October 1, 2020
Camiel Weijenberg, founder and director of WEIJENBERG, joined Annie Ivanova, international arts curator, and Tim Chou from Akuma Design at the Asia Design Platform Design Tour in Bangkok. Dedicated to promoting the global design exchange, the association aims to provide a platform for emerging designers in Asia.
Speaking about "Crafting the Traditional Through Design and Dialogue" Camiel challenged the audience to observe lateral dialogues designers apply to their work in order to create architecture that enhances the environment. As architects, designers and researchers who specialize in the application of urban design through cultural and contextual analysis, WEIJENBERG is uncompromising about this dialogue, imprinting its own distinctive brand on each of the firm's projects.
Conversations can occur between client and architect, and between the landscape and site. Dialogue can speak through the traditional materials used and how these materials are sculpted using local methods or the latest technology. Ultimately, all conversations chime together to tell one unifying story about a design.
Projects such as WEIJENBERG’s boutique resort in Sri Lanka explore the relationship between nature and architecture. Situated in the remotest reach of the Sri Lankan peninsula, the landscape, wind and sun’s direction as well as local construction methodologies were studied. This resulted in a curved-shaped building angled towards the bay so that the prevailing wind would create a passively cooled building as well as an orientation towards the bay’s views. A series of long lines organize the natural landscape, and by continuing these lines into the main building and carefully situated clusters of villas, there is an integral relationship between human space and the landscape.
The landscape itself provided inspiration for the choice of building materials. WEIJENBERG wanted to weave in man-made structures to appear as if it is a part of the peninsula. This resulted in the choice of rammed earth as the main building material, as the peninsula’s cliffs, boulders and soil show a beautiful red-brown hues.
The firm's design philosophy of ‘crafting the traditional, shaping the future’ for this particular site was one that embodies Sri Lankan tradition and is linked inextricably to nature. The result is a dialogue between the land and design that combines architectural appeal with functionality.