The architect as designer
Hadi Teherani on individuality, style and the threshold

Industrial and interior design have served not only as a source of inspiration to architects since the beginning of the modern age, but also as a theatre of action in which they have been able to consistently pursue and further develop their architectural ideas. Against this backdrop, it comes as no surprise that Hadi Teherani as one of Germany's most successful architects (BRT) has extended his creative scope to include product and interior design.
Mr Teherani, given the significance of design for the architectural history of the modern age, what role do you think design plays in contemporary architecture?

"It is not enough for me to simply define a building and its rooms. I want to influence the architectural ambience, the emotional ties that people feel with their environment. But I can only do this if I offer more than simply the outer contours of the room. By fitting and furnishing the rooms, I aim to pursue my architectural concept right through to the last detail. If I want to create a perfect room atmosphere, then I also need to concern myself with the floor covering, the furniture, right down to things like tea sets or vases. To this extent, the link between architecture and design is a consistent one. The Bauhaus movement embraced this as the only way to make the home, the workplace etc. into a complete work of art. And for contemporary forms of architectural language too, this is the only convincing approach when it comes to achieving the most cohesive outcome in terms of both design and ambience."

What is the design approach expressed in the building you created for your own design department complete with furnishings and equipment?

"What we have in the HafenCity building, whose bottom floor houses our design company, is primarily a residential complex along the lines of our home4 typology. What this means in essence is that we pursue the concept of the single family home on one storey. Living in the city centre, but with all the benefits of a house with a reduced garden or terrace area. This means that our workshop for design is located right at the heart of the action, in the centre of the driving machine of a highly stimulating urban situation on the edge of the water. The link with architecture for living and working, and with the city as a whole is a very present and vivid one. For me, this was the most important aspect of this location - the level proximity to the whole mix of issues concerning urbanity and day-to-day living. At the same time, the furnishings, fittings and the breakdown of different areas in our studio themselves reflect and implement the circumstances of the architecture".

The facade of your new company headquarters clearly illustrates how design and architecture can form a single cohesive unit. The building is structured by striking white bands which contrast with the black bands of the window casements, together underpinning the graphic impact of the facade. At the entrance, there is a Siedle Video intercom recessed flush and with the same surface effect as the window casements, which blends perfectly into the architectural language. Which characteristics does a design product require to make it blend with your architecture?

"Whether deliberately or not, architecture embodies a specific appreciation of space. If an integral and cohesive whole is what is required because this is what makes people feel emotionally safe, then a collision between architecture and design has to be avoided. So uniting the two working levels in one the same person seems the obvious thing to do. However, this will only work of the architectural design embraces the emotional and atmospheric dimension of the intended later application right from the beginning. There is undoubtedly some way to go before this emphatic concept of architecture which revolves entirely around the human element is something we take for granted."

The threshold and entrance are what form the first impression visitors and customers have of your company. As a designer and architect, why did you opt for an existing product instead of designing a creation of your own?

"The decision to develop a product internally arises out of necessity where the market has nothing suitable to offer for the specific architectural concept. Whether we are talking about technical or aesthetic properties. In this case, I was very pleased to be spared the need to develop my own product. Because a lot goes in to fitting so much technology into such compact dimensions while maintaining a matter-of-fact, minimal look. There are far too many more pressing tasks which I need to turn my attention to in the design.There is little point in adding to the work load where the perfect product for the job already exists."

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