Tim Poell, Project Director and Architect, Gensler, shares his inspiration and how it has helped to shape and influence the way he works today.
“As an architect, the one constant inspiration throughout my career has been materiality. As a form of communication, it is one of the most fundamental and powerful building blocks of architecture and design. I am equally fascinated by the provenance and journey of materials as well as form and function. From the rawness of cast metals and stone to the surface possibilities of timber and concrete and leather. Materialism gives an extra tactile dimension to the buildings and objects we shape, sculpt and mould.
“My curiosity has instinctively veered toward natural and handmade materials. With these types of materials comes the charm of imperfection, transience and distinction. I’m inspired by the simplicity and humility of these materials and their capacity to enable us to be more attuned with nature.
“The works of modernists such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Pierre Chareau, Marcel Breuer, Poul Kjaerholm, and more recently, Richard Serra, have all had a significant impact on me. They understood the role and importance that materials played in design, along with proportion, spatial relationships and the dialogue that is created between materials. Even though there was a strong push towards machine-made and technology, they all understood the power, and art in, the role of the ‘hand’ in crafting their masterpieces.
“Similarly, I have tried to find and articulate, through my own work and projects, the beauty in materiality and imperfection, whilst promoting the asymmetry of nature and natural materials and its roughness, simplicity, austerity and modesty.
“I feel strongly about history, so buying new materials that have been pre-distressed by hand or creating ‘fake’ defects doesn’t fill the purpose in my opinion. The attrition needs to come with actual age and the influence of time. The presence of irregularity, cracks or tarnishing, I consider to be symbolic of the passing of time, weather, and loving use – and this should be embraced. I’m a purveyor of imperfection and firmly believe that you must revere the rough edges that time leaves.”