Brothers Chris and Dominic Leong work together in an office on the Bowery, in New York City. I show up for an interview on a sunny October afternoon, and the atmosphere is bustling with music and the chatter of the artists they collaborate with, busy at work alongside us. CI : Tell us about your firm and how it started. D: We launched our practice in 2009 in New York right in the middle of the economic downturn. We figured if we could sustain our practice now we could be productive and resourceful under any circumstances. In the past two years we’ve completed projects in Seoul, Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles, and Napa Valley, California. It’s already a very global practice. Fundamentally, we are interested in challenging existing typologies whether they are public or private. People often make the assumption that our practice is driven by materiality. But we are more interested in how material innovation works in service of an over-arching programmatic agenda or experience. CI : Do you have a particular vision or manifesto that you always strive to incorporate into your work? D: Yes, we believe every project should have an agenda. This is much different than having a manifesto for architecture as a whole. Our understanding of the global context is complex and always changing. This means that our “agenda” emerges from our design process with a degree of curiosity and commitment that allows us to uncover the most relevant issues for an individual project, context ,or client. So you could say that our manifesto is our process and our agenda for each project is a result of this process. C: One of our goals is to apply architectural thinking to other arenas beyond the practice of architecture. As architects, we are constantly acquiring knowledge from other fields and learning how to engage with other experts. This is part of the collaborative nature inherent to the practice of architecture. In a sense we are ‘hunter gatherers’ of knowledge - which partly driven by a need to survive in a rapidly changing contexts and partly driven by a genuine curiosity for the world. We try to use this attitude to expand our own practice by inventing our own projects. For example - we launched a publication called White Zinfandel with the W/ Project Space as a platform to collaborate with the artists and creative individuals outside of our discipline.
2 1 + 2. Turning Pink axonometries 3. Turning Pink - interior with people