AW² is an international architecture and interior design agency based in Paris.
With projects in 40 different countries, the studio has an international reputation
for high-end sustainable design.
The studio covers all project typologies including hospitality, education, commercial and residential.
The studio has received several awards over the years including the MIPIM Best Hotel Award
for the Six Senses Con Dao resort, the Build Architecture Award for Best International Architecture & Design Studio – Paris, and four nominations for the AFEX Grand Prize in French Overseas Architecture for Six Senses Con Dao in Vietnam, the Lycée Français in Amman, Jordan, Ani Private Resort & Art Academy in Sri Lanka and
Kasiiya Papagayo eco-lodge in Costa Rica.
Our approach to design is more an open working process rather than a strict theoretical or stylistic framework by which we abide. For us, architecture is more ‘how’ than ‘what’. These simple facts have made us develop a method based on understanding the context, analysing the existing conditions, defining a strategy and inventing a project. The studio’s work can be articulated around four key steps:
the problem and the context
The idea becomes central
to our work process
it is nurtured and developed into the design at every stage and scale. These allow us to both give a strong direction – or meaning – to our designs and develop a unique formal language to each project. Initiating a project at AW² is all about questioning. It is about defining the conditions that surround the project and about setting, with our client, the ambitions of the project. We challenge both conditions and ambitions at the early stages of our work in order to avoid preconceptions and give us a deeper understanding of what we are trying to achieve. Challenging the conditions will give us context. Challenging the ambitions will give us user experience.
AW² embarks on the design of each project
through a bioclimatic approach
that allows to question and position ourselves very early on regarding optimal site implantation, building envelope ‘intelligence’, coherence with local resources and optimization of energy use. How a building or a designed environment is experienced is the essence of our work. We organise views, functions, materials to create the strongest possible experience of the site, the surrounding spaces and the building. This is enriched, often, through the use of local cultural elements that are reinterpreted into our architecture. A strong identity with a sense of place or belonging will make the experience unique.
We give the word its widest possible meaning. It is about the physical site we have to work with, about its conditions and how it relates to its direct environment. But this information is only part of what we look for, as we take many other elements into account: climate, culture, programme, regulations, economics, construction techniques, local know how, materials, tradition… An analysis of the different elements will make a singular ‘context’ for the project. This is the ‘inherent intelligence’ of the site. For each project, this is used to give meaning to our choices and to guide our design strategy.