Designer Profile: su11 architecture+design

su11 architecture+design was co-founded by Ferda Kolatan and Erich Schoenenberger in New York City in 1999. They have received the Swiss National Culture Award for Art and Design and the ICFF Editors Award for ‘Best New Designer’. In 2006 they were nominated for the prestigious Chernikhov Price and in 2008 they were chosen finalists for the MoMA/PS1 YAP competition. Their work has been published nationally and internationally including Archilab’s Futurehouse, Space, Monitor, L’Arca, Arch+, New New York, PreFAb Modern, Digital Real, The Metapolis Dictionary of Advanced Architecture, AD, Dwell, Le Monde, NY Times, LA Times and the Washington Post. Projects by su11 were exhibited in venues such as the Museum of Modern Art, Walker Art Center, Pasadena Art Center College of Design, Vitra Design Museum, Archilab Orleans, Documenta X, Art Basel and Carnegie Museum of Art.

Recently su11 architecture+design completed the New York K_Residence, Dwell Magazine’s featured cover story in March 2011.  The design partners chose DuChateau Floors Vernal Collection in San Tropez for this project.

Erich Schoenenberger and Ferda Kolatan (Photographer: Ty Cole)

Tell us about your first job in the design field.
Our first architecture job was to design a vacation home for a friend in Vermont.  We had a limited budget and needed to use the existing foundations of the older house. Fortunately, our client was very interested in the field of design and encouraged us to seek unconventional design solutions, which in turn led to a very satisfactory process and result. I believe that our client still enjoys his home very much.

K_Residence, Dwell Magazine

How would you describe the style of your own home?
I live in an old loft building, which was originally built as a knitting factory. As I value continuous space more than the number of individual bedrooms, my home is rather open and flowing both programmatically as well as spatially. Stylistically I kept the loft authentic in feel to its industrial history and only added a few contemporary elements and furniture pieces. (FK)

Vernal Collection in San Tropez (Photographer: Ty Cole)

What inspires you today?
We are inspired by many things of different kinds. Complex forms and structures of nature are one of them. Interesting contemporary and historical architecture is another as is fashion, car, and industrial design. What inspires us is usually driven by a combination of clever solution and beautiful expression.

Vernal Collection in San Tropez (Photographer: Ty Cole)

What is your most memorable travel destination?
The desert. I love any kind of moving ground.

 Vernal Collection in San Tropez (Photographer: Ty Cole)

What is your favorite book/magazine on design? Favorite website?
Darwin’s “Origin of Species” is my favorite design book. (FK)

 Vernal Collection in San Tropez (Photographer: Ty Cole)

What projects are you working on now?
We are working on a number of residential and commercial projects as well as on speculative research-oriented designs.

What’s left on your wish list of design projects?
Our wish list is an ever-evolving one. We welcome every design opportunity, small and large, as long as it challenges our imagination.


Thanks Ferda and Erich!