Considered one of the brightest minds in the emerging Italian architecture scene, Stefano Belingardi despite his young age has a lot of projects accomplished. Architecture is his passion of life, which led him to build buildings from Italy to Berlin, Barcelona and Panama. The structure, the skeleton of the building is the soul of every one of his projects, which manages to make dynamic thanks to a vibrant and rational vision of the spaces at the same time. The technological and structural aspect is in fact the hallmark of the productions of BE.ST, the international architectural firm he founded, not yet thirty.

1 – What is your training and what background do you have?

I studied in the faculty Mario Botta of Mendrisio University of Architecture, then I moved to Barcelona for a year, then to Scotland, to the Glasgow School of Art, where I graduated cum laude with the best project of the year. After completing my studies, I went to work in the Miracles studio in Shanghai, then to Daniel Libeskind, and finally to Cino Zucchi.

2 – Who do you consider a master, a reference architect?

Christian Keretz, for the strength through which he expresses and highlights the Then Carlo Scarpa, for the ability to define even the smallest details, to work from the structure to the decoration, with a timeless elegance.

3 – How did your adventure begin as a professional?

In Berlin and Milan. At the beginning I was shuttling between the two cities, until I settled in Milan, where my first important project was the Telecom HQs.
I still work a lot abroad, especially in Panama and Portugal, where I am completing a complex of around one hundred villas and a ‘Club House’. In Italy, however, I won the tender for the buildings that will host the Italian army. I realize many projects with private clients, especially apartments and luxury houses. I have explored the world of retail with spaces for Frankie Morello, Bugatti, Richmond. I also designed furniture and design pieces, some of which were exhibited during the last Salone del Mobile. Often they were made expressly for one of my projects and then rethought for distribution and sale.

4 – You started your own BE.ST studio, how was it born and how did you structure your team?

We are approximately seven, then depending on the complexity of the project we can also reach ten people. Some of the collaborators came from Mendrisio, from my own university, others started with an internship and then stayed with me.

5 – What are your projects published by the prestigious Domus magazine?

The project for the Telecom headquarters and the design pieces I exhibited at the fair.

6 – Which of your projects are you most attached to?

The tower of Panama, in the historic area of the city. It is an idea that is having a long gestation to be able to obtain approval from the municipality. Yet it will indeed be a project of great strength and impact: a 35-story building.

7 – How do you design a project? Where do you start from?

I start from the structure, trying to make what is functional aesthetic and beautiful. I often start with the structural grid that traces the project itself; the pillar becomes the strong point of my idea of space. I prefer rational and linear shapes, broken by curves and unexpected elements: they are dynamic spaces with multiple functions.

8 – Although your studio is quite young, you’ve accomplished many projects, how did you do it?

We could say that it is a mix of elements that work: architecture is a true passion to which I dedicate 98% of my life, then there is the talent and also the many contacts that I managed to create for myself, traveling around the world .

9 – What advice would you give to a young person who starts your work?

One has to be aware of a lot of things: it is important to travel, to create a network, to know how to tell about one’s work, to be able to represent and explain one’s projects in the best possible way, enter the client’s psychology, understand how one thinks. It is really fundamental to interpret the needs and wishes of the client through his own stylistic code: understanding the context, the territory and the place where we are.

10 – What will the architecture of the future look like?

Without filters. Everything will be open space, great unique environments, which will reflect the immediacy of our time. Today’s society is linked to aesthetics, appearance, while I am interested in the functional aspect, in the process. I like to closely monitor every phase of my construction sites, how design evolves and changes in construction technology. My research will be more and more oriented towards materials technology, towards simpler and more functional forms and towards the definition of a completely interactive environment.

11 – The project you still have to imagine?

Something that remains over time, that can represent me in an iconic way.

Interview by Alessio De’ Navasques
Photo by Andrea Buccella