Influential Woman Spring 2022
“It is a great pleasure to create places of well-being”
Claudia Boehm, Architect at ArchStudio, ArchStudio Interiors, Selection by ArchStudio.
Interior Architect Claudia Boehm
Born in Stuttgart, Germany and grew up with 3 siblings. We never had architects or designers in our family but I was always good in all creative subjects and somehow my younger brother and I were drawn into the field of architecture.
After I finished school I travelled a lot and worked in an office design company as a trainee. That’s how I got in touch with the Italian world of interior design and got hooked. I started studying interior architecture at the ‘Instituto Europeo di Design in Milan’. This was a very inspiring time in the field of fashion, furniture and design and international people. I fell in love with beautiful materials and crafts and the art of creating a beautiful lifestyle.
When I was accepted at the Architectural Association 1994 in London another chapter of my architectural journey started. This was where I learnt to think and develop concepts in various scales. There was no differentiation between interior or architectural or urban design – it was more about our chosen focus and the change of scale that led us to a concept. Reference point was always the human, its body, its activity and the given environment. London was another scale itself as a city and always a challenge to succeed.
Interior Architecture by Claudia Boehm
” I think Interior Architecture is still underestimated in the public eye. That is why I am very passionate in strengthening the image and perception of the professional Interior Desingners in this country “.
Since 2017 I am Vice-President of the Professional Association of Swiss Interior Designers VSI.ASAI. (Vereinigung Schweizer Innen Architekten/Architektinnen in Switzerland ).
Meet Claudia Boehm
1. Hello Claudia, tell us about yourself as an Interior Architect.
I did my bachelor in Interior Design in Milan before I studied Architecture at the AA in London. To move on to architecture was a kind of natural process in my career. I think each is a discipline with its own attitude. What I love is the thinking in different scales and each scale implies a totally different understanding of what and for who you are planning. Each scale requires a different focus. So understanding both is like dissolving a line or bringing in a message to each side. So moving into Interior Architecture is in the end another focus in scale. You need another understanding of what people need and want and therefore you need another understanding of the summary of materials, light, colour, furniture and detailing.
Interior Architecture is still underestimated in the public eye. That is why I am very passionate in strengthening the image and perception of the professional Interior Designers in this country. Since 2017 I am Vice-President of the Professional Association of Swiss Interior Designers VSI.ASAI. in Switzerland.
2. What is the story behind ‘ArchStudio’
ArchStudio has been founded by my partner Christian Fierz in 1989. When I stepped in, in 2002 to work with him I was more in the background for the first years. The reason was our small daughter at the time. Only when she was more independent was I able to give more energy and time in our company and bring in my ideas of what we should be and developed my own perspective.
Since I became office partner in 2011 I developed more actively the Interior Design side of our office. I feel very strong about the idea that good architecture is only good architecture if you give enough attention into interior architecture.
3. In your opinion, what are the most innovative trends in Interior Architecture ?
I am always hesitant to talk about „trends“ – it can be very superficial in the context of interior spaces – and is very exchangeable. I think lasting interior architecture is not only about colour and materials or a certain style- it is more about how we want to experience our spaces and each other. It is a very fine line how we perceive and create spaces we live or work or eat in happily.
If I have to give an answer I’d say that we are in our interior spaces drawn strongly back to nature and sustainability and wellbeing. We think differently about materials, colour and light and how it affects hour wellbeing. Plants have conquered our homes and offices, natural and smooth materials are in the focus – all shades of green and more decorative elements are back in our homes and restaurant etc.
Interior Architecture is mostly understood of doing beautiful homes, hotels or shops. But it is far more than this. I think the biggest trend is that our society is getting aware that we do need better spaces for all our activities in society – overall schools, hospitals, even spaces like prisons and other public interior spaces we are exposed to every single day. And this at all phases of our life.
4. What makes ‘ArchStudio’ different from other architectural studios?
We understand Architecture and Interior Architecture as two inseparable disciplines which interweave very strongly. If you do not give enough attention to all interior issues of a building its inhabitants will not be happy – and this is the purpose of each of my projects.
In our work we have a very thoughtful approach to all known and unknown needs of the users. We need to understand how a space shall be used or designed and what is expected to happen. We have to be more creative than the future user and need to show the potential of the space and its surroundings. Maybe this is why we have many private clients building their homes and offices with us. They are very sensitive towards their own needs, and we take this very serious.
