Having completed a degree in Interior Arcitecture myself i can really appreciate the work and time that has gone into the drawings displayed in this blog. We have the greatest respect for people who are able to come out of a degree like this and then go into a masters and still come out passionate and in love with what they do. With Justine Bourland this really shines through in her work and in her answers to our questions.
Hey Justine, tell us a little about your background, what made you pursue an education in Architecture?
It ran in my family, my grand father was an incredible illustrator/industrial designer. Additionally, I was very keen on sciences which made architecture a perfect combination of both domains. I quickly started to draw my ideas on paper, play with legos and moving the furniture of my room around, thus creating new living spaces on a monthly basis. It used to drive my mum crazy. At 10 years old I was not scared of pushing heavy furniture or painting the walls. I was already very determined in what I wanted to achieve! At around 12 years old a school friend asked me to do it for her house/bedroom, I sketched my ideas and we did it over night so her parents would not catch us. This might have actually been my first ever project!
Later on, I started visualizing bigger things such as buildings. Studying architecture at university allowed me to gradually develop a graphic identity. These years are the one where a future architect can reveal his artistic soul and push the boundaries of his comfort zone to explore the art. I became driven by the understanding of how a drawing or a building can trigger certain emotions in people.
Since completing your masters, what have you been doing with your freedom?
I have moved to London and joined an architectural practice. I have been lucky to be involved at all stages on residential and commercial projects. I have enjoyed being on site and having a direct contact with the clients and other consultants part of the project.
Since I left university I have been a critic at the University for first year Masters and Bachelors exams. I have really enjoyed it, it is great to see students work at different stages of the year.
Talk us through your favorite concept/project, what were the ideas behind it?
My favorite project is not actually a building, nor a drawing, but a device which is related to both. I have always been curious about the strong connection between the human body and the space it occupies. What is the impact of a space on our body reactions and emotions? Three friends from university and I started to brainstorm. It began as an object that would provide a direct feedback on people’s reaction to the space surrounding them. It needed to be small and portable. The solution was a device that can be worn on the forehand, a polygraph with heart beat sensors placed on the fingers. While walking into a space the polygraph draws oscillations on a paper, which rolls up.
A month later the device existed and we were able to start experimenting on more than a hundred people. The results were surprising: fear, boredom, calmness, all sorts of emotion could be read in conjunction with people’s comments and their heart rate.
When you are coming up with a new concept for a design what do you think inspires your choices, and how do they go from being abstract concepts to being real functional spaces?
The answer is not simple. Inspiration cannot be forced, it comes naturally. One element that can enhance it is to open our eyes. Every places/people are an opportunity to be inspired. For me it does not have to come from architecture. Any new piece of information is a stimulation for the brain. I have lived in different countries, collaborated with people from various artistic backgrounds, and this diversity has fed and keeps feeding my work. Reading is another way, writings such as Juhani Pallasmaa or Paul Virillo have been at the back of my mind while designing the device.
I know from personal experience that an architecture degree is incredibly intense, with a lot of critics, what advise would you give to someone just starting out in this subject?
Well yes it is a very long course, but if architecture is your passion then you will find yourself captivated each year a little bit more. An architectural student should be strong, critics are harsh but useful. It is an incredible practice for later on when presenting your project to real clients. So my advice is don’t give up!
When you aren’t working on architectural projects do you have any other creative interests?
I do some branding/graphic design, and illustrations on the side. Architectural projects usually follow a lot of rules, planning or building regulations. With illustration I let my creativity go without any restriction. I enjoy drawing new graphic identities for a brand or a person. The design should tell a story. It is quite poetic.
Nowadays we are overwhelmed by images and constant new data through social media. Visuals have never had such an impact on our life.
Since I am working in London I also went back to my other passion, dancing. London has the greatest choreographers and I have joined several classes.
The body is to dancing what the pen is to drawing: a tool for self-expression.
Can we see your workspace?
To see more of Justine’s work just click on the link below: