Architects: Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues.
1. Business Name?
Our business’ name is Ball-Nogues Studio.
2. Owner Names?
We are Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues.
3. What is your background?
If I may briefly answer for both of us: Midwest, the mountains, Buenos Aires, LA County, architecture school, Frank Gehry Partners, hot rods, and theater.
4. What brought you two together to form Ball-Nogues Studio?
A drunken night out in Chinatown.
5. Where are you located?
Near the border between Los Angeles and East LA, in an industrial area.
6. Tell me about your company?
There are two principal collaborators with lots of input from a rotating cast of designers, modelers, fabricators, engineers, and enthusiastic deputies.
7. What is your design philosophy?
No time for philosophy. Amateurs talk strategy, experts talk logistics.
8. What are some current projects that you are working on?
There are always several projects in production, a few more in development, and we are always doing proposals (somebody usually wants to kick the tires). I’m currently excited about what one of our benefactors calls a “beacon” atop a tower in a cold Midwestern city, imagine a liquid mirror ball scattering light across the city. We are doing a set design in collaboration with artist Emily Mast for LA Dance Project; the performance will premier in October. We are in the early stages of a commission for a new federal port of entry building at the Calexico / Mexicali border - the location should provoke some interesting conversation. There are also several projects that draw from our repertoire, these happen to be outside the US - Suzhou, China; Auckland, New Zealand; Cognac France. I’m always interested in working outside our culture.
9. Do you have experience with Green or Sustainable design?
We have worked with the idea of lifecycle, the circle of life for a material or object as opposed to a single use. The notion is a subset of sustainability, I suppose.
10. What are your plans for the next 5 years?
I have a come what may approach, projects come to us and we choose which to pursue, but think there will be changes in the structure for the studio organization in the next few years as projects scale up, and people come and go. We have to be ready for that. We don’t make plans for particular types of projects as much as outfit the studio with new tools and people.
11. Do you have any current exhibitions?
All of our current projects are in public places rather than exhibition spaces. Some opportunity pops up every year or so for exhibitions, but not at the moment.
12. Whom influenced you growing up as an architect and artist?
Brian Eno has always been interesting to me since I was in college, he has a very wide view of music , music as place, music as space, space as music. I suppose I try to maintain a wide view of architecture.
13. What city do you think has the best building architecture and why?
I don’t know about best, every city has its own qualities and its history; I travel a lot and try to learn from every city I visit. Are we talking about best in terms of craft? Spectacles? Social Housing? Starachitecture? Some cities do one thing better than others.
14. What do you like to do in your spare time?
I do a lot of hiking. I grew up in the mountains so I try to experience the open spaces and state parks around Southern California. I’m fascinated by bears and mountain lions existing in close proximity to 13 million people; the porous boundary between what might be called the wilds and urban development. I also go out to see a lot of live music performances. I can’t seem to shake clubs and concerts, if I’m not experiencing something that expands my interests, I’ll punish myself for growing old.
15. Motto in life?
This year? Design yourself through meditation.
17. Social Media Info:
Instagram: @ball_nogues_studio Facebook: @ball.nogues.studioTwitter: @Ball_Nogues
Street Talk, which supports emerging artists that merit being discovered.
Interview by Alison Hernon, Editor-In-Chief, PhotoBook Magazine.