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‘Cecil Balmond ist aber mehr als Ingenieur, Architekt und Designer – er ist auch Forscher, Dozent und Künstler.’ – ’Cecil Balmond is more than an engineer, architect and designer – he is also a researcher, lecturer and artist.’ The Luxemburger Wort features a Q&A with Cecil Balmond after attending his lecture at the ArcelorMittal HQ last month. Click Read More for full translation.

‘Cecil Balmond is one of the greats. A native of Sri Lanka he is probably best known in Luxembourg for the ArcelorMittal Orbit tower at the Olympics in London, which he designed together with the artist Anish Kapoor. Cecil Balmond is more than an engineer, architect and designer – he is also a researcher, lecturer and artist. For his work, he has been honored with prestigious awards. When he was recently a guest at ArcelorMittal in Luxembourg, he answered a few questions from the press. Talking of his design approach and materials with which he works, Cecil Balmond answered. “I do not choose the first building material, but an organizing system then an organizational pattern develops. I make the stencil and then decide on the scope of the works. The material comes into play so the size of which has received a certain arrangement, The choice of structure is the last stage.”

How important is it to take account of environmental protection and sustainability in architecture?

“This question is difficult to answer. At the moment it is popular to answer this question with ‘Anything’. I do not believe in sustainability in the way as it is recognized and chased by police of CO2. It has to be something much deeper in the sense that everything that you do, is sustainable. A good idea, for example, is sustainable because it leads other people to invest in the environment.” He does not believe in reducing architecture to this question.

“For me, sustainability is a much deeper agenda and is difficult to define. It is the way in which we use the world, and that has to do with ideas. You have to continuously develop new ideas and the material of these systems. Especially in politics and the economy will sustainable agendas play an important role, not in the technical sense, but in the way people organize their lives, use their products, are nourished and continue moving. During his short stay in the country Cecil Balmond visited Esch-Belval and the Kirchberg. At Belval he was especially interested in how the blast furnaces were obtained:

“The future can offer a very exciting sight surrounded by modern buildings. Luxembourg seems to have an experimental approach, whether intentionally or not. I was surprised at the number of EU institutions that are based in the Grand Duchy. This I was not aware. Luxembourg has gained an importance for me. It is a small country, which mediates between its neighbours and the entrepreneurial adaptability I regard as a good sign.”