12 Questions for Luis Urculo

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By Diana Budds / Published by Dwell
I've long been intrigued by the overlap of design, art, and architecture, and one of the most interesting practitioners working in that realm today is Madrid-based Luis Urculo, whose works tread—and test—the boundaries between the mediums. This Friday, "Jet Lag," Urculo's first solo show in the United States, opens at San Francisco's The Popular Workshop.
12 Questions for Luis Urculo - Photo 1 of 3 - This 2009 installation at La Casa Encendia, an art center in Madrid, is one of my favorite projects by Urculo. In it, he uses graphics printed on the floor to show how people move through a space.

This 2009 installation at La Casa Encendia, an art center in Madrid, is one of my favorite projects by Urculo. In it, he uses graphics printed on the floor to show how people move through a space.

12 Questions for Luis Urculo - Photo 2 of 3 - As time passes, the carpet of multi-layered paint wears down to reveal where the most traffic occurs.

As time passes, the carpet of multi-layered paint wears down to reveal where the most traffic occurs.

Trying to pin down what's coursing through Urculo's mind by looking at his work is quite a tough feat. He is, after all, "interested in all that is peripheral to architecture—the processes, developments and approaches that can be manipulated, sampled and translated into other scales."

Urculo's works range from household objects arranged to look like famous works of architecture, to design hotels, to art cars, to treating an entire estate as a a canvas for performative pieces. When I ask him about the new works to be exhibited in "Jet Lag," I receive a response that's as ambiguous as the peripheral field he occupies: "Still life and the theme of accumulation are starting points. I used structures, found objects, coded diagrams, and the reconstruction of possible memories as material to create the pieces," he wrote via email. To get a better understanding of what that might result in, I posed a few questions.

12 Questions for Luis Urculo - Photo 3 of 3 -

Lucky Break:

When flights are on time.

Dream commission:

To design an opera set.

Hero:

Carlo Mollino

Annoying phrase:

"Aren't you going to BUILD anything soon?"

Currently reading:

The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq.

Last film watched:

"White Nights" by Luchino Visconti.

Best advice:

Things take time.

Worst-ever idea:

Fast-food.

When not designing:

Cooking for my office. We're very much like a family and stop for an hour and a half each day to cook, talk, and eat.

The best seat in the house:

A Wegner sofa for a quick nap.

Wish you had met:

The director Busby Berkeley.

Looking forward to:

Seeing everyone at The Popular Workshop opening on Friday!


"Jet Lag: New Works by Luis Urculo" runs from January 20th to February 24th at The Popular Workshop, 1173 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA, 94109. An opening reception will be held Friday, January 20th, from 6:00-10:00 PM.