I found my way towards architecture at 18, trying to find a degree that could balance skills in both practical as well as artistic endeavours. At the Architectural Association, surrounded by incredibly capable and passionate peers, it took me a few years to catch up to their seemingly endless enthusiasm for the profession, and I’ve been hooked ever since. With the benefit of hindsight, I’ve come to realise that my upbringing had a huge impact on my approach to design, though at the time I was too young to be consciously aware of the impact my surroundings had on my development. I was born in Bucharest and at 12 years old moved to London to go to school. The two cities are vastly different, and by switching between them so often I grew up with an intuitive, wide-eyed curiosity to explore and understand the spaces around me.
In my fifth year of university I had somewhat of a revelation. I found a great source of energy and quiet power in the work of Junya Ishigami while studying his conceptual drawings of the Kanagawa Institute of Technology. It’s such an incredible space that balances strong practicality with a sense of ethereal magic – and for me it was transformative. The skill and finesse that talented architects apply to their individual designs blossomed in me a passion that I funnelled towards a continuing endeavour to design amazing spaces, no matter how big or small.
I currently live and work in London and Los Angeles. Studying and practicing in London has conditioned me to have an awareness of creativity, context and commercial value when designing buildings. It is such an incredibly vibrant city, full of history while at the same time remaining a capital at the forefront of cutting edge design in all fields. We learn the value of hard work and collaborate with clients and peers who give their all and expect passion and excellence in return. Creative design executed well, that sits perfectly within the context of its urban environment and brings unexpected value for our clients is what drives my designs on a daily basis.
A couple of years ago Michael Katsibas, Ben Adams and I set up KAP Studios and opened offices in LA and London where we are working on projects at a variety of scales, from individual homes for high net-worth private clients as well as hotels and mixed-use developments for established clients such as AEG.
Los Angeles is a surprising city, in stark contrast with other European capitals. The mix of urban life with the oceanfront and incredibly temperate climate makes it the ideal place to work – and as an architect, the opportunity to get creative with designs, materials and colours is exceptionally fulfilling. Being able to balance the London drive and understanding of urban context with the colourful ingenuity of LA is a perfect example of the dual nature of architecture and the way we are pushed to always balance practicality and creativity in our work.