Friday Five with Nico Marques
Nico Marques was raised in Portugal but found himself in Los Angeles to study at SciARC, where he received his Master’s Degree in architecture. After spending years working at various architectural firms in LA doing residential design, he began coordinating photo shoots for the firm. After one unsupervised shoot didn’t work out, Marques was sent on his own to shoot the project himself, and the rest, as they say, is history. With that, he set up his Nico Marques / Photekt brand in 2009, merging his love and background in architecture with his passion for photography. Since then, his name and work can be seen alongside the top architecture firms, displayed in museum galleries, and splashed across the pages of every magazine you can imagine. For this Friday Five, we take a look at the places and spaces that keep this photographer inspired.
I grew up on our family-owned vineyard in Northern Portugal, the Quinta de Santa Cruz, and thus have learned to appreciate the fruits of the land and the necessary processes behind agricultural production from an early age. I try to return every year for harvest, as there is something very calming, fulfilling, and grounding in the hard work that results in a good bottle of wine (or several thousand bottles…). The added bonus is of course the opportunity to be able to spend time at home with family… drinking good wine together.
2. The Third Space
Oldenburg’s concept of community-building by focusing on the “place away from home and work” is fascinating to me, in large part due to my training in architecture. Thus, I find myself analyzing how permanent or temporary inhabitants interact with the spaces around them, and I am often surprised by the results. The Deleuzian “what does it do” comes to mind, and lately many businesses have begun to consciously create spots that encourage social interaction and “mixing” within their spaces. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, for example, has introduced their new design prototype, which among other “social elements” includes a large communal table in the center of the store. The concept of sharing a table with strangers at restaurants is something quite common in many European countries, and I am pleased to see this tradition slowly take hold in Los Angeles.
3. Los Angeles
I came here to pursue my studies in architecture at Sci-ARC and to live in the sun, and soon thereafter I was hooked. Most people agree that it is not the most picturesque city, and some might even argue that LA is not a city at all due to its balkanized nature and lack of a traditional center. It is, however, the most fascinating, inspiring, vibrant, grimy yet glitzy place in which I have ever lived, and the amount of daily variety encountered, the mosaic of cultures, as well as the incredible wealth of architectural gems is truly staggering. I like to say that being an architectural photographer in Los Angeles is like being a kid in a candy store, after having consumed a super-sized Coke…
Overlay of patterns, multiple visual levels creating configurations and arrangements are elements I seek out in architecture, photography, art, and even music and literature. I am attracted to this type of perceived depth as it creates a sense of discovery and sometimes awe once one stops to really look or listen. From Elliott Erwitt’s images to Massive Attack’s excursions this might be the visual and acoustical counterpart to slow food.
The parallels of food preparation and artistic processes are well documented, which probably explains why I enjoy cooking so much. The other part of the equation is that I like eating, and that I get a kick out of my occasionally successful attempts to reverse engineer tastes and textures I have experienced in eateries around the world. This comes from my mom, who also planted the seed regarding clean, well-designed and highly functional kitchens. Bulthaup Kitchens to me are the ultimate culinary working environments for a home, stunning to look at while meticulously engineered for functionality.
Photos by Nico Marques / Photekt.