Label Architecture
Thibaut Rome – Christophe Pham

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With the support of

Technical sheet of this architecture video clip
Journalist : Emma C. Dessouroux
Cameraman : Emma C. Dessouroux
Photographies : Label Architecture

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

Translation : ComTranslations
Subtitles : Les Délires Productions

English subtitles

1
00:00:13,040 –> 00:00:17,680
My reason for getting into architecture
came about kind of by accident.

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I felt surrounded by the city

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but I didn’t know how to read the space
and that challenged me.

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I couldn’t figure out or say

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why certain architecture
was good or not.

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That puzzled me.

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It was at the school next
to the ERG, Saint Luc,

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00:00:38,760 –> 00:00:40,320
where I saw that they worked hard

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and I got onto two or three courses.

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And little by little,
I branched out into architecture.

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Space is, quite simply,
what I like about architecture,

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and also the playful
or labyrinthine quality

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that a space can have.

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I love to walk and run through buildings.

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We play around a bit with conventions.

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It’s rather multifaceted architecture.

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Every project is simply a chance
to do something different

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because requirements are different,

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because needs are different.

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What we can say is that we have

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quite a rational and elementary approach
to architecture.

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There also needs to be

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a certain amount of enjoyment,

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for us or for the client,
or the project management.

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It feels to me like we just do extensions.

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Even when we do a whole new building,

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it’s always an extension,
an extension of the landscape.

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Because of that, with the shapes we use

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we’re not afraid

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to play with perception,

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to make believe the building
was always there, although it’s new,

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or to divide up the operation.

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We’re not so much interested

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in the idea of doing
contemporary or modern.

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We work on pretty regular plans
which are quite systematic.

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The idea is to give it a kind of rhythm,

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to hypnotize the visitor with repetition

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and get them to lose themselves
in the space.

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This isn’t a leak.

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I mean, the leak comes from the tower.

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So it’s not a problem.
Maybe in the tower room…

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Yes, you could call us craftsmen.

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I prefer the term handyman to craftsman.

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Craftsman implies
a certain corporate tradition,

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while I think manufacturers
are also craftsmen

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when they invent something.

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They have to reach a market,
to reach people,

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or else their efforts are fruitless.

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And we have to work with industries,
especially after the 20th century.

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So, I don’t go for an industrial rationale
at any price,

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but rather more of a DIY approach,

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knowing who to work with
and what to work with,

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with what materials, with what companies.

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You might sometimes say
our architecture is in poor taste,

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in the sense that we play
with existing contexts

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which are already stronger

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than any new additions we could bring,

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and sometimes we try to play into it.

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Two projects come to mind:

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the one at Loverval
and the house extension at Limal

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where we simply extended
an existing situation.

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The existing situation was so strong

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that it was hard to outdo.

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So why not go along with it and extend it?

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It’s like architectural judo,

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moving with the forces at play.

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We try to create elegant architecture

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which is not bound to fashions.

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It’s really the developer who decides,

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but we create timeless architecture.

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Timeless in the sense

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that I don’t want us to say in five years,

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« That building’s so 2020! »

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No we don’t want that,
we want it to last,

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or even make it seem older

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than the year it was built.

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Yes, as far as timelessness goes,
we don’t follow fashion.

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Sometimes you see
these formal flights of fancy,

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and you look at them and say, « So 2000! »

French subtitles

1
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La raison pour laquelle
j’ai commencé l’architecture,

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c’est un peu un accident.

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C’est parce que je voyais
que la ville m’entourait

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mais que je ne savais pas lire l’espace
et cela me posait question.

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Je ne savais pas déchiffrer,
je ne savais pas dire

6
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pourquoi une architecture
était bien ou pas bien,

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cela me posait question.

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C’était l’école à côté de l’erg,
Saint-Luc,

9
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je voyais qu’ils travaillaient fort

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et je me suis glissé
dans deux, trois cours

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et puis petit à petit, j’ai bifurqué
complètement vers l’architecture.

