“I am fascinated by capturing emotions in drawings, abstracting them into lines and transforming them into villas. To create a space where people can experience the feeling of happiness as I experience it."He studied at the world-famous Zaha Hadid, worked on major projects around the world, and we could easily call him an artist who “builds” his paintings.
The timeless architect Jan Revaj builds his villas based on his paintings. Through his paintings he captures the emotions and he transmits these emotion to his buildings and concepts.
When we argued over the conversation by phone, you explicitly insisted on a personal meeting. Later, you admitted that if you were to make a phone call, you wouldn't be interviewing. What did you mean by that? (smile)
There are things you can't catch on the phone. These are the energies that arise between people when they meet. Often, when you call someone, you "disturb" them in the activity they are doing.
In order to speak to you, he has to interrupt her and part of her energy is being transferred to you. It can easily happen that the call ends up too quickly with an unwanted result, because the energy is not always on the same wave at that moment. Well, when two people meet in person, they create their own space and resonance.
When designing houses, you draw on drawings and paintings that you have created yourself before. This is quite unusual for an architect. Why did you choose such a procedure?
I have always been fascinated how paintings and drawings can capture emotions. Using colors or just the thickness of the line can change this emotion. The artist is like a wizard who has the power to create such a miracle, and that's what I move into space.
I draw people. Interpersonal relationships. Man is still a mysterious, unexplored creature with incredible possibilities and potential. I believe in people. I try to capture those emotions that arise. Each has its own beauty. Are we able to put this emotion into shape? Does the present time need new forms, shapes, lines, or is it an experience? With each of these drawings or paintings, I wonder how this could be expressed in space.
In one of the internet discussions, someone commented on your work with words - Jan Revaj is probably a fan of Zaha Hadid. You even studied with her. What did you think when you first saw her work?
I went to Zaha Hadid mainly because of her paintings. At that time I drew a lot with Igor Rumanský, an excellent artist and a man. I was interested in the overlap from painting to space. Zaha Hadid has done a lot for this world to be more beautiful. I want to continue with that.
How do you remember your studies? What did Zaha Hadid give you?
Um, probably the atmosphere in the studio gave me the most. I finally met on one kick of people who wanted to make architecture 100 percent. People who like challenges, developments and are curious and want to take this world forward. I appreciate this feeling the most.
Why did you decide to return to Slovakia after years and how are you doing here?
"Baťa inspired me." I thought people are walking „barefoot here“, so I will dress them. I'll give them space with emotion. But over time, I realized that it was about Maslow and his pyramid of human values, rather than Baťa. At the top is self-realization and there are my clients. In Slovakia, however, there is still early capitalism, that is, the effort to earn as much as possible for itself and material values are much stronger than the inner ones. As they say, whom you should meet, you will meet, and so I meet along my way people who understand my language of art, space and emotion. I do things like I feel natural. I put my energy into it and that makes me happy. What more can I wish for?
Do Slovaks have the courage to use the compositions and shapes you propose?
It's not just courage, but the realization that life is very short and we have a unique opportunity to create something incredible. In this case, it is the space that will fill us.
You probably need a great deal of spatial imagination for the architecture you create. And apparently a piece of anarchy and courage to "break down" the traditional image of buildings ...
Rather, you have to be like a child, curious and asking a lot. Ask yourself. Observe, perceive, learn and develop their feelings. What you feel on the line on paper must be felt also in form and space. The idea of traditional architecture and square meters is dead to me.
When you creating you avoid right angles. Why?
I wouldn't say I'm avoiding. I have them also in each of my buildings, I only use them elsewhere and in a different proportion. There is not only black and white, there are many shades between these colors. Nor is there only a circle and a square. I take advantage of these amazing possibilities and shape the space. These intermediate steps help me create emotion and atmosphere.
You call your houses "jewelry." However, genuine jewelry is usually more expensive.
Jewelry is something for me to put on top of myself and it becomes part of me. We wear jewelry to make us feel nicer, better, more important. The house is a kind of self-satisfaction. What is the most important thing at the end of each day? Feeling good. And that's what space is about.
Isn't money the reason why we prefer “classic” solutions?
These houses cost no more than other, cubic meters of concrete pour into each house for the same price, but with different results. But even an architect must love his work and not look at it through numbers and spend time over it. Everything that a person designs or realizes reflects him as a mirror. You can quickly see if he likes what he does or just makes a living. Whether one in a million others or unique in the world. I say that being unique is natural, you just have the courage to go your way.
You design houses with a clear goal - so that their inhabitants can find peace and develop internally. But each person is different, has a different nature, inner world, expectations. How can you deal with it?
Every person is like a radio. He can tune in. Well, I'm tuning the station. Every person is inherently good. I put the good side to the surface.
For example, when I create a family villa, I have to agree with the concrete person on what we want to achieve together. What feeling and emotion the space should have. This is how I think of a family villa: each of us needs a place where he can anchor, to create his own harbor where he can survive a storm, but at the same time enjoy the miracle of life. To find a place in which the present moment gives every thing uniqueness. Perceive peace as a gift and enjoy it with full sip. For me, it's best to sit in a family circle at home, feel close to each other without words, just sit there and feel the presence of people who are all for you. Father, mom, children circle like magic comets creating cosmic energy. This is the goal for our villas. Create harmony. Then time stops for me and I feel happy. There is no one closer to us than our own self, which we see to grow through our genes in generations to come. I am fascinated by capturing these emotions in drawing, abstracting them into lines and transforming them into fairies. Creating a space where people can experience the same happiness as I experience it. You will guard such a place as your most precious gem.
But the villa does not have to be just family, then I look at it completely differently. The client is one thanks to which each villa gets unique uniqueness and authenticity.
What do you think about the quality of contemporary architecture in Slovakia?
Architecture is a mirror of the company.
Since we still have early capitalism in which our own profits and the Excel spreadsheet are more than anything else, we are building. An architect in such an environment is just one of the items for the developer to make a profit. This means minimizing costs and maximizing profit. Then you can see that the creative is disappearing and everything is very similar. Only color and tiling are changed. And since society is in the same mood, it doesn't even hinder it at the end of the day. Building and architecture have been turned into a routine, they are on the mainstream wave. I do not want to cut those square meters, it is not natural to me and it is not something that fills me. Therefore, I look mainly outside Slovakia. Since there are no borders (only those in our heads), I am looking for people in the world who look in the same direction.
What projects are you currently working on and what are your future plans and visions?
Let's not seek emotion only in data, let's seek it in people...
Technology and artificial intelligence are one of the ways in which architecture and the world can develop. I will. But there is a second way, and that is self-knowledge. I am tired of filling tables with data obtained by observing human behavior, analyzing them, and putting them in the hands of artificial intelligence, hoping to create a better future, a better world and a better space for life. I believe that being unique is natural, but somehow we forgot about it. Pablo Picasso said, "Everything you can imagine is real." But I ask - where is our curiosity and space for us our own creativity? I am tired of this mediocrity and the limitation of reality with the hope that someone else will decide. That's why I decided to go back to where I left 12 years ago - drawing and painting. The process by which I open new doors for my vision. I'm curious ...
I am currently working on the White Gem Collection 22 concept. We are working on the concept of linking work with housing in the future. You can see the prototype in Malinov - project 3 Vody Malinovo. I am interested in sustainability and technology, so we are developing the idea of levitating homes called Flying meadow. I look for spaces for further development and growth, such as the Winter Harbor - the new SiliconValley in the EU and many others. Like I said, I'm curious, so I look and find (smile).
Martina Macková – Milliard Sun