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Antoine Navarro talks building memories through the design of buildings
When we think about elements of a design, we tend to focus on its visual components or its physical appearance. Our minds instinctively carry toward traits like color, texture, and shape. We look for combinations that aesthetically please our minds and unique formations we haven't ever seen before.

What we tend not to consider, however, is the way in which design influences our lives. It shapes us as a society, acting as a basis for our cultural makeup and ultimately, a foundation for our societal values. It is everywhere around us, buried deep within us, and brought to life before our eyes by talented individuals like architect designer, Antoine Navarro.

"I am an observer of nature. Naturally curious, I look at everything with interrogative eyes. That's what sparked my interest in design. I like to learn how things work, or why they're shaped a certain way. It's all about figuring out the secret to the way the world functions. I think I got that from my mother who was an artist. I remember being with her, looking at books full of art and painting boundlessly together. Ever since I was able to draw, I'd take my sketchbook around with me and translate my surroundings into designs," said Navarro.

Today, Navarro has established a remarkable career out of that very admiration for his surroundings. His days revolve around his work; however, for him, work is simply a way to explore his inner passions. When he begins his day, he attempts to catch up on the latest world news in his country as a result of his belief that economics, politics, and spirituality are the greatest influencers of design. He then takes the necessary steps to keep up with whichever projects he has on the go before he focuses his efforts on researching and creating. He draws, 3D models, resolves design issues, and much much more. Finally, he meets with his team members to check on their progress and determine how best to structure the following day. It is a labor of love and he considers himself lucky to be able to make a living out of his interest in architecture and design.

Despite the fact that Navarro has designed for a number of prestigious projects throughout his career, he always attempts to think back on his previous works to identify areas of strength and areas for future improvement so that he can keep his content as fresh and polished as possible. When he does so, he often thinks back to one of the earliest projects in his career, working with ARK Associates Ltd., for their Villa Island project. This residential project helped to shape his career and he credits it as being an important part of his current architectural wherewithal.

For the project, Navarro was tasked with designing ten luxury villas on Lantau Island in Hong Kong. As the main design architect on the project, he was entrusted to grasp his client's vision for the villas and to bring an element of his own Western and French heritage into a mix with Chinese design customs. Per his client's request, each villa would be a three story, modern style house with the same surface area as those that surrounded it. With this in mind, Navarro had to determine how best to create a compact layout plan, as well as an interesting elevation for the house that guests would be taken aback by.

The plan that Navarro developed was clear and concise, ensuring that their goal of blending the living space with its surrounding gardens was maintained. In order to do so, lots of open concept blueprints were created and the villas were designed to have ample amounts of glass for natural light and views of the surrounding nature. Ultimately, he wanted his designs to be bold and eye-catching, which is why he chose to make the villas stark white buildings in the middle of such lush greenery.

Though each building was created the same, Navarro made a point of developing a flexible house plan so that the design elements in each villa could be similar but unique by their own right. All of the interior pieces were organized differently throughout each villa; however, all of the buildings themselves were identical. He used a modern style to emphasize the simplicity of the house and to give them a special presence in the middle of such tropical nature. He was proud of what he achieved for his clients and considers it to have been a very impactful project to have at the outset of his career.

Ultimately, for Navarro, this allowed him to showcase his prowess as an architect designer, but more importantly, helped him to fulfill his desire to have an impact on the lives of others through his artistry. Knowing that this was a residential project and that real people were going to live in each villa inspired him to bring forth only the highest calibre of work.

"There's something so satisfying to me about working on a residential project and picturing its future tenants enjoying it. To me, that's the true nature of an architect — someone who builds more than just a roof over people's heads. An architect builds a home, or an oasis. I was delighted to see this housing project come to life with such success. It is no longer my project, but will carry out its own life and history. The villas house families and I know that at the end of the day, my work will produce memories. I feel very humbled and proud to know that and can't wait for my next residential endeavour," he concluded.

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