The Travel Architect
A Different Lens Magazine shines a spotlight on the outstanding architectural talent of Christian Clemares, the Travel Photographer. Inspired by his passion for world travel and the outdoors, Clemares' designs bring the outdoors into spaces. His work focuses on maximising spaces and bringing the natural light inside. A Different Lens editor was delighted to interview Clemares about his work, style and travels. A further photography editorial with Christian will be featured in the near future.
Clemares is based in Hackney, East London, UK. He grew up in Barcelona, studied and lived there until he moved to London after graduation at the age of 26. He has been in London for around 19 years. Clemares started his architectural career with David Chipperfield Architects, who are considered one of the best in the UK. He also worked for big firms like John McAslan & Partners and Richard Rogers.
After 9 years of experience working for big firms and on big scale projects, he decided to have a career change and joined a very small firm in Belsize Park. This company was specialised in high end refurbishments and small interventions. He ended up working there for 6 years on various residential and commercial small-scale projects, which he found much more interesting and accomplishing than working on big developments. Clemares started his own practice 2017, CCASA Architects. Around that time he bought a property with his partner, which he completely refurbished. The result was incredible and that allowed him to showcase his own work to future clients. Clemares won an architectural award for the works to his property.
His goal is to work with creative clients on bigger size projects.
How did you get into architecture?
To be honest, I ended up being an architect by chance.
As the youngest of three, and my siblings being marginally older than me, I learnt to spend a lot of my time on my own and most of it was drawing. I really liked it.
When finishing school, I wanted to keep studying and go to university, but I wasn’t sure what to do. My father was the one who suggested me to try studying Architecture due my drawing skills at the time. As soon as I started studying Architecture, I realised that this was for me.
What do you consider are your greatest designs?
My design approach is always about maximising space and adding as much light as possible. Being mediterranean, I miss the sun and light in this country. All my projects are focused on bringing natural light to all the rooms and avoiding dark spaces.
This is particularly accomplished on my first own project at CCASA Architects with the works at my property. The kitchen and living areas are facing north and previously were dark and sad spaces. With the design approach implemented and the inclusion of glass and openings, these spaces are now light and airy.
The approach of bringing natural light to all spaces and the inclusion of long and framed views in the architecture are considered as my greatest designs in general.
Tell us about your passion for travel.
I simply love travelling. There is something fascinating about meeting people of all cultures and sharing experiences.
It really excites me to know different places with different ways of living. There is no need for exotic places. I feel as excited visiting for example, Germany or Papua New Guinea….
How does travel influence your work?
Architecture is part of anyone’s culture and is incredibly varied.
Even in Spain, where I come from, each city has its own architectural style which I find very interesting.
I always pay attention to architecture on my travels and always take inspiration and ideas for my next projects.
What's on your travel wishlist?
My wishlist is too long! So many amazing places I still want to visit. I should have been in India right now but obviously the trip had to be cancelled for obvious reasons. The Philippines is one of the places on top of my list too.
We have been discussing for a long time doing a long trip, taking time to discover new places and maybe cross from London to Sydney without taking any planes… I wish…
As an architect and designer, how do you achieve client expectations?
I have been in the business for a long time, and I have quite the experience on how things can be done or how difficult are these to be achieved. Considering the size of the project I’m involved with, I am always very careful about balancing money and design aspirations.
I’m always brutally honest with my clients regarding their aspirations, inclduing time and budget constraints. I personally don’t believe that you need to spend a lot of money to achieve a great design. With creativity and good thinking, anything can be achieved.
Your social media encompasses inspiring design, travel and style photography. How do you manage this?
I love travelling and I always take a camera with me to every trip. I guess I look carefully into what to share on social media and try to upload just the best pictures.
Does the work of other architects inspire you?
There are a lot of architects that I admire. Probably because of my roots, I am more inclined to be inspired by Portuguese and Spanish Architects. Contemporary Architecture in these countries is simply amazing.
Some of my favourite all time architects include Souto du Moura, Alvaro Siza, RCR Aranda Pigem Vilalta, Alberto Campo Baeza… so many!
The galleries below include some of Christian's travel photography and architectual designs alongside social media links to his instagram travel and architectural design pages.