5. What is the difference between ArchStudio and Selection by ArchStudio?
ArchStudio Architekten does the classical work of designing, planning and then executing a building. Simply said, we design and built.
ArchStudio Selection is offering everything one needs for the interior fitout: furniture, curtains, accessories etc. If I have projects that are finished with all dishes and cutlery included, so I have to have this item at hand.
Since both of us are very passionate about art and photography we use our loft not only as an office space but also as a showroom for art exhibitions and events. We want to inspire people and give them a feeling of how a well designed interior environment is stimulating our well-being.
ARCHSTUDIO was founded in Zurich in 1989, operates internationally and offers all planning services in architecture, interior design, shop fitting and corporate design. Our competencies include project development, advice on construction projects, design, planning and execution of new construction and conversion projects. In recent years, we have been able to successfully establish another focus with a team of experts in interior design. Our portfolio includes completed projects from residential developments, private villas, commercial buildings, bank branches, hotels, shops to individual boutiques. Clients are private as well as public builders.
HEAL ME! DO SPACES HELP HEAL?
What can spaces and interior design achieve in the recovery process? Well-being, feeling at home, self-care are gaining in importance in our society. In the medical and therapeutic area, it is about stress and anxiety reduction, way finding and fall prevention. Methods that determine the special needs of patients and senior citizens are under discussion. Evidence-based design is gaining its importance.
Keynote lecture on the topic on how the surrounding affect our health and healing process took place at the latest edition of the Swissbau Fair on 04th to 06th of May 2022.
Heal me! Helfen Räume heilen?
Frau Innen Architecture Podium Discussion
WOMAN INTERIOR ARCHITECT: HOW WOMEN BUILD HOUSES
Do women build differently than men? Do you choose other materials? How do you choose materials? How does communication with the client work? Like those with the craftsmen?
Is there a specifically female architecture?
These and similar questions were discussed at the panel discussion in the SWISSBAU Focus in a high-calibre group of women. As Vice-president of the VSI.ASAI, Claudia Boehm organised the content, sponsoring and participation of the event.
The mission of the presentation was not to confront the construction and architecture industry, which is still dominated by men, but to show the new perspectives that women bring to the profession of architect and interior designer. Approaches that can give new impetus. It was not intended to be a women’s rights-political event, but rather to tell about the life and work of interior designers who have already created good things and will create great things in the future.
6. In a world of durability, utility and beauty, what is your vision of architecture and interior design for the next 10 years in terms of sustainability?
We have experienced a real booster of new forms of living through the pandemic. In any case has our consciousness of our living space changed. We became more conscious about sustainability in how we design our living and working and others spaces. They have to be much more flexible. I think like in fashion we move away from „fast furniture“ and develop new values -e.g give more locally produced objects a higher value- since all has an impact on our climate. And we understood that our spaces have an impact on our moods and emotions.
7. How do you balance work and life?
Working and living together in architecture is also a challenge for a family – we have developed our routines and ‘no-go’ as a couple in architecture. At the beginning we had to find out how it works in order to have a private life, too. We do possibly a lot of sports like sailing, skiing, running and lately we started playing golf. I personally could not live with 2-3 weekly session of my yoga and meditation. Normally I start my day with pranayama and a short meditation. This gives me balance during a tough week and cuddling our Norwegian forest cat helps too.
8. A place in Europe where you find paradise
Terrace of Villa d’Este, Cernobbio – a glass of Franciacorta served by the world best waiters at the shore of lake Como.
9. Your favourite place in Switzerland
Our sailing boat on lake of Zurich.
10. What are your hobbies?
Yoga, travelling, food.
Project by Claudia Boehm
Project by Claudia Boehm
11. What magazines and websites related to design inspire you?
I browse daily through a lot of information … we receive many interior and architecture related magazines in the office.
I read from Das Ideal Heim trough to TEC21 also Architectural Digest and all what attracts my eye. I browse through various Interior newsletters.I follow instagram and linkedIn. My inspiration is everywhere – reading, traveling, films, visiting fairs.
12. And finally Claudia, what item identifies you?
My big handbag and sunglasses – you hardly see me without them.
ArchStudio Architekten AG
Selection by ArchStudio
Photos copyright by: Claudia Boehm, Peter Kanitz and Philipp Ottendörfer