Through the series Creativity Chronicles, we catch a behind-the-scenes glimpse behind the work and vision of the creatives that together shape the collective and what it represents.
I sat down with the founders of A Collective, an architecture studio founded by Patricia Grech and Steven Risiott, which roots itself in contextual design and seeks to enrich the local architecture scene while enhancing the quality of life of the end user.
Tell us something about yourself, something not related to your project/design or business.
Besides being business partners, we’re life partners. When we’re not at work, you’ll find us lying on a beach soaking up some rays or snorkelling to our hearts content.
When was the first time you had any idea about your project/design/company?
We were both interested in architecture from a very young age but never envisaged we’d open our own studio so early on in our career. We decided to take the plunge in September 2014 after having worked together for a number of years, it just felt like the right time. Life’s short, take risks…
Does your project/design/company have a significant name? If so, what is the meaning behind it and how did it come about?
We never wanted the studio to be just about us. We started the studio in an attempt to bring together like-minded individuals who collectively put together a greater project. As a result we steered away from the traditional trend of self-named architecture practices and named the studio ‘A Collective’. The ‘A’ in this case stands for Architecture.
Did you gain a formal education in creativity? What, do you feel, played an important role in your creativity?
We are both warranted architects but we feel that creativity is not something you learn. You can study the fundamentals of aesthetics and proportions but passion and creativity are innate. You can fuel creativity but you cannot build a muse.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
The rhythm and perfection in nature.
When you first started thinking about your project/design/company, did you think you would be in the place you are now? Is it where you hoped to be?
The success of our studio far exceeded our expectations, although we put a lot of hard work into the studio, we never thought we would get this far so soon. We are grateful for all those who put their trust in us and are sincerely humbled whenever fellow colleagues as well other creatives praise us for our work. That said we keep setting more ambitious targets to ensure we don’t get too comfortable, this gives us drive and motivation.
Have you won any awards, recognition, etc., for projects/designs?
Not yet ☺ We’re still in the early stages of our career.
What has been the most highlighted event/milestone for you, so far?
Obtaining planning permits for contemporary architecture projects despite the friction and uphill battle we face with the Planning Authority.
Do you still feel that same passion about your business as when you first started, or when you had the initial idea?
Definitely, when the passion dies down it’s time to move on. The obstacles and challenges we face on a daily basis give us the strength and drive to push harder to achieve our goals. We’re doing what we truly love and couldn’t imagine any other future.
What most helped you get to where you are now and what helped you follow through with your ideas?
We had a lot of support from our families and friends but we’ve also been very determined to make this happen. Hard work pays off and it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate your successes along the way.
If you could start the project over again, what would you change or do differently?
There’s no looking back. We’re proud of where we are today, of course we’ve made mistakes because we’ve taken risks but it’s useless dwelling on the past. You learn from your mistakes and move forward.
What is the one thing that you want people to come away with when they see/use your design, purchase your product, or get to know of your company?
We hope that our architecture changes people’s lives for the better. We hope that the spaces we shape enrich the quality of life of the end user.