Andy and Dave

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Andy and Dave is a collaborative architecture and design studio in Brooklyn, NY run by Andrew Miller and David Ruperti. It is dedicated to the production of design work that draws inspiration from the experience of contemporary life. Projects often explore the intersections of architecture, media and urbanism with an emphasis on politics and consumer culture.

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How important is your working and home environment? ... for example is the work you make reflected in your personal space?

David: Very important. When we are physically making something, it typically happens at either one of our apartments. When we’re only working on our computers, we meet in public, either at a cafe, or at a local creative space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn called A/D/O. Working in public, and interacting with other people does allow us to feel more connected to the social life of our community, and we derive some inspiration from that connection. 

Andrew: It’s interesting to see our more unusual projects in our personal space juxtaposed with the everyday clutter of our apartments or work space. For a show last year, we built a series of large foam pieces of furniture that filled an entire room in my apartment for about a month. It was fascinating to see these wild forms crammed into a space and juxtaposed with the more mundane objects that you would expect to find in a spare room in Brooklyn.

What do you think has informed your personal aesthetic? 

David: Many things. We often look for inspiration in the existing built environment or in the behaviour of people. Andrew and I both grew up in Upstate New York in working class environments, and we developed an affinity for the strange ways that aesthetics and design values emerge out of suburban American consumer culture. Similarly, we’ve found inspiration in the exuberance of Internet culture. Our work often tries to find a way to embrace some of that unbridled tendency, but with a historical and theoretical perspective. 

Andrew: Everyday objects, studied as artefacts of a cultural moment often reveal important meanings, and inspire us to design in ways that consider the potential for unexpected interpretations. It has developed into a mixed aesthetic that reflects our experience of the everyday world, and the prevalence of ad hoc material combinations. 

Do you collect anything/ have a favourite object?

David: Sure. I collect design objects, furniture, and art. My favourite is always changing. Right now, it’s a rock with a dick carved into it, made by Chen of Chen Chen & Kai Williams.  

Andy: Living in a small apartment in NYC means that I'm always trying to accumulate as little as possible. Some of my favourite things are small and functional. I have a Peter Shire mug that I love to use everyday. My Naoto Fukasawa-designed Muji toaster has served me well. 

Are you coveting anything particular at the moment?

David: Yes. A Wink lounge chair designed by Toshiyuki Kita.

Andrew: I would love a Campana Brothers Banquete chair.

What is your opinion on taste and style?

David: It’s extremely important to have a point of view, and to engage in cultural discourse around design aesthetics. Sometimes that point of view ends up developing into a distinct style, sometimes it doesn't. The ability to see an object or a building, and “read” it as a cultural artefact is important.

Are you interested trends, both in and out of your field?

Andrew: Absolutely. Trends are just shifts in culture. They often reveal important information about where we are and where we’re headed. It’s important for our work to remain connected to that ongoing cultural discourse. We’re both interested in disrupting the traditional definitions of fields and professions. We are trained as architects, and we know how insular architectural discourse can be. Making furniture and objects allows us to transcend our profession and more freely explore trends in materiality, aesthetics, and behaviour. Our goal is to develop a trans-disciplinary approach that can be more agile and dynamic than a traditional architecture studio. 

Do you have a dream project or client?

David: We have quite a bit of experience in retail design. We would love to do more work for fashion designers that we admire. There are so many brilliant young fashion designers in New York who are pushing aesthetic boundaries and exploring how fashion relates to identity, social activism, and shifting cultural norms. We would be thrilled to design a runway show or a store for some of these brands. 

Do you have a project that was a turning point in finding your creative path?

David:  In 2010, we entered a series of monthly ideas competitions sponsored by Studio-X, a satellite architectural gallery/workspace run by Columbia University. The competition series was called Spontaneous Architecture, and each month it requested an architectural response to a specific current event, crisis, or issue. The stakes were very low, but we decided to dedicate ourselves to entering every month. It was a lot of fun. And it gave us a platform to freely explore some ideas we had about how architecture relates to society. Several of the entries were absolutely absurd, but we started to get very good at quickly developing quite intricate images and concepts. 

How important is collaboration to you?

Andrew: Very important. Our work only exists because of our mutual encouragement. We push each other to do work that has meaning and expresses some common experience, or important observation. In the abstract we see design work as a dialogue.

Where is your favourite place to be?

David: The Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, my hometown. 

Andrew: By the ocean.

Form, function or fantasy?

Andrew: Fantasy. Definitely, Fantasy. From Salvador Dali to Superstudio, and now with so many artists exploring the strange conditions of internet and augmented reality... We get a lot of enjoyment from creative work that explores the fringe of reality.


ANDY & DAVE'S WORK

 

Items mentioned in this post

Emily Alston