ROLLS-ROYCE • FULL INTERVIEW WITH ARCHITECT SVETOZAR ANDREEV
Updated: Jun 29
"The Heart Of Malta: A Modern Jewel In The Mediterranean Crown." Rolls-Royce St.Petersburg.
Hello, my name is Daria Kalinina. I am an art expert. Today we will be talking with architect and designer Svetozar Andreev, an creator of The Heart Of Malta project.
I interviewed you some time ago, and when I read back over my notes from that occasion,it struck me that your two life mottos,“Pursue the impossible” and “The future is now”, come together very nicely in the Heart of Malta. The project is a symbol, and very timely one, that stands as a reflection of the indomitable human spirit. Can you tell me what the Heart of Malta means for you? The Heart of Malta is a very personal project. The dramatic history of the Azure Window, destroyed by a storm in March 2017, represented a perfect way for me to express my approach to the theme of our interaction with nature, as well as my understanding of the space which human culture occupies in the natural context, and the space which architecture occupies in the context of modern culture.
The gleaming, spectral form of an Azure Window made from steel, reflecting the sky, the land, and the sea, is a hugely powerful symbol, one which challenges both the elements and time itself. It truly reflects the theme of the interaction between the manmade and the natural, of downfall and resurgence, as the fundamental leitmotif of contemporary culture.
And so, the Heart Of Malta is a collective symbol of tragic obduracy in the face of the forces of nature, with which humankind masters the laws of physics, flies into the Cosmos, strives to break free from the bounds of the natural environment, and develops new technology in all areas of science.
At the same time, we must not forget that humanity and human consciousness are an integral part of nature, they live by her immutable laws, and our culture is nothing but a reflection of nature itself. This paradox is key to understanding what I have put into this project, by compelling an ultra-modern, reflective steel structure to interact with its natural setting.
As to the project`s structural aspect:
Today we hold in our hands unlimited possibilities in terms of materials, technology and means of self-expression, and our civilisation strives towards tomorrow. In contrast to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, we no longer build cathedrals, which incorporated all the cultural achievements of that time into a unified whole. We do, however, still feel the need today to bring all our knowledge together into centres that reflect our current perception of the world,
And so, the Heart of Malta is a very apt example of the ultimate integration of meaning and architecture, which will become not only an outstanding monument to the original Azure Window, but will also come to mean what the cathedrals embodied for people in the past - the quintessence of our entire culture. It may be for this reason that this symbolical and cultural context of the Heart Of Malta project, has stirred the hearts of so many people all over the world.
Your project is very multifaceted: what will we see if we stand inside the arch itself?
The inner space of the complex takes the form of a helical spiral, creating five levels which are deliberately designed to host digital exhibitions dedicated to the history of Malta, and the wider world, to culture, the arts, design and science. and the complex`s multifunction exhibition space will allow not only the hosting of themed digital exhibitions, but also concerts, TV and internet broadcasts, lectures, and other special events. with dynamic video-projections across the whole interior of the complex.
This totally unique concept has not as yet been realised in any of the world`s cultural centres, it has unlimited possibilities for continuous further development. Therefore, our idea is the first example of a museum of virtual art. This concept will be an outstanding addition to the dramatic architecture of the Heart of Malta itself.
Undoubtedly, this approach to the museum’s design will make it an absolutely unique attraction, not only for the residents of Maltese Islands, but also for visitors from other countries. We are confident that this project represents an outstanding investment for the future of Malta and Gozo.
If I understand correctly, you are creating not only a visual symbol, but also a powerful economic tool, which will bring unprecedented interest from the tourism sector to the site?
From the moment that my project was first published, several hundred articles have appeared in some of the largest media outlets in Europe, Asia, and North and South America
Aside from the main news and professional architectural outlets, huge interest in the project has been expressed by publications and periodicals in the tourism sector, such as National Geographic, Geo, Conde Nast Traveller and many others. Therefore, analyzing the reaction from the world`s press, and seeing that articles have continued to appear ever since the project was first presented, we have been given meaningful confirmation of the project`s success.
Another very important aspect should be mentioned here: Malta has very close links to the film industry. The cultural and natural landscape of Malta is like a ready-made film set. Malta has been involved in the production of a huge number of movies, including Gladiator, Troy, and any number of other popular films. The Azure Window has featured many times in numerous films, and if this icon could appear again as a new architectural landmark it will be outstanding location for the advertising and film industries.
I know that a whole range of well-known companies have already expressed an interest in taking part in this unique project?
Everyone takes an interest in significant projects which enable them to showcase their strengths, so yes, a great many leading European companies have responded entusiastically to our invitation to take part in the Heart of Malta. If I may, I would like to highlight a few of them:
FLOS – Italy`s long established leader in lighting design and manufacture, which has worked with some of the world`s largest companies, including, Tesla, Apple, and practically all of Europe`s largest fashion houses.
VONDOM – the world`s leading manufacturer of avant-garde outdoor furniture collections for hotel chains, restaurants and tourist resorts, working with world best designers.
We have also invited OUCHHH – the world renowned art and design group, which creates electronic and digital exhibitions using artificial intelligence.
We have also received support from the TECHNION institute, specifically from PhD Alec Groysman, Doctor of Chemistry, (chairman of the Israeli Society of Chemical Engineers), and one of the world's leading corrosion experts, whose recommendations for the use of stainless steels in marine environments proved invaluable during the design process for this project.
And also, SOLARLUX and CERO – two companies which create advanced glazing solutions for façades and interiors, and which have been awarded many prizes for innovative design. whose clients and partners include famous architectural bureaux, such as Zаha Hadid Architects.
In addition to the main design, we sent a joint presentation to the Maltese government, which included these and other companies, in order to demonstrate our readiness to bring together leading specialists from around the world to make the Heart of Malta a reality.
Every country has its own visual symbol, after all art stands apart from time and politics. It seems to me that the Heart of Malta is just such a kind of powerful visual monument reflecting the Maltese character?
There are many outstanding examples of significant architecture: The Louvre`s glass pyramid, Bilbao`s Guggenheim Museum Sydney`s Opera House, Mexico`s Museo Soumaya, Mt.Rushmore in the United States, – all these are examples of outstanding architecture which have gone on to become national symbols. To a great extent, they shape the image of the countries which gave the green light to their creation. But today, art is politics – art no longer stands apart from its time, it shapes it.
On the subject of the Maltese character, what I see in the monuments to Malta`s past is a palpable sense of decisiveness, courage, and the ability to defend the nation`s independence. From the ancient megaliths to the impregnable bastions of Valletta, - this character is visible everywhere, and the history of Malta contains many examples of this character, from the Great Siege of the 16th century to the glorious defence of Malta during the Second World War, these are all examples of incredible courage.
Today, the Maltese people are seeking a balance between the desire to retain their individuality and their aspiration to develop further. For this reason, Maltese society is quite strongly divided in their views on the future of the islands.
Nonetheless, time marches implacably on, and now is the time for the Maltese to once again show their erstwhile courage and decisiveness, to turn the archipelago into a modern jewel in the Mediterranean crown, with its own distinct culture which is oriented on the future, and which lives not only on monuments from the past, but also by creating new values for today.
Do you think that there is a connection between the aesthetics of Rolls-Royce and the Heart of Malta?
As with any exclusive design product, the Rolls-Royce concept has its own strict inner logic, which flows from one model to the next. It is built on the synthesis of cultural codes, which create an image that is both unique and well thought through.
It is not difficult to see how the shapes and forms of automobiles from the 1920s and 1930s, from post-Victorian England’s high society, shine through contemporary design. Notwithstanding the absence of any outward similarity to more familiar forms of retro-futurism. This concept is based on its principal theme – a nostalgic view of the past.
The marque`s demonstrative conservatism of Rolls-Royce is a declaration of the values and now-lost way of life of aristocratic Europe, transformed into the aesthetic code of the “new aristocratism”,and a new interpretation of the concept of individuality. It isn’t difficult to see that the Heart of Malta is built and shaped on the same principles of cultural reference points, where the nostalgic silhouette of the natural arch that was destroyed by the sea shines through the contemporary form.
In this way, in its use of these cultural codes, it is possible to discern a certain structural affinity between the aesthetic of the Heart of Malta and that of Rolls-Royce.
Svetozar, thank you for such an interesting conversation. We are confident that such projects, like the Heart Of Malta, is a reflection of intellectual beauty of the ideas of their creators!
Thank you! And thank you for this interview! I hope, it will be interesting not only for the Russian audience, but also for residents of Maltese Islands.
Interview by Daria Kalinina
Supported by Rolls-Royce. St.Petersburg
English Subtitles. Duration: 15min.
The Heart Of Malta Project / The Azure Window Memorial Museum.
Idea, Architecture & Interior Design: architect Svetozar Andreev.
Copyright © Svetozar Andreev 2018-2020. All rights reserved.
The Svetozar Andreev Architectural Studio “Hotei-Russia”
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