Architect, computational design specialist and Director of Milan-based A>T Consulting Arturo Tedeschi describes his interplay between different techniques and tools as being similar to how DJs use instruments and samplers.
“Working as a ‘solo singer’ involves the risk of being repetitive as you draw from a limited sequence of chords. Collaborating for leading offices, companies and institutions forces you to accelerate the learning process and sometimes to endure apparently impossible but enriching challenges,” Arturo says.
Born and raised in a very small village in the mountains of Southern Italy, Arturo internalised the beauty of living in an isolated place with great landscapes and horizons. “This became a kind of metaphor for my whole life... As I child, I basically had two passions: making cardboard models of buildings – skyscrapers, in particular – and using the computer to create my own programmes. The cardboard models were made of cereal boxes and for the programmes I used my Commodore 64. I loved to create animation with the few pixels available at the time. I even partially developed an operating system inspired by the first Windows release.”
Arturo later blended his two childhood passions of architecture and coding to become a leading computational design specialist who specialises in avant-garde architecture and industrial design. “I always loved architecture in its essence as the art of creating objects at different scales by assembling different materials. I’ve always been fascinated by the ideas of precision and beauty and how the human mind can conceive buildings, systems and products that solve or organise complexity.”
He is now founder and Director of A>T Consulting, a firm which provides services and training related to algorithmic modelling, complex geometry, digital fabrication and data-driven design. A>T boasts industry-spanning collaborations with Zaha Hadid, Volkswagen, Ross Lovegrove Studio and Adidas. “I don’t have favourite projects, as such, but I have a special relationship with many designers who have taught me so much. From Ross Lovegrove, whom I consider a mentor, I learned that every object we design can stimulate a change in people’s mindset with an influence on our perception of reality.”
A>T’s base in Milan has presented some unique opportunities, Arturo says. “Its DNA is rooted in fashion and industrial design. The city is a kind of open-space laboratory where the keyword is collaboration rather than competition. It’s a place which is open to change and innovation. Milano is now channelling new energies into sustainability with a green roadmap and several policies in the making.”
Alongside his professional practice, Arturo’s personal research practice underpins a diverse and impressive range of work and has yielded globally-recognised publications on Parametric Architecture, Algorithms-Aided Design and Grasshopper. The secret, he says “is a good balance between practice and research. One feeds the other. Research and learning must be somehow guided and oriented by feedback and stimuli coming from clients and real-world challenges or opportunities.”
This focus on a balanced approach to learning and professional practice is crucial for growth and inspiration, he says. “As a professional and a leader of a design consulting company, it’s important not to be absorbed by work routine, meetings, deadlines and so on. Saving a space for daily research and study is crucial. And teaching is not only the moment where you share knowledge, but a way to receive new questions. It’s an unparalleled way to get a glimpse of the future.”
Indeed, Arturo has taught and been an invited speaker at universities all over the world. In the last decade he has seen a shift from initial skepticism to a more mature approach with advanced design tools. “Companies and design offices rely on internal clusters of specialists or they outsource specific competencies. The common thread now is the awareness of available techniques, tools and strategies.”
As A>T approaches its tenth anniversary, Arturo reflects on the challenges of the last year and the lessons of the last decade. “Remote meetings, smart working and reorganisation were already part of our vocabulary but they were complementary works of an activity characterised by travels, events, in-person meetings, training, conferences, workshops and lessons. We really missed this vital part last year... When A>T was launched in 2011, I believed the opportunities were attached to other people. My attention was oriented outward. Now I know that a pure creative approach and constant learning attract opportunities and growth, without compromises.”
"It’s an unparalleled way to get a glimpse of the future.”
Arturo is tight-lipped about the future but hints that he is working to create a new innovative product brand. He remains ever-keen to “contaminate and be contaminated by” new collaborators and encourages young professionals with a multi-disciplinary approach to new challenges in architecture and industrial design to get in touch.
Learn more about Arturo’s work at http://www.arturotedeschi.com/ and connect with him on Instagram @arturotedeschi.