Lluís Alexandre Casanovas Blanco
Practice as research
Barcelona, ES; New York, US

Lluís Alexandre Casanovas Blanco (Barcelona, 1985) is a New York and Barcelona based architect, curator, and scholar. He was the chief curator of the Oslo Architecture Triennale 2016 together with the After Belonging Agency. He currently tackles important topics through a strong research-based practice while also maintaining contact with regular commissions.

 

From the Triennale to building a research-based practice

I would say that I started to think about building my independent practice at the end of 2016, when the Oslo Architecture Triennale 2016 that I curated together with ABA finally closed. After three years of intense dedication to this event in combination with the initial stages of my PhD at Princeton University, I had some time to reflect on the kind of work I wanted to do. These two experiences significantly added to my previous design experience. It was then that I decided to build a research-based practice combining all these components.   

 

Art and education

Most of my research projects are self-funded, which requires a bit of a financial organisation. Each research requires one to engage with specific individuals and organizations, which can unexpectedly become commissioners. This was the case of my work with Gabo Camnitzer. Working with Gabo introduced me to a whole new community of artists preoccupied with pedagogy. This is how I got to meet artist and educator Jordi Ferreiro, who then, given my familiarity with some of the discussions around the topic, asked me to design an educational pop-up space for La Capella gallery in Barcelona. 

 

Working and researching simultaneously

I am currently pursuing a PhD at Princeton University, where I am also an instructor, while at the same time in the early stages of building an independent practice. This entails a bit more of a workload, forcing me to put in extra-hours at night and on weekends. As I normally need to travel back and forth from New York to Spain during the year, I always try to block out a few days on my trips to meet friends and relatives.

 

Embracing the precariousness of portable workspaces

As many of my colleagues, my studio space is currently my laptop. There is nothing romantic about this lack of fixed space–it is a very precarious condition. My collaborators are based in Madrid and Barcelona, where most of my commissions are at this point. I have held desks in communal spaces such as the Whitney Independent Study Program studios in New York. Due to the changing nature of each commission, I collaborate with different people on every project. This makes the idea of a fixed studio structure impossible, albeit I normally work with one or two collaborators. 

 

Changing expectations with changing environments

My expectations have varied considerably throughout my career. Not even when I graduated in 2011, I aimed to have a purely based design practice. Within the context of Spain, research-based practices were still very rare. That is why I decided to explore different contexts and meet different profiles. It was only after all this process that I was able to understand the sort of work I wanted to do first, and then that I was able to put together the means to pursue it.  

 

Achieving a sustainable balance

As every single individual in the world at this precise point in time, to talk about my/ the future is uncertain, as no one can venture to think about what our post-COVID19 reality will be. I graduated from ETSABarcelona in 2011, amidst a harsh financial crisis in Spain, which required the architecture field to reflect on possible modes of practice in scenarios of crisis. Whatever the new scenario is, my ultimate goal will probably be to achieve a sustainable balance between for-profit commissions and self-initiated or commissioned research projects. 

Pol Rebaque Casanovas Blanco 02 Lluis Alexandre Casanovas Blanco

Photography Pol Rebaque

AFTER BELONGING OR 04 Lluis Alexandre Casanovas Blanco

Photography Courtesy of Lluís Alexandre Casanovas Blanco

Gustavo Murillo CamnitzerCasanovas ABDS 01 Lluis Alexandre Casanovas Blanco

Photography Gustavo Murillo

JOSE HEVIA Casanovas Blanco REBH Interior 09 Lluis Alexandre Casanovas Blanco

Photography Jose Hevia

JOSE HEVIA Casanovas Blanco REBH Interior 04 Lluis Alexandre Casanovas Blanco

Photography Jose Hevia






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