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Ce qui me plaît en architecture,
c’est l’espace tout simplement !

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Le caractère aussi ludique
ou labyrinthique que l’espace peut avoir.

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J’adore marcher, courir
dans les bâtiments.

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On essaie de se jouer un peu
des convenances.

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C’est une architecture plutôt protéiforme.

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Chaque projet, c’est l’occasion de faire
quelque chose de différent tout simplement

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parce que les demandes sont différentes,

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parce que les envies sont différentes.

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Ce qu’on peut retenir,
c’est qu’on a quand même une approche

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assez rationnelle et assez élémentaire
de l’architecture.

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Il faut également qu’on y trouve

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une certaine dose de plaisir,

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que ce soit le nôtre ou celui du client
ou de la maîtrise d’ouvrage.

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J’ai l’impression
qu’on fait toujours des extensions,

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même quand on fait
un nouveau bâtiment seul,

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c’est toujours une extension :
extension d’un paysage.

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Et pour cela, on n’a pas peur

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de signifier avec les formes
qu’on présente,

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de jouer sur les perceptions,

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de laisser croire que ce bâtiment
était existant alors qu’il est nouveau,

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ou de scinder l’intervention.

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On n’est pas tellement intéressés

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par l’idée de faire une forme
contemporaine ou moderne.

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On travaille sur des plans
qui sont assez réguliers,

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qui sont assez systématiques.

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L’idée est de donner une sorte de rythme

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pour endormir quasiment le visiteur
dans la répétition

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et finalement réussir
à le perdre dans l’espace.

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Ce n’est pas une fuite.

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Je veux dire que la fuite part de la tour.

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Donc, ce n’est pas un problème.
Peut-être dans la salle de la tour…

43
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Ah oui, on peut dire
qu’on est des artisans.

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Je préfère le terme bricoleur qu’artisan.

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Artisan, cela renvoie
vers une tradition corporatiste,

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alors que je pense que les industriels
sont tout aussi des artisans,

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quand ils inventent quelque chose,

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ils doivent toucher un marché,
ils doivent toucher des gens,

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sinon leurs trouvailles
ne sont pas opérationnelles.

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Et on doit, surtout après le XXe siècle,

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on doit composer avec l’industrie.

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Et donc, je ne suis pas non plus
dans la logique industrielle à tout prix,

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mais plutôt dans la logique du bricolage :

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savoir avec qui composer,
avec quoi composer,

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avec quels matériaux,
avec quelles entreprises.

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On pourrait parfois qualifier
notre architecture de mauvais goût,

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dans le sens où on joue
de contextes existants

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qui sont déjà plus forts

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que des nouvelles interventions
que l’on pourrait produire

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et on essaie parfois de se rattacher,

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je pense à deux projets :

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le projet de Loverval
et une extension de maison à Limal

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où on a simplement prolongé
une situation existante.

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La situation existante
était tellement forte

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qu’il était difficile d’être plus fort
que cette situation.

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Donc pourquoi ne pas la prolonger,
l’accompagner ?

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C’est plutôt une architecture de judo :

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aller dans le sens
des forces en présence.

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On essaie de faire une architecture
qui est élégante,

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qui n’est pas soumise aux modes.

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Maintenant, c’est vraiment
l’argument du promoteur,

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mais on fait
de l’architecture intemporelle.

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Intemporelle dans le sens

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où je n’ai pas envie qu’on se dise
dans cinq ans :

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« C’est un bâtiment de 2020 ! »

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Non, cela, on n’en a pas envie,
on a envie que cela perdure,

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quitte même à faire croire
qu’elle était un peu plus ancienne

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que l’année de sa construction.

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Oui, dans ce sens-là,
dans le côté intemporel,

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on ne travaille pas avec les modes.

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Parfois on voit
des élucubrations formelles

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comme cela, qui arrivent, et on dit :
« So 2000! »