In Conversation with Alexander Buckeridge on Miami

NO

Thank you for sitting down with me today, Alexander. I’ve appreciated our friendship and being part of your creative process. Perhaps we might start at the beginning. We’d love to learn a little bit about you growing up in Ireland. What was your family like? What were the early experiences that led you to become an architect?  

AB

Thanks, Noah! It’s great to be here with you. Growing up in Ireland was quite the experience, one filled with lots of laughs and love in my close-knit family. With three brothers and one sister, our home was always bursting with activity.

Our home is in the countryside and continues to be a house of creativity and chaos. My childhood bedroom wasn’t just a place to sleep; it also served as my dad’s architectural office. Surrounded by his blueprints, mechanical pencils and measuring tapes, it was inevitable that I would be drawn to the world of design from a young age. 

Both parents were a huge influence on me. Dad’s work dabbling in architecture and Mum’s love for music and nature instilled in me a deep appreciation for the arts and the beauty of the world around us.

In school, I immersed myself in Ireland’s artistic heritage and landscapes. From the mysterious allure of prehistoric monuments like Newgrange to the beauty of The Sky Garden by James Turrell, each place left me in awe. These experiences ignited my imagination, prompting me to envision places that could evoke emotions and blend with the natural world. Please look them up! 

NO

When and why did you make a switch from architecture to interior design?

AB

My journey from architecture to interior design was more of a natural progression than a sudden shift. Over time, I’ve found myself navigating seamlessly between these two disciplines, recognizing their shared principles. Whether crafting the exterior of a structure when working at Ateliers Jean Nouvel or curating the interior ambience at Snarkitecture, I’ve always approached each project with a meticulous eye for detail and a deep commitment to storytelling.

NO

How would you describe your design style?

AB

My design style is an ongoing journey, always evolving with each experience.
At the core of my design process is a focus on the human experience of space. I believe in using proportion, light, form, materials, tones, and textures to craft environments where people can move, rest, connect, dream, and create. My designs are tailored to environmental and cultural specifics, aiming to foster connections and evoke a sense of wonder! 

Inspiration for my designs can come from anywhere – from the backs of newspapers to late-night conversations in dive bars or walks in nature or urban cities. This fuels my mission to create meaningful environments for people to inhabit, both experientially and aesthetically, blending ecological consciousness with atmospheric charm.

NO

What are some of your favourite design elements and materials, and why?

AB

Light is the secret ingredient that brings my designs to life. Whether it’s the gentle glow of sunlight streaming through a skylight or the carefully placed spotlights illuminating a room, light has this remarkable ability to transform space. 

NO

What trends do you see in furniture design and do you like them?

AB

trends, I tend to gravitate towards pieces that embody groundbreaking design and solutions that transcend generations and time. For me, the mark of great design isn’t just about following fleeting trends — it’s about creating enduring masterpieces that will remain relevant for years to come.

I prioritize craftsmanship, quality, and timeless elegance over fads. Consider iconic examples such as the Gufram “Pratone” Lounge Chair or Pierre Jeanneret, Committee chair, or the timeless playfulness of Gae Aulenti, Table With Wheels. These groundbreaking designs have left an indelible mark on the world of furniture, shaping the way we perceive and interact with our living spaces.

NO

Let’s talk a bit about our Miami Studio collaboration. So, we first started talking about collaborating with Snarkitecture for what we then called a pavilion (or seating installation) in the fall of 2022. When were you first introduced to the project, and did you have any idea for where this journey would take us?

AB

The Miami Studio collaboration truly began to take shape for me in early 2023. I remember the moment vividly, sitting down with you and Vivek to dive into the project’s functional needs and brainstorm ideas for making it truly interactive and engaging. It was a fun time as we explored the endless possibilities of our collaboration. From that initial meeting, I could sense that this journey would be nothing short of extraordinary!

NO

I think my original ask of you was something like “create something that transports guests as soon as they enter the space. (And, oh, I’d like digital art to cover one wall, extend across the ceiling and drip down the other side, and it’s a seating installation, lol.)” I imagine grand (and maybe unrealistic and super vague) requests from clients are old hat for you. What was your initial reaction to the ask? How did that ask get translated into your creative language to make something marvelous out of it?

AB

The initial request to merge digital art with spatial design sparked an exciting journey of creativity for me. At Snarkitecture, we thrive on pushing boundaries and exploring the intersection between different disciplines, such as art and architecture. This ambitious ask presented a thrilling opportunity to innovate and create something truly remarkable.

To tackle this challenge, I immersed myself in our creative process, seeking inspiration from the natural beauty and distinctive geology of Miami — the ocean, water, and coastline. Drawing from these elements, I aimed to craft something tactile with a palpable physical presence. The unique characteristics of Miami’s environment heavily influenced the design language of the installation, dictating how it would seamlessly interact with the digital art.

NO

I’ve loved working with you and Ezequiel Pini, a key collaborator on the Miami Studio project. You are both inspirational artists and wonderful humans. How did your work with Ezequiel evolve and was this different from experiences you’ve had collaborating with other artists?

AB

Working with Ezequiel Pini on the Miami Studio project has been an absolute pleasure and a unique experience, unlike any other collaboration I’ve had before. From our first meeting in our Manhattan studio, there was an immediate connection. Ezequiel’s genuine and dedicated approach to his craft was incredibly inspiring, and I found myself drawn to his diverse portfolio of work.

What truly set our collaboration apart was the seamless synergy between our artistic visions. Ezequiel brought a wealth of inspiration from his travels and life experiences, sparking dynamic conversations and injecting new energy into our creative process. Together, we shared a mutual passion for pushing boundaries and exploring the surreal aspects of nature.

As we brainstormed ideas, it was clear that our collaboration was going to be something special. With pencil in hand, I sketched freely, reacting to Ezequiel’s feedback in real time. It was a playful exchange of ideas, each suggestion opening up new avenues of exploration and leading us down unexpected paths until our vision began to take shape.

Working alongside Ezequiel has been an enriching experience, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with such a talented and visionary artist.