SA Lab founders, Stepan Kukharskiy and Alina Chereyskaya. Photo by Margarita Gerasimova
SA Lab’s Stepan Kukharskiy and Alina Chereyskaya: “With the fast development of neural networks and AI that we see now in different fields, architecture will soon be influenced by these technologies, too, from design stages all the way up to construction work.”
How are innovative technologies changing retail and its future?
“Retail is changing now in many ways. For example, with online technologies brands are getting closer to their customers. Any product can be bought online now, without leaving home. Retail needs less and less shops as a physical space now. And development of AI will bring more changes in the future”.
What does your firm do?
“SA Lab works in the field of architecture with algorithmic methods and computational design approach. The key idea in SA Lab works is adaptability. Mixing math, engineering, architecture, computer programming and architecture, we form a design approach relevant to the high speed of modern life. The scale of SA Lab projects varies from small architectural forms to development of urban areas. Some of our projects are rather untraditional for architects. For example, an algorithm, based on cellular automaton, that design masterplans, or a script that designs bike paths”.
Who are your biggest influences? Who do you admire? Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?
“We admire people whose vision and determination helped them change the world”.
Where does your inspiration come from?
“SA Lab is a team of young architects, driven by apassion for architecture and a desire to create something new that has never been seen before. We are full of energy and determination to do our best in the profession, and to show the world our vision. We get inspiration from various sources: context, materials and the way we can use them, collaboration with other experts, and things around us. But sometimes ideas just come to us unexpectedly”.
What is your professional vision?
“SA Lab is focused on adaptive architecture. We use computational design and parametric approach to create flexible buildings and spaces in between ‘today’s’ and ‘tomorrow’s’ needs”.
How do you approach a new project?
“Our experience lets us form a special design methodology, which consists of three parts: search, code, and design. We start every project with a thorough research of context, environment and other parameters, which are the most important for the current project. These parameters are then merged into one system by means of code and algorithms, which become the basis for design tools, which we develop individually for each project. Thus, final design of any project by SA Lab is based on the unique parameters, factors and characteristics, important for the design task”.
How do you solve common problems in your field?
“SA Lab is active in social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, etc. We also do lectures, take part in exhibitions, conferences, and other special events, where we share experience with colleagues, talk about our projects and things we do in the laboratory”.
How do you keep up with new technologies and innovation?
“Working on projects, we code a lot and take advantage of different modern software. We use CNC, laser cutters and 3D printers for digital fabrication, prototyping and model making. We try to rethink the ways materials are used and find new approaches in applying them”.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Have fun and love what you do’. This is one of the best advices we have ever received. Architecture is not about beautiful pictures. That;s just 1% of what architects really do. Every day architects face many problems on every design stage, from concept to construction, like budget restraints, communicating with clients, technical difficulties, etc. Having fun, solving these problems, and facing all this madness is a way to keep the passion for what you do and produce an excellent design in the end”.
What is still your biggest challenge?
“To create a dream team for every project. We always try to find the best experts, consultants, and builders for each stage of the design process. And it’s hard to find high level professionals”.
What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?
“It’s about architectural competitions. A loss in a competition is not the end. There are many ways in which a current loss can bring many positive consequences with time”.
Where do you see the future of your field, and yourself in it?
“With the fast development of neural networks and AI that we see now in different fields, architecture will soon be influenced by these technologies, too, from design stages all the way up to construction work. We see SA Lab as one of the leading architectural offices specializing in computational design and algorithmic architecture”.
What’s next for you?
“We are currently working on different projects: pavilions, public spaces, hotels and others. We have an opportunity and passion to make stunning architecture worldwide”.
Please fill in the blank: The future of retail design is….
“…in getting more autonomous and closer to a customer”.