Ivan Hu

What architect/artist/designer inspires you and why?
Many architects inspired me throughout architecture school, but the works, writings, philosophy and methodology of Kengo Kuma resonate with me most—particularly his philosophy in material theory. Kuma reestablishes how social and regional conditions affect the use and choice of materials. He works with craftsmen to discover possibilities inherent in paper, wood, metal or stone. He draws a relationship between a space and its natural surroundings, and considers its effect on the aspect of time. His research into technological advancements in material tectonics allows his designs to express formality through humble purposes and a desire for architectural modesty. His buildings are deceptively simple, with intricate use of material properties to bring light and air into spaces. More than just an architect, Kuma takes on the role of an urban, landscape, product, and mechanical designer; bridging sustainable, physical and informational design.

What is your favorite travel destination?
Marcel Proust once wrote “The Real Voyage of Discovery Consists Not Seeking New Landscapes, but in Having New Eyes.” Living in California, we feel like we experience the culmination of culture from different corners of the world, but when we step out and start walking and living the way people do in different countries, we start experiencing change and growth in ourselves for the appreciation of history, technology and traditions. From walking the steps of the Great Wall in China, to overlooking the pits of the Colosseum of Rome, to studying abroad and living the life in Milan, to feeling the brisk wind on top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris—every trip I have taken has collectively become a part of me, intellectually and physically. To choose my favorite spot is hard, but I would be more than ecstatic going back to Barcelona and walking through the Rambla again, or exploring the historical and modern streets of London again and grabbing fish and chips while holding a pint in my hand—as long as my partner in life/crime is there to share those experiences with me along the way.

Ivan and Scarlett Piazza Navona