Six quick ones with Wiel Arets

Architect Wiel Arets

Six quick ones with Wiel Arets

Wiel Arets has created striking landmarks throughout the world such as the Allianz Headquarters in Zürich (CH) or Regiocentrale Zuid in Maasbracht (NL), but also the adorable townhouse A’ House in Tokyo (JP) as well as cutlery for Italian Alessi. 

In the preface of his latest monograph for C3 Wiel Arets defines his works on challenges that he sets before himself, and currently, ‘Nature is Nature’ is the driving force and theme behind his thoughts, it provides insight in the production of his offices works, buildings and industrial design products.

Fantastic Frank: Dear Wiel, thanks for giving us the opportunity to ask you our beloved six quick ones. It’s an honor to (digitally) meet you. First of all, please define your style of work!

Wiel Arets: Each project has a title and a text and they’re both inextricably linked. A product, a building, a book, an exhibition; these all have one thing in common, and that is the leaning toward ‘making’, taking into account, where relevant, the possibilities that the current era offers us. The narrative is my key structure. 

FF: Your dream property to build? Or maybe you already did?

Wiel: When I built the A’ House in Nishi Azabu in Tokyo, a metropolis with more than 30 million people, where one lives in neighbourhoods like small villages, where everyone has great respect for one another I felt that this was a great challenge, the ultimate dream.

FF: What does your home look like?

Wiel: Since my office is my home and vice versa, and I believe that every day should feel like holiday, and I live in different cities; you can imagine that I need books, art, furniture and especially a bathroom and kitchen in which one can enjoy, relax, listen to music or play the piano. For me the house is an example for all other projects; when you look at the UBU Library, the Allianz Headquarters, the Blumenhaus …they all are designed by us to live your life, to feel at home.

FF: Your favourite building in Europe?

Wiel: The Villa Malaparte at Capri, that I lived in for 10 days during October 1987; two weeks after the Chinese Republic gave it back to Curzio Malaparte’s family. It is a house built on a stormy cliff, like Malaparte said: I designed the environment, so ‘Casa come Me’ was his devise.

FF: Your current tip for a nice activity in Amsterdam and Munich (as a lot is closed right now)?

Wiel: I can mention tips for the cities I live and work in: Amsterdam a boat trip on the canals with a stop for a jenever with a herring, in Maastricht Castle Neercanne for a drink in the cave and having dinner after your visit to the Hedge House in Wijlre, in Munich the English Garden for a walk twice every day, Tokyo by bike, in Zürich swimming in the Limmat and an espresso at Bar La Stanza, in Chicago jogging at Lake Shore, in Berlin Sale e Tabacchi for great food but also since it is nearby Gallery Schulte. (editorial note: pls check what’s open right now!)

FF: Your one piece of furniture you take with you on every move

Wiel: I like the work of Cesare Cattaneo and Giuseppe Terragni both, their work is located in Como and Milano; they were partisans and died when they were 36 years old, architects with a strong message. Terragni’s chair … is my companion, it is for me they ultimate chair to read and relax and to drink a glass of wine with a friend.

FF: Thanks a lot for your precious time and we are looking forward to a project in Berlin soon!

 Jellyfish House in Marbella, Spain
Interior Jellyfish House in Marbella, SpainA House in TokyoInterior A House, Tokyo, Japan

Photography by:

Jan Bitter

Ineke Oostveen