miogui architecture
Le Havre, FR

miogui architecture is an architecture practice founded by Sabine Fremiot and Léo Berastegui in 2019. Working on all sizes of projects, miogui is enthusiastic about new challenges and collaborations. The studio’s reflection is guided by rationality, and by the truth about structure and materials. Geometry and color are at the heart of their concerns to bring joy and fun into the spaces. The office is based in Le Havre, in Perret’s historical center, but practices everywhere.

A simple contraction

We met each other at the architecture school of ENSAVT Paris-Est, where we were in the same Master's program directed by Eric Lapierre. We also went to work in Japan and in Vietnam, where we experienced working together and thereby our passion for traveling and visiting architecture grew. After school, while working in Parisian offices, we took on some small projects for private clients in our free time. We enjoyed the freedom it offered us: the liberty to develop our own projects and concepts, the direct relationship with the client, the confrontations at the construction site. So eventually, we never stopped, and we developed more of these projects for us. At a certain point, we needed to unify our work and created the name "miogui," a contraction of our two surnames and a nod to Japan, and subsequently developed a clear methodology of drawings, administrative tasks, and communication.


A space with a surprise

As we often work in small spaces, we develop tools to make the space feel bigger. One of them is the use of mirrors. We like the way it can transform the perception of a space and extend it. When we showed our Gambetta project to some friends, one of them hit the mirror trying to pass into the next room, but there was no next room; it was just the reflection of the space. It's funny how such a huge element, even one that was difficult to bring in, can finally disappear. We like the idea of altering the functional purpose of technical objects by using geometry and abstraction. For us, a space must be full of surprises, forms, colors, and funny details.


A challenging but rich experience

We have already experienced various working routines. While living and working in Paris, it was quite easy because everything was very close to each other. You can easily jump from an office work to a construction site visit, eat with a friend, and finish the day with a client's call for example. But we wanted to experience more than that and challenge ourselves. So, in 2020, just after the first lockdown, we left for a European road trip in a van we just bought. The plan was to visit many architecture projects that we had gathered on a map for many years, meet their owners, and confront the beautiful pictures of these projects with reality. We also wanted to discover vernacular buildings, built without architects. This was our guideline, leading us to remote places, beautiful landscapes, and great people. During the trip we also had to follow remotely two construction sites, and develop a new project from scratch. When we were back in France, we moved to Le Havre and continued a bit in the same way of life and work, enjoying the condition of living by the sea in the beautiful Perret atmosphere and mainly working in Paris, where our network is based.


A desire for the craft

Our studio space is varied. As we don't yet have our own office, our workplace is everywhere there is a table: at home, at the café, at the construction site with the clients and the workers, in the bus from Le Havre to Paris, or in our van somewhere lost in the countryside. That's both a constraint and a freedom at the same time. For example, it can take time to be on the construction site, but during this time you can think of a better solution. Most of the time we end up working late as office space and private space sometimes merge into one another, but we allow ourselves more freedom if you want to visit something or have a walk by the sea. What's sure is that we work with passion, and that's what keeps us alive.


A particular pleasure in the details

When we were younger, we imagined ourselves working in offices and then maybe having our own firm, but the reality is much less linear. We didn't expect to have to work on our studio so quickly, as well as all the other work besides the essence of architecture, the project, that we must deal with. There are a lot of administrative tasks and paperwork that take a lot of time. In the architecture routine, there are also many things that we learn in the field, like how to calculate our fees, how to deal with clients, how to find a construction company, etc. We learn that thanks to friends and by making mistakes. But there are also unexpected great things, like the relationship of trust with the client, the fact that we're contributing to changing their daily lives, the relationship with the workers on the construction site, where we learn a lot, the happiness of seeing the drawing become a reality, and the many interesting discussions with colleagues. Finally, it's a more challenging life than we expected, but one that's less boring and full of changes, surprises, and learning. Thanks to this work, converted to passion, we see the world with completely different eyes, and that's the best learning of all we could have wished for.


Steps ahead

The next challenge for the studio is to settle in a new location to improve our working conditions and be able to receive clients. We also would like to build a house from scratch, for example, or attempt small public competitions, but as Frank Lloyd Wright said, "My favorite project? It's the next one," so we'll enjoy every good opportunity that will come to us. We will also keep exchanging with all our colleagues because we learn a lot from the experiences of others.

MIOGUI portraits 1 Berastegui Fremiot 2

14 In front of Office KGDVS Dry hall Nort Louvain Belgium Berastegui Fremiot 2 v2

miogui 007 gambetta photo 5 Berastegui Fremiot

miogui 010 stendhal photo 2 Berastegui Fremiot

miogui 011 beaumarchais photo 12 Berastegui Fremiot

miogui 014 ridel photo 1 Berastegui Fremiot

miogui 014 ridel photo 13 Berastegui Fremiot

miogui 016 tilleuls chantier Berastegui Fremiot 2 2

Photos by Philippe Billard


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