I have visited Cubicco in Oud Gastel, The Netherlands, for a design commission. Cubicco produces offices spaces with a sustainable conviction, original materials and a complete responsible experience. I will try to explain in this article what is exciting to me from Cubicco. The first impression you have when arriving to their office is that of being in a micro eco system within an industrial area. I knew Cubicco has created a simple design with an strong idea of having a low environmental impact for solving space needs for offices; but the project is wider than that. I interviewed the director and initiator of Cubicco, Randy Riteco, he explained how he started with his goal to launch an alternative solution to the growing problem of having private spaces in our society: One is that of solving space problems, and another was to make them affordable within his social and environmental responsible convictions. The product is a cube made of material with low environment impact, cork, wood, glass, and natural textures, seashells for the ground, wood splinters for the outside garden, and growing plants in the roofs. Randy’s idea of creating space went back to a basic shape: A cube, the most basic, yet strong shape, with rounded corners that makes it friendlier. Randy has not an architecture background, still he has imagine and created space for human activities, he has create architecture in the most intuitive and practical way, yet aesthetically very attractive and “natural”; his “object” belongs to a retro-Bauhaus-new recession era. We no longer belong to nature, (in Jean Baudrillard’s concept of opposing nature to culture), once our manipulation of nature has gone so far from what it originally was (if we can ever imagine it), we can’t get in touch with it anymore, in that way we need no huge buildings to demonstrate that we, humans, are a sophistication in nature in it’s positive and in it’s negative way.
I like the idea that we still can return to equilibrate our excessive emissions of garbage to our environment (just like lots of people does) and reduce our impact to a natural balance. At least for respect to what we can save from a civilized world.
Thinking this way is not new, and the idea might not be new but the most important is Randy’s pragmatic approach: Solution follows idea, an object is created from a simple, yet complex discussion that is been growing from the evolution of our demographic explosion and sophisticated culture. “Why do we make things more complicated when we can make them simple?” Randy asks himself knowing that the answer is far from 3 hours discussion. And going back to basics does not just mean to de-evolve, it means re create and make use of knowledge we have inherited. Traditional architecture has lots of things to teach us but also not only architecture but common knowledge is also an inheritance to solve problems, we call it common sense.
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