Behind the Scenes with Bjarke Ingels (BIG and KiBiSi)

Bjarke Ingels, Founder of BIG, lived up to all the hype when I met him for the first time the other week. He’s more charismatic and entertaining than I’d even expected - and that’s after spending over an hour drinking beer with him in a limo from LGA (**behind the scenes clip below).

Bjarke Ingels - "Pragmatic Utopia" and Product Design

"Pragmatic utopia," his mindset when it comes to design, is undeniably the common thread throughout his work. Beyond architecture, Bjarke is the "Bi" in KiBiSi, a Danish product design "supergroup" (to quote Fast Company) - a trio whose two other members are Jens Martin Skibsted (the Si), founder of Biomega (maker of beautiful bikes), and Lars Holme Larsen, founder of Kilo Design.

Possibly the funniest tidbit during the all too enjoyable limo ride: I asked Bjarke if he remembers the day in his life — whether it was as a child or teen — that he knew he wanted to be an architect. His reply (paraphrased): I think it was when I was a little boy and I was watching that James Bond movie, A View To Kill, in which the staircase collapses and disappears. So it would appear as though 007 is responsible for more than just the catchphrase “shaken, not stirred,” but likewise some of today’s most innovative architecture moments (and product design too).

Why add product design to his portfolio? The three had collaborated on multiple projects for years and "decided to turn their intuitive inclination to work together into a full time collaboration." The idea-driven design firm is in keeping with Bjarke's individual design philosophy.

KiBiSi's work includes the Shanghay Chairs, conceived to match the Danish Pavilion’s long social bench by Bjarke in collaboration with Jeppe Hein, "that wraps around the inside and outside of their futuristic structure," to quote 3rings writer Sonja Hall. Brick Sofa is another KiBiSi design close to Bjarke's heart - the product of frustration involved with finding the right sofa for his apartment. Beyond these two 3rings-covered finds are some hi-tech bikes, a limited edition trestle table, handsome headphones, and much more.

Posted December 28, 2010 by Jacob Slevin

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