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Convincing Images

Mačkić is working on a wide range of assignments with Studio LA, from public meeting places to a citywide bicycle network and a study of the architecture of asylum seekers’ centres. ‘For me, architecture has become a language in which I can express myself socially. I’ve visited many organisations in recent years and seen how difficult it is for people with different cultural backgrounds to develop and establish themselves somewhere. Having the right CVs and networks, or publishing articles, has become extremely important. Architecture offers an opportunity to winning people over with images, and in that sense is a fairly open discipline. I also noticed this in the Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie’s committee. We represent different voices within the Talent Development Committee, one is more socially engaged, the other focuses more on aesthetics or technology. We discuss this with each other, there isn’t only one approach that is appreciated, although now it’s apparent that if designers are socially engaged and have artistic qualities, they stand a better chance at succeeding.’

Public Pavilion

At the moment, De Jong, who not only taught at Sandberg and TU Delft, but also at ArtEZ and the Willem de Kooning Academy, isn’t teaching design. Other activities require her attention, such as the lectures about her work that she recently gave at KTH in Stockholm, Columbia University in NY and the Rhode Island School of Design, but she certainly hopes to take up teaching again in the future. ‘It’s great fun to work with young people. They reflect you as a teacher, but also hold up a mirror to you as a teacher.

She is currently working with her bureau on the most beautiful assignment she could possibly imagine. De Jong is designing a pavilion, an architectural form that allows the architect a great deal of artistic freedom, for the Grafikenshus, a museum for graphic design in Stockholm. ‘Everything I’m interested in comes together here,’ she enthuses. ‘The relationship between identity, spatial representation and public space, which is under pressure, is an issue that also forms the theoretical basis of my studio. And then there’s the practical aspect: designing a public building in public space where people from many different backgrounds can come together. We organise graphic workshops to develop new models and ideas for what a public pavilion could look like at a time when cities are more and more culturally diverse.’

Interview: Lotte Haagsma

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