Interview: Jorge Mealha


Name: Jorge Mealha

Where do you live: Lisbon

Known for:
Lisbon is known for its beautiful light, appraisal way of life and gentle inhabitants.

When did you realize that you were going to work with this?
I realized that I would like to express myself mainly as an architect when I was in my twenties, after trying graphic design, photography and engraving.

If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why?
Maybe a remote place somewhere in Japan. I really admire the sophisticated expression of their traditions.

How would you describe your creativity?
As a quite natural way of expressing my thoughts about how form and space interacts with persons. As a kind of natural selection process of paths suggested by while designing.

How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner?
A while ago, maybe since university.

What do you do at the moment?
I am evolved with several projects. One of them is a kind of community center for the Japanese community in Portugal. Other one dealt with detached houses carefully designed but with quite affordable prices.

A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business?
To be tolerant towards others’ ideas. Learn and enjoy as much as possible what you do. And believe in yourself, in what you have to say.

Tell us how it all started.
It all started in an adapted bedroom of one apartment in a Lisbon neighbourhood. A few (a lot of few) books, one computer, one printer, one drawing board a lot of paper, a lot of pencils and an optimistic perspective towards life.

What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you?
The corner to share and discuss ideas.

What is your favorite film?
Eternity and a Day, from Theo Angelopoulos. Or Sunset Boulevard from Oscar Wilde.

Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why?
With architect Balkrishna V. Doshi. Because he is a really experienced and wise man. With luck I would enjoy his thoughts and learn something.

How do you like to spoil yourself?
Managing to have nothing to do and read a book near the sea, listening the wind.

What is luxury for you?
Enjoying life. Be capable of taking advantage of simple gestures in our relations and the nature that surrounds us.

What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom?
When I felt that a person really enjoys experiencing a building designed by me. Or when a student discovers that he/she is capable of unimaginable achievements and his/her eyes shine accomplice.

What do you fear most?
A society of ignorance.

What is a happy life to you?
A natural life, who enjoys friendship and nature.

What does a regular day look like for you?
A nice journey. A new period to do what I like.

Tell us about your dream project.
Be able to help to build houses for those who have nothing, in an integrated strategy capable of provide water and means to produce food for them.

Who is your professional role model/inspiration?
Louis Khan, when helping Bangladesh to build the national assembly compound in Dhaka.

How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)?
I admire simplicity. I enjoy trying to simplifying things. I have an essentialist regard towards architecture.

Which is the one thing you can’t live without?
The sea. Its color, its sound, its taste.

What inspires you?
Culture. Our collective memory.

A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life?
Brodie’s Report from Jorge Luis Borges and Alexandria’s Quartet (Justine, Balthasar, Mountolive, Clea,) from Lawrence Durrel.

Follow Jorge on Twitter @JorgeMealha
Visit his website
Check out his profile at Portuguese architects
Connect with him on Facebook and via LinkedIn
Check out his collection at Pinterest

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