The Brussels-based firm Atelier De Visscher & Vincentelli (ADVV) is one of the ten craft architecture firms that caviar.archi has decided to portray in film. Antoine Vincentelli tells us all about his interest in architecture in front of Mister Emma’s camera. He describes his day-to-day work and practices. Quality architecture, architecture in good taste, but what does creating architecture ultimately mean?

Antoine Vincentelli
Atelier De Visscher & Vincentelli (ADVV)

atelierdvv.be
info@atelierdvv.be

Technical sheet of this architecture video clip
Journalist : Emma C. Dessouroux
Cameraman : Emanuel Pinto / EpiProd – Mister Emma

Editing : Emma C. Dessouroux / Cristina Dias
Direction : Emma C. Dessouroux
Production : Les Délires Productions

Translation : Strakermedia
Rereading : Serge Ryckoort / Emelire
Subtitles : Strakermedia

French Subtitles

1
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Le parti est plus clair là-dedans,
on voit mieux qu’ici, hein ?

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Ouais, moi je trouve.

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Je suis Antoine Vincentelli.

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Fonction : architecte.

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Et j’ai mon propre bureau
avec Michel De Visscher,

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qui s’appelle
l’Atelier De Visscher & Vincentelli.

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Quand j’ai terminé mes études,

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j’ai préféré…

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prendre un peu plus de vacances
que mes amis,

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et quand je suis revenu, j’ai demandé
à mes amis où je devais aller,

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et il y a un copain qui avait fait
un concours avec Michel De Visscher,

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qui m’a dit, mais…

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tu vas t’entendre avec ce mec, vas-y.

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Et donc, je suis allé le voir,
et le lendemain,

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j’ai commencé à travailler chez lui.

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Et puis on s’est très bien entendus,

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et en 2007, on a décidé,
donc, de s’associer.

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Je suis pas sûr qu’on puisse mettre un…

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Ouais.

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Alors, à un moment, j’avais essayé

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un escalier droit au milieu mais…
pour l’espace en dessous, c’est…

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On fait beaucoup d’associations

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avec d’autres bureaux d’architecture,

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ou avec des artistes ou des graphistes.

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On s’amuse beaucoup
à faire des associations

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pour, justement, confronter nos idées
et ne pas avoir,

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finalement, une architecture signée

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mais qu’à chaque fois,

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l’architecture qu’on fait
avec tel ou tel bureau,

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on n’aurait pas pu la faire
nous-mêmes sans eux,

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et inversement.

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Donc, pour l’instant,
on est plutôt dans cette démarche-là.

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On travaille beaucoup
dans les projets publics,

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c’est-à-dire qu’on fait
beaucoup de concours.

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On a du logement public, on a aussi…

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On fait des salles de sport, musées.

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On a aussi quelques projets privés
qui sont aussi intéressants,

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qui sont deux manières assez différentes
de travailler, d’ailleurs.

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Le rapport au client est très différent.

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Qu’est-ce que l’architecture ?

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C’est pas bête, ça.

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Accompagner les gens,
accompagner la société

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à se créer un environnement.

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Avec tous les outils qu’on a,
tout ce qu’on visite,

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toute la manière dont, au fil du temps,

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on s’accapare l’espace et la manière
dont on peut imaginer les espaces.

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Mais je pense que c’est vraiment
un accompagnement.

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Autant pour les projets publics,
les très grands projets

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comme pour les tout petits projets.

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J’aurais du mal, honnêtement,
à décrire l’architecture belge.

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Par contre, il y a quand même…

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un point commun, je pense,
aux projets belges, c’est…

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les sous qu’on a, quoi, et les budgets

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qui sont alloués aux projets
et qui donc nous forcent toujours

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à aller vers l’essentiel,

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en termes de matérialité
comme d’enveloppe.

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Donc, oui, il y a peut-être ça,
mais alors…

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le définir plus que ça,
j’aurais du mal parce que…

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je pense qu’il y a quand même
beaucoup de différentes manières

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d’aborder l’architecture,
et en Belgique aussi, finalement.

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On réaffecte l’ancien cinéma,
le Marignan, qui est en face du Mirano,

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bien connu pour ses bonnes soirées,

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qui est un cinéma,
en fait, comme le Mirano.

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C’était l’époque…

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C’était le Petit Hollywood,
en fait, chaussée de Louvain,

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et on réhabilite cet ancien cinéma
en salle de spectacles

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qu’on fait en association
avec Manger Nielsen Architects.

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Et cette salle de spectacles

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va jusqu’à la rue Scailquin,
qui est de l’autre côté,

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et en fait, on fait là aussi
un petit centre culturel,

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et toute la technique
pour amener les décors,

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avec un ascenseur, avec une place
pour faire les manœuvres, etc.

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Il nous intéresse beaucoup
parce qu’il y a la réhabilitation

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de l’ancien cinéma qui est vraiment
une architecture super intéressante,

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mais de l’autre côté, rue Scailquin,

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il y a une architecture
qui va se développer,

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qui est assez franche, qui va selon nous

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donner beaucoup de lumière
à cette rue qui était un peu compliquée

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en termes de gabarit,
en termes de joie de vivre.

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Elle était un peu terne, et donc là,
on a réussi à ouvrir la rue,

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à faire une place qui va s’ouvrir
sur cette rue Scailquin,

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pour essayer de changer les choses,
et ouais, c’est un projet qui…

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Il est en train de s’ériger
et on a hâte de…

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de le voir aller encore un peu plus loin.

English Subtitles

1
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This part is lighter in there,
you see it better than in here, right?

2
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Yes, I think so.

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I am Antoine Vincentelli.

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I’m an architect

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and I have my own firm
with Michel De Visscher,

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called l’Atelier
De Visscher & Vincentelli.

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When I finished my studies,

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I decided to take

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more time off than my friends,

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and when I came back I asked
my friends where I should go

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and I had a friend who’d done
a competition with Michel De Visscher

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and said, « you’ll get on
with that guy, give it a try. »

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So I went to see him and the next day

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I started to work at his office.

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We got on very well,

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and in 2007,
we decided to become partners.

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-I’m not sure if we can put a…
-Yes.

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At one point I tried a staircase
right in the middle,

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but for the space underneath, it’s…

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We collaborate a lot
with other architectural firms,

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artists and graphic designers.

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We really enjoy making those associations,

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to really challenge our ideas
and not to end up

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with a stereotyped architecture,

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but each time,

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the architecture we do
with this or that firm,

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we wouldn’t have been able to do
without them, and vice versa.

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So, that’s how we’re working
at the moment.

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We do a lot of public projects,
so we do a lot of competitions.

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We do public housing, we also…

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We do sports halls, museums.

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We also have some private projects
that are interesting, too,

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which are two quite different ways
of working, though.

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The relationship with the client
is quite different.

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What is architecture?

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Good question.

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Helping people, helping society

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to shape its surroundings.

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With all the tools we have,
everything we see,

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the whole way in which, over time,

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we use space and the way
we imagine spaces.

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But I really think it’s a kind of support.

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As much for the public projects,

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the very big projects,
as for all the little projects.

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I would honestly find it hard
to describe Belgian architecture.

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Although there does exist…

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a common thread, I think,
in Belgian projects, which is…

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the money we have and the budgets

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which are allocated to projects
and which always force us

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to look at the basics,

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in terms of materiality, as well as form.

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So perhaps there’s that, but then…

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I’d struggle to stretch the definition
beyond that because…

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I think there are many ways

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of approaching architecture,
in Belgium as much as anywhere.

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We’re converting the old cinema
Le Marignan, which is opposite the Mirano,

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well known for a good night out,

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which is actually a cinema
like the Mirano.

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Way back when…

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The Chaussée de Louvain
was a « Little Hollywood », in fact,

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and we’re turning this old cinema
into a concert hall,

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in association
with Manger Nielsen Architects.

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This concert hall goes through

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to the Rue Scailquin,
which is on the other side,

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and we’re actually making
a little cultural center there,

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and the whole technique
for bringing in the fittings

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with a hoist, with a space
for maneuvering, etc..

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interests us a lot,
because there’s the conversion

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of the old cinema which is really
super interesting architecturally,

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but on the other side, on Rue Scailquin,

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the architecture there

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will be quite open,
which will, in our view,

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let a lot of light into a street,
which is a little complicated

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in terms of dimensions
and « joie de vivre ».

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It was a bit drab, so we’ve managed
to open up the street

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and create a square onto Rue Scailquin,

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to try to change things
and yes, it’s a project that…

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is underway now and we’re very excited

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to watch it progress even further.