a hospital, the most important thing is the efficiency with which doctors and nurses can get to their patients. It was about how the emergency room and surgical areas worked—not at all about the individual rooms. For hotels, it was the exact opposite. If the rooms were not impressive, the hotel would die. Now, we are able to brainstorm. 

Tagged with: