In Conversation | Multi-Disciplinary Designer Andrew Trotter

  • Masseria Moroseta by Studio Andrew Trotter

    We catch up one-on-one with the man behind the Barcelona-based multi-disciplinary design office Studio Andrew Trotter.

    Architectural designer, interior designer, product designer, design consultant, magazine editor, and studio founder; the name Andrew Trotter denotes many things. Andrew graduated from interior design in Australia in 1994 before moving back to the UK to work in both product design and fashion design. Openhouse Magazine – centred on art, design, architecture and culture – was Andrew’s first independent project, which he founded together with photographer Mari Luz Vidal in 2014. In addition to being available digitally, the biannual magazine is sold in more than 600 stores worldwide. 

    In 2012, Andrew was approached for his first architectural commission, a boutique hotel in Puglia, Italy. Masseria Moroseta, as it’s now called, subsequently launched Studio Andrew Trotter, a multi-disciplinary design office encompassing architecture, interior design, product design and design consultancy.

    We sat down with Andrew to explore what inspires him – people, places, landscapes, materials, traditions – and how each is in line with his ethos of honesty and simplicity.

    What inspired you to start your multi-disciplinary studio?

    Andrew Trotter: I started very organically. My friend Carlo Lanzini asked me to help him design a hotel in Puglia (Masseria Moroseta). It was my first architecture project – and it took off from there. I never thought that it would take off so much; six years after Moroseta and I’m now working on 26 projects! For me, it’s always just been about doing projects that I love and being actively involved every step of the way, from the design to the marketing, to the photography, to the press.

    Who do you look up to?

    Andrew Trotter: For me, a good designer is a designer that does everything. An architect that doesn’t think about the interiors, I find that very strange because they’re one in the same thing. One of my favourite architects is Mies van der Rohe – he did everything – he picked the curtains, you know? There are also a lot of great architects in Mexico at the moment doing some great work – they, too, are doing everything.

    Italy’s Puglia region, where some of your most well-known projects are set (Villa Cardo and Masseria Moroseta), is renowned for its rocky cliffs, secluded coves and crumbling architecture. How did the Pugliese landscape influence the design of your now iconic projects?

    Andrew Trotter: The history of the buildings is what inspired me the most. Moroseta is set next to Ostuni, and if you’ve never visited Ostuni before, it’s all white cubes and arches and vaulted ceilings – I took from that. My Puglia buildings have worked so well because they’re not a copy of the old but a re-addition of what is. They fit with the landscape – the olive trees and the rudimental white shapes – without shouting “I’m new” or “I’m doing something different”. They’re quietly simple, and I think people will always like simplicity.

    You will often source materials locally to help shape the story of your projects, like the sandstone walls in Villa Cardo. Why is sourcing locally so important, and what should we be doing to keep age-old craftsmanship alive? 

    Andrew Trotter: It’s part of tradition. These stone buildings [in Puglia], fit the climate. You hardly need air conditioning when it’s hot because their materials keep them cool. All buildings have a reason, you see. Look at the Scandanavians; why do they use so much wood? Because there are so many trees. It’s just logic, in my opinion. These days you can transport anything around the world, and to me, that seems a bit wrong. We should be trying very hard to use what’s around us and keep traditional building methods alive.

    What’s your favourite material to work with, and what does it say about you as a designer?

    Andrew Trotter: I have to say that I don’t have one favourite material. For me, they just need to be honest. Whether I’m working with sandstone or concrete or wood, my one condition is that you need to see it. Why do a concrete floor and then cover it up? Why do a sandstone wall and then plaster over it? Show it. I think we walk into these perfect interiors that are all actually a little bit fake; I don’t believe in that. You could say then that I am an honest designer – and a simple designer.

    10AM Penthouse and 10AM Venue, both featured here on est, are pinnacles of tranquillity within Athens, Greece. How does designing a residential space compare with designing a hospitality space? 

    Andrew Trotter: I don’t see them as any different. Of course, there are furniture changes and things like that, but they’re both personal projects in the end. At 10AM, we worked very closely with the client, Eva Papadaki, to pare the building back to what it was and transition it into something new. In this sense, whether it’s a hotel, an events space or a private residence, I look at it as a very personal thing. I want people to see our work and go, “that’s beautiful – and functional and comfortable and enjoyable”. There needs to be both a visual appeal and a personal appeal.

    These days you can transport anything around the world, and to me, that seems a bit wrong. We should be trying very hard to use what’s around us and keep traditional building methods alive.”

     

    – Andrew Trotter

    est living villa castelluccio studio andrew trotter 1

    Villa Castelluccio by Studio Andrew Trotter | Photography by Salva López

    est living villa castelluccio studio andrew trotter 2

    Villa Castelluccio by Studio Andrew Trotter | Photography by Salva López

    What are some Studio Andrew Trotter design hallmarks visible across all of your projects? 

    Andrew Trotter: Honesty and simplicity. It’s our ethos more than our physical attributes – I hope that’s how people recognise us. 

    Another line on your extensive resume is Openhouse Magazine. How does your role as founder and editor of Openhouse impact the way you design?

    Andrew Trotter: It’s amazing to be part of Openhouse. It’s helped me meet people I probably would’ve never met otherwise and get to know them well. That’s helped me with my design as well because I get to work with people who inspire me daily. It has just opened so many doors – and I think you would know that feeling too working at a magazine. 

    Which of your upcoming projects, be it a private home, holiday home, event space or boutique hotel, are you most excited about?

    Andrew Trotter: I love doing homes, so I’m excited about all the homes we’re currently working on. We’re also doing two boutique hotels – one in Utah and one in the Caribbean – both are different for us. It’s an honour and a privilege to be working on these two projects alongside two amazing clients. 

    “Why I think my buildings in Puglia have worked so well is because they’re not a copy of the old, but a re-addition of what is.”

     

    – Andrew Trotter

    est living andrew trotter portrait

    Andrew Trotter | Photography by Salva López

    est living borgo gallana studio andrew trotter 1

    Borgo Gallana by Studio Andrew Trotter | Photography by Salva López

  • studio andrew trotter's signature style

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