Bonell+Dòriga
In search of a greater autonomy
Barcelona, ES

Laura Bonell and Daniel López-Dòriga started Bonell+Dòriga in Barcelona in 2014. As with many other offices of their city, their professional practice started with interior renovations and architecture competitions. They are currently working in three private projects in Barcelona, the research project "A Series of Rooms", and a large-scale project in the city of Ingolstadt (Germany), the result of a First Prize obtained in a public competition in 2017. In 2019 they received the Début Award from the Lisbon Triennale.

 

From working part-time to starting an office

We met in university, ETSA Barcelona, where we finished our studies in 2013, in the middle of a very difficult economic situation in Spain. We decided quite early to establish our own studio. For the first 3-4 years we worked part time in other offices, and worked on competitions and a few small private commissions whenever we could.

 

Losing in diverse ways

It is worth mentioning the story of three lost competitions: In one of them, our panels got stuck in customs because, unbeknownst to us, the courier company had filed them under the label "Work of Art". The police in the border stored the package to inspect it and it didn't get to its destination on time. Another one was never awarded because Facebook changed their algorithm to decrease the importance of news, and the organizer, a media company very famous on FB, could no longer afford new and flashy headquarters. And yet another one was awarded to a rather famous actor as the "leader" of an architects' team. Would we have won these competitions otherwise? Probably not, but still.

 

Managing physical and digital spaces

We are a very small office of 3-4 people. We work in a few rooms of a flat in central Barcelona. We all work together, and move to another room if we need to have phone calls and meetings. We enjoy working in a variety of mediums, both analogue and digital, and we do most everything ourselves, including models, renderings, drawings, photographs of our finished projects. Everything that is digital is obviously stored in the computers, but the models take a lot of physical space and end up having a big presence in the studio, with parts and pieces everywhere.

 

In search of a greater autonomy

We both grew up surrounded by architects, so we did not enter the profession having a romanticised view of what architecture is. However, it has surprised us how much we struggle to find a balance between the process of thinking a project and the increasing everyday demands of everything that surrounds it: permits, emails, budgets, meetings... At the same time, there are so many people involved that end up influencing the outcome of any project, regardless of its scale. This is one of the reasons why we started A Series of Rooms, the theoretical project in which we research the concept of the domestic space. It is something that we do by ourselves and for ourselves. It is refreshing not having to give explanations to anybody, not having to comply with building regulations, not having to depend on the work or mood of other people. The result, for better or worse, is all ours. 

Our goal is to write fewer emails, make fewer phone calls, have fewer meetings and think more.

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Photography Courtesy of Bonell+Dòriga






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