How important is innovation in your field? And how do you implement that in your work?
As an interior architect, I consider both research and design important. I feel like an alchemist pushing the limits of traditional materials and techniques. Natural materials I work using contemporary techniques and treatments from another field. Ceramics I try to deform or scratch. Marble I want to make less elitist or historically laden, for example, by colouring it. And right now I am working on a rug that is partly burned.
What is the common thread running through your work? Is there a characteristic Sophie Dries touch?
I have no universal recipe for success because everything starts with the client and the genius loci: the soul of the place. We deliver custom work to people that entrust us with their homes. A flat for a filmmaker under a vaulted ceiling from the seventeenth century, a loft for a photographer in a modern apartment building, a penthouse on the Champs-Elysées, or luxury boutiques in the old part of Istanbul: every project is totally different. The important thing is to first evaluate the place well: the light, the views, the valuable architectural elements. I integrate the inhabitants’ contemporary way of life into my brute minimalism. I love clean lines and pure natural materials. But I add special strokes of colour and precious details: furniture, objects, and artwork.
You combine interior architecture with design and even scenography. Does that require a different approach every time?
I really don’t believe in partitioning. Fifty years ago the grandmasters of modernism -Le corbusier, Aalto, or Wright- used to draw absolutely everything in a home or project: from garden to the door handles and the rugs. You don’t ask an artist whether he makes videos or photos, do you? Between design and architecture lies only a difference in scale, although in both cases the starting point is the human body. Between architecture and scenography the only difference is the temporary and demountable character. I believe architects have lost touch with craftsmanship, and I try to re-establish that connection in my work. I constantly learn from my dialogues with the artisans that carry out my projects. Consulting them makes me discover possibilities and conceptual solutions that are feasible thanks to their technical skills.