Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 26

SLUG
PROFILE

In Toronto, the PARTISANS team
(top) designed the interior of
Bar Raval (above) and revitalized
interiors for Union Station
(rendering below), which is
currently is under construction.
PARTISANS developed Gweilo
(right), an architectural light that
is handmade using thermoforming,
a technique that involves heating
etched acrylic sheets so they
can be sculpted. An LED strip
is embedded in the cooled sheet's
edge, diffusing light across
the etchings.

26

PARTISANS is a Toronto-based design firm with
a team that is diverse both in terms of background
and experience. The five-year-old firm, which won
the 2015 Ontario Association of Architects award
for Best Emerging Practice, is led by Pooya Baktash,
Jonathan Friedman, Alex Josephson, and Nicola
Spunt. PARTISANS designs architecture, interiors,
as well as products, and the curving wood interior
of Toronto's Bar Raval has already garnered
recognition. The firm leaders spoke with Contract.

Why the name PARTISANS?
Partisans are people who fight for a cause.
We are fighting for the cause of smart, beautiful,
and provocative design. When we founded the studio,
we were interested in architecture as a political force
for social and cultural good. We see PARTISANS
as a movement.
Individually, you have a variety of backgrounds
and experiences. How does this inform your work?
Our differences are our secret weapon. We have
all lived and worked around the world, and practically
everyone in our office is from a different country
or ethnic background. Pooya is from Iran, Jonathan
was raised in South Africa, and Alex and Nicola
are from Toronto and Montreal, respectively.
This diversity informs our design philosophy, which
is a combination of play and resistance-resistance
to norms, uniformity, and sameness. Architecture
has never been more of a team sport than it is today,
so leveraging and dovetailing our different strengths
and skills is critical.
What were the key factors for you in deciding
to start your practice?
We had all gained tremendous experience
working abroad for some of the world's most important
architects. After the 2008-09 financial crisis
hit and the dust started to settle, it became clear
that Canada was an opportunity. It felt like the
right time to start something special-of our own
and on our own terms. Launching the studio was
as much an act of resistance against the exploitative
systems that typically make it hard for young
designers to enter the architectural profession
as it was an act of self-expression: We wanted
to begin building our own world.

PHOTOGRAPHY: COLEN COLTH URST (TOP); JONATHAN FRI EDMAN (LEFT TWO); PARTISANS (RENDERI NG, BOTTOM)

Designers
You
Should
Know
PARTISANS

Describe your firm's approach to its work and
design. How does your firm stand out compared
to well-established competition?
We are a social studio. We ask our clients-and each
other-questions that challenge the very premises
of a proposed project. Instead of simply assessing
and solving space requirements, we look to what
the project can do for people, the city it is in,
and the world. We also pride ourselves on using
the most advanced technologies to design, model,
and prototype our projects. And we look beyond
architecture to other industries for tried and tested
software and techniques we can apply to our work.
How wide is the variety of your work?
Our studio is type- and scale-agnostic. We believe
that practicing like specialists degrades the ability to
rethink, evolve, and question the assumptions inherent
to all typological traditions in architecture. Our projects
range in scale from a family of lights to small pavilions,
houses, art festivals, and civic infrastructure projects.
What is your firm currently working on?
The interior fit-out for the revitalization of Toronto's
Union Station should be complete in the next couple
of years, which is very exciting. We are also working
on a few residential projects as well as some special
commercial projects that are in the planning stages.
In your opinion, what is important in design today?
Design is not present enough in the overwhelming
majority of things we consume and places we live.
The most important question facing design today is:
How do we make it more accessible in the everyday?
We need to make the world a more beautiful, higherperforming place not just for the one percent,
but for everyone. c

contractdesign.com

APRIL 2017


http://www.contractdesign.com

Contract Magazine - April 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract Magazine - April 2017

Contract Magazine - April 2017
Contents
Editorial
Industry News
Designers You Should Know: PARTISANS
Columnist: Why Your Firm Should Be More Social
Product Focus: Elegantly Waiting
Product Briefs
HD Expo Preview
ICFF Preview
Eurostar Lounge
Four Seasons Kyoto
Aquavit London
La ForĂȘt Noire
Esperanza
Tusk
From Concept to Execution
Designers Select: Hospitality
Sources
Ad Index
Mountaintop Dining Connects to Nature
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - Contract Magazine - April 2017
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - Cover2
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 1
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 2
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 3
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 4
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 5
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - Contents
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 7
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 8
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 9
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 10
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 11
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 12
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 13
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 14
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 15
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 16
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 17
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - Editorial
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 19
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 20
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 21
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - Industry News
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 23
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 24
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 25
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - Designers You Should Know: PARTISANS
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 27
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - Columnist: Why Your Firm Should Be More Social
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 29
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 30
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 31
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - Product Focus: Elegantly Waiting
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 33
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - Product Briefs
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 35
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 36
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 37
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 38
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 39
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - HD Expo Preview
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 41
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - ICFF Preview
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 43
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 44
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 45
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 46
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 47
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 48
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 49
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - Eurostar Lounge
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 51
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 52
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 53
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 54
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 55
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 56
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 57
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - Four Seasons Kyoto
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 59
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 60
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 61
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 62
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 63
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 64
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 65
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - Aquavit London
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 67
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 68
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 69
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 70
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 71
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - La ForĂȘt Noire
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 73
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 74
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 75
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 76
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 77
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - Esperanza
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 79
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 80
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 81
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 82
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 83
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 84
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 85
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - Tusk
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 87
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 88
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 89
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - From Concept to Execution
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 91
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 92
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 93
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 94
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 95
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 96
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 97
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - Designers Select: Hospitality
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 99
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - Sources
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - Ad Index
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 102
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - 103
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - Mountaintop Dining Connects to Nature
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - Cover3
Contract Magazine - April 2017 - Cover4
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