Bjarke Ingels is ecstatic. His son, Darwin, is now one week old, and both baby and mother, the Spanish architect Ruth Otero, are the main characters in the photographic archive of his cell phone, which shows the boundless happiness of his recent fatherhood. The baby was born in Barcelona, where the couple has lived intermittently for over a year, and it is there that we meet, at the Cuines Santa Caterina, beneath the colorful ceramic vaults of the much-missed Enric Miralles, whose pervasive influence will be evoked in the conversation.
Though we talk in English, Bjarke speaks excellent Spanish, which he uses with his in-laws and with some local clients, but at home he has made the commitment of communicating in Danish with the baby boy, so that he grows up commanding three languages. The relationship of BIG’s founder with Spain started fifteen years ago and is even stronger now because of his family ties and the commissions to design three major urban projects in Barcelona, which have encouraged him to build a home in the city.
Bjarke has a houseboat in Copenhagen, an old car ferry from which he can see the sun rising over the Copenhill power plant and setting over the Queen’s palace – “floating between the past and the future of the city” –, and a wonderful penthouse in New York. But he grew up in a house with a garden, and that is precisely what he hopes to materialize in the plot he has bought on the hillside of Montjuic, close to the Joan Miró Foundation, in an area where the existing informal settlement has been legalized...[+][+][+]