by Afra SafaNov 16, 2023
Jan Revaj is an artist based in Slovakia who also practices architecture with his firm JanRevaj Architects. He studied at Die Angewandte - Studio Zaha Hadid in Wien and gained experience at the famous Austrian architectural studio Coop Himmelb(l)au. He also worked alongside artist Igor Rumansky. His keen eye for art that he implements into architecture creates a unique vision and perspective towards his concepts, thoughts and designs. Revaj represents a unique combination of an artist, architect and visionary in the contemporary world. He adds a unique emotional value to his works and shifts from material to emotion. He is an artist who builds his paintings.
Revaj has worked on various projects around the world, especially in Europe, America and Russia. For his works he relies on his artistic talent and imagination, which he develops while drawing and painting. Currently, he is designing and building 22 White Gems or villