THE BRILLIANCE! > Virgil…what’s going on man? How is everything?
VIRGIL ABLOH! > Tap…Tap…is this thing on? What up, another day another dollar.
TB! > You know the next question…what did you enjoy for breakfast this AM?
VA! > Remember when you had breakfast dinner…ah the good ole days. The old morning routine was Einstein’s, Asiago Cheese bagel toasted with garden vegetable and a couple tomato slices but recently its gotten replaced for cinnamon raisin and a honey almond cream cheese. Untoasted, its quicker.
TB! > Tell everyone, however you want, a little bit about yourself.
VA! > When it comes to choosing a title I am an Architect in training. In the future I see myself pushing the role of architect and finding a niche between design and culture. This path has already led itself into various experiences in the realm of creative consulting.
My secret agenda is to find longevity in our representing our culture by way of design and creative thinking. By our culture I mean kids like us who grew up and live in what seems to be a very special time. Obviously, the Jordan era touched us all. As well I am a product of the sensation of lacing up my first pair of Airwalk Prototypes, needing that Jeff Brushie snowboard with the craps-table graphic, and learning a new dj routine. Visually and design oriented I am heavily influenced by glorious 80’s graffiti culture and its evolution to today’s street art. These are very important moments for our niche generation. So by keeping a balance between these lifestyle influences, the skate and hip hop scenes, I want to take design to the mainstream, properly.
TB! > Your bread and butter is Architecture amongst other things…has this been something you were always drawn to? Also, do you know Art VanDelay?
VA! > Art VanDelay sounds like a fake name…hold on imma goggle him…I bet I have something smart to say when I get back too…ha, Seinfeld is conceptually one of the greatest shows TV has ever seen. Kinda like us, The Brilliance, “conceptually taking the cake”…taglines…gotta love’em.
Back to the bread and butter, I am drawn to architecture because it’s a pure form of design. Playing with light, shadow, proportion and materials that effect peoples lives to where they can call a building a home is powerful stuff. To succeed as an architect you have to make assumptions and give suggestions on the way people live …but design is the keyword for me…
TB! > If you it wasn’t architecture, what would you be doing?
VA! > My mind races all day trying to think of the ‘next’ blah, blah, blah. I have a knack visualizing space and objects. I know what I like and why I like it. I chose architecture because it seems and has proven as a great leaping point in terms of design professions. I intend to find out what I can get into that’s the furthest away from practicing architecture, but is an exact application of what I learned in my path to becoming an architect. From architect to AD exec, or architect turned Gucci creative director…I love hearing stories when people compound their careers…it makes sense to me.
TB! > What inspires you everyday…what pushes you to create the next thing?
VA! > It’s that pursuit of causing excitement in an audience.
People watching and observing what other designers are doing is enough inspiration for me. I have a habit of collecting things I find interesting for inspiration that inspire me but none of it compares to clearing my head and walking around the block or switching scenes. The notion that somehow next design will be “it” gives me that …“can’t stop, wont stop”, Diddy kind of attitude.
TB! > Not 100% related to architecture, but what is your favorite sofa of all time? I think it says a lot about a person you know?
VA! > See to me I think of furniture and architecture as the same thing, just in a different scale. Moreover, furniture speaks loud and has personality. Sidebar for a second. Now that our culture is tired of chasing shoes, it is time to step up everything behind the façade. These internet forum photos criticizing unworn sneakers is not progressing the culture. Where is the same criticism of that ugly computer desk in the background? Step your furnishing game up kids.
With all things I convince myself I need, there are a two common traits, commitment to concept and heritage. Crooks & Castles is only a couple seasons in and has a bulletproof concept and pinpoint execution. Instant fan. Goyard, been cool since 1853 and still on the same pattern, love it. I love heritage…you can’t cheat your way around being really old and transcending multiple generations. Exclusivity is proving to be a cheap way at trying to gain old money status.
On that note I am fan of classic pieces nothing obscure …the Mies Barcelona Couch for the German pavilion, a very simple and a very serious piece.
TB! > Cheeseburger or Gyro? Palm trees or pine trees? Teal or aqua? Email everywhere or just the office? 80s or the 90s?
On my 3rd birthday at McDonalds I stacked Big Mac boxes taller than I was with ease. Gotta go with cheeseburgers. Palms trees, “it’s the only place where it’s safe for a gangster to wear sandals.” Teal, especially next to brown, what a killer color combination. Email, is like fire to the modern day man. Deals are won and lost based on response time. 80’s for no other reason than everyone was more experimental in terms of personal style.
TB! > I want to talk about school a little bit…we don’t necessarily ‘slam’ education, but THE BRILLIANCE is famous for not supporting it. But you are quite educated carrying a masters in Architecture. I think that is impressive. Tell us about your education, time at college, experiences and all that…from the actual education end of things, as well the social end of it. Anything you want.
VA! > Ha…I have enough degrees for the both of you, want one? Nah. I am definitely one of those kids who was never big on planning for the future when I was in high school. I was really just into the whole high school thing, ya know. But I always knew I had to stay up on school for no other reason than what my parents sacrificed so much for me to have that opportunity. So whatever, I graduated high school, followed the norm and ended up at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Best decision ever, it’s where I got my swagger. I fell into structural engineering, which was a good decision because I learned a lot, most importantly how to multitask. My motto was 50/50; half my time doing crazy school work the other half hustling and enjoying being in a college town environment. I was fortunate to find an elite crew of kids who paved the way for an amazing 5 year stretch. Just reducing a community to the same age, wants, and ambition is a recipe for Utopia at its finest. I learned what being active in the community will get you. While kids were binge drinking downtown Gabriel and I were hosting soul and hip hop nights, djing and bartending uptown at the local wine bar. I feel like that’s all I did. I was always stressed trying to maintain my 50/50 philosophy, but that lifestyle was superb. No one ever told me life wasn’t always gonna be that much fun.
TB! > Favorite travel destination? Or dream trip?
VA! > My favorite travel destination was an eye opening tour I took hopping through London, Paris, and, Ghana in West Africa a few summers back. It’s just humbling to see and experience what kids our age are up to in different cultures. Traveling is very necessary. My dream trip is tough, I am definitely fascinated by urban conditions and cities are where you see people’s true colors. Obviously Tokyo. For a tropical spot and ice cold Coca Cola in bottles, I wanna make it to South America, someday. Something like Argentina or Brazil. I have heard epic stories of this spot Búzios from my jetsetting friends.
TB! > Dwell or Metropolitan Home?
VA! > Neither, Architectural Digest…yeah right. I don’t know how Digest is an architectural magazine…but anyways, I have a love hate relationship all magazines in general as you will soon find out in later posts…I love what Dwell is doing for modern architecture, its demystifying notions that modern architecture is cold and lifeless. It lets people see inside the life of today’s Architecture, less ‘Modern’ Architecture. Too bad only a few magazines have been able to stay consistent with content. I have been stuck on Wallpaper magazine for my Barnes & Noble architecture fix.
TB! > Favorite car brand?
VA! > Range Rover for the weekends, Mercedes for the commute. Both black on black with teal floor mats. I drive the complete opposite.
TB! > Top three favorite clothing brands and quick reason why.
VA! > Visvim, Louis Vuitton, and Alife. No expense is spared to make certain their concept is apparent in their goods.
TB! > Organize a concert with 5 acts/groups/people dead or alive.
VA! > J. Dilla
Bugz in the Attic
TB! > Favorite movie?
VA! > Beat, Beat, Beat…Beat Street.
TB! > How long have you been reading THE BRILLIANCE?
VA! > As long as your first post has lasted on the one and only gourmet page.
TB! > So you’re writing for our site now…that’s cool, first person outside of the founders, what should the reader base expect from you? Why did you accept the invite to contribute?
VA! > I am extremely honored to be the first round draft pick. That’s real. I love the art direction of the site; the integrity that exists in the most random posts is amazing. It is great platform to further the lifestyle that doesn’t need sneakers or tees as a crutch.
I am hoping my perspective will highlight the little things that make life grand. Just putting the things I experience into words for others to recognize. It’s really what I am all about, giving insight on how I imagine design and creative marketing can affect culture.
TB! > What are your general thoughts on THE BRILLIANCE?
VA! > General thoughts…its among the few lifestyle sites that will exist and play a role in the future, tastemaking wise…whatever happened to those time capsule we made in grade school, did anyone ever open them yet? Maybe that’s where my old Jordans are…I think THE BRILLIANCE is the most comprehensive time capsule since we have been in the midst of this enlightenment of sorts.
TB! > Alright man…that’s it, any shout outs? Random thoughts? Quotes or anything like that?
VA! > Shout outs are definitely in order. First and foremost my family I would be nothing without them. Mom, Dad, and big sister. Ms. Sundberg, thanks. My friends who make my day to day life complete. From the childhood crew to that infamous college crew to the Chicago scene. Ya’ll already know. Shout out to the Fort Home Foundation. Heron Preston for President. FNF UP! so listen to G.O.O.D. music and Hustle Period.
Truly, “Diamonds are a Trend’s Best Friend” I’ve always wanted to say that.