aparicio / eeraerts
specific objectives
Antwerp, BE

aparicio / eeraerts is a multidisciplinary practice based in Antwerp, founded by Roberto Aparicio Ronda and Elise Eeraerts. The studio began somewhat naively but now mainly focuses on the relation between art and architecture, while also researching the spatial qualities caused by different methodologies and conceptualizations in both disciplines.

From small-scale projects to competitions

Starting our studio was a very naive step. We did all the paperwork to have our own business, and only found out what it’s like to manage it when it was already set up. We started with several small residential projects in Belgium, as people there often traditionally build their own house with a custom design. A while in, we got invited for a competition for an artwork in a public space which had to be integrated with an existing built structure. We were lucky to win it and from then on, we set out to do more competitions in that genre.

 

Getting acquainted as young professionals

When we started, we were quite handicapped, as Roberto had a background in architecture but didn’t speak Dutch yet, and Elise did speak Dutch but had no idea about the administrative or technical aspects and jargon of architecture. We already had an official office, but we both had such a big load to study, that in our first year we often had to pretend to clients or contractors that we knew what they were talking about. Luckily we were always able to catch up and never had a problem. Working hard was the best way to overcome this situation.

 

Maintaining a healthy variation

In general we try to combine office work with manual work in order to keep a good balance. Ideally several projects in progress get updated throughout the day at the same time, rather than converging our focus onto one. Variation is one of the most inspiring possible consequences of our profession. It keeps us fresh, in focus and away from an overload of routine. Inevitably, because of its intensity, it does seep into our private life. The manual work (making models/mockups, 3D-printing, soldering, welding, casting, …) is functional but also creates a mental connection to our work which encourages motivation and happiness.

 

Exercising spatial flexibility

Our studio in Antwerp changes its arrangements according to works that are in progress, and it represents our base. Never a sterile environment, it rather looks like a slightly chaotic laboratory and a workshop at the same time. During most of the year our office moves to other locations in different countries. Changing our workplace frequently forces us to rethink our general practice. Sometimes we are able to benefit from specific facilities abroad as part of a program, that after a trial period we adopt into our own studio. This is due to our studio being nomadic up to some extent.

 

Combining strengths

Between our expectations and reality there are definitely differences, though we appreciate all the things we learned on the way. We went into a more artistic direction. Several years ago, this was not something that we had planned out, but it was rather connected to having won competitions and grants. Specifically in the competitions for art in public space, our strengths are combined, an almost tactile material knowledge with an eye for how people might experience the spatial aspects of a project.

 

Towards specificity

Our objective is to continue doing what we are doing and not expand too much on the scale of the office. We find happiness in working closely together, with flexibility and experimentation, and with collaborators. We would like to be able to keep on working abroad too, as that is always inspiring and refreshing. When looking at things to change, we would like to physically expand our workshop space, its machinery and get more expertise in materials. That way our work can become much more specific.

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Photography Courtesy of aparicio / eeraerts






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