Founder of Danish studio BIG and Dubai to Abu Dhabi Hyperloop designer Bjarke Ingels reveals the anxiety and pressure he feels to create “extraordinary” architecture in a new documentary about his life and work.
Titled BIG Time, the film follows the 42-year-old from boardroom to construction sites taking in his Via 57 West “courtscraper” in New York, along with his Mountain Dwellings housing and Danish Maritime Museum in Copenhagen.
“To see abstract ideas become concrete reality is what it’s all about,” says Ingels. “We want to give to the world something it has not yet seen, and therefore does not fit into the any of the boxes.”
A trailer for the film is punctuated by ominous flashes of brain scans, later revealed to belong to Ingels, who suffered a concussion during the course of the documentary’s filming.
“I got a concussion and since then, I’ve had more or less a constant headache,” he says. “The thing about a concussion is that you have to try to relax as much as possible. But that is pretty tough.”
Later he alludes to the pressure he feels as the “name” behind his firm.
“There are some expectations that if we create something for the World Trade Center – then of course it has to be something extraordinary and I feel anxious about it because now we have to move fast,” he says.
“Life is probably progressive rather than proportional. If this is where I suddenly become unable to contribute meaningfully you almost just lie down and wait for everything to be over.”
Ingels has also re-purposed a warehouse in Abu Dhabi, Warehouse421, which now serves as a culture and arts hub. Read our interview with the architect here.