LiquenLAV
Double exposure
Soria, ES

LiquenLAV is an architecture and design practice founded in Soria, Spain 2009 by architect Valentin Sanz. They call their projects “non-specific projects” by providing solutions to existing functions and problems, while at the same time, trying to respond to requirements that have not yet been raised, understanding the project as a continuous process capable of changing and evolving.

 

Starting with two different approaches

I got my architecture degree in 2009, in the midst of the global financial crisis, it was a difficult time for the architecture and building industry as many offices had to close down and many others only offered short works or unpaid internships. After a short period of trying to work for an established office I decided to start in two different ways:

Architecture competitions by forming teams with other young architects and similar architectural approaches. 

Design and production of a collection of furniture pieces. It is precisely through them that the office gained some popularity, participating in several fairs and exhibitions.

 

Landing the first commission

LiquenLAV´s first complete architecture work was “La 3 del SENPA”, an old warehouse used for “socio-cultural activities" in my hometown Almenar, a very small village. The warehouse was already used for traditional meals of brotherhood and little concerts. We got that commission because, in one of those concerts, I decided to offer my support as an architect if someday they needed to do some refurbishment work. Two days later I had a meeting with them and they informed me that they already had three different budgets for refurbishment´s work, they asked me to design another proposal and finally I got the commission.

 

Maintaining strict time frames

I try to keep my “office hours” the same every day. So that if clients visit the office they will have a few hours when we are there. It is important to organise the part of the work that is done outside the office, that is why I always try to make visits to work sites, workshops and suppliers on the same days of the week and always within the same time frame. We (my family and I) try not to extend the working day beyond 18.00

 

An innovative shop-office space

Since 2017 LiquenLAV is a one-person office located in Soria, a town with a population of 39.000 people; a town where everyone knows an architect. One year ago LiquenLAV moved from a traditional office space to an old tobacco shop from the seventies. Now the “shop” is a place to work, but also a place to show a little bit of our office work. People still come in to ask for cigarettes but some of them then ask about our work.

 

Finding excitement in all kinds of projects

Like many of my friends, I started practicing as an architect during a period of maximum uncertainty and we all quickly realised that things would never be the same as before. So, I didn't really have an expectation of any particular kind of work. We have the same excitement about smaller jobs and bigger ones. The most shocking thing is how difficult it is to get any kind of commission even after doing good work.

 

Reaching stability as an architecture studio

Our big challenge is to be able to carry out our work in a small town where architects or designers are not particularly appreciated. As a studio, our one and only aspiration is to be economically sustainable by developing little or big projects where we can really put into practice our way of thinking about design and architecture. There are many ways to be an architect.

nave almenar foto luis diaz diaz 31

Photography Luis Díaz Díaz

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Photography Courtesy of LiquenLAV

nave almenar foto luis diaz diaz 15

Photography Luis Díaz Díaz

mas 5

Photography Courtesy of LiquenLAV

mas

Photography Courtesy of LiquenLAV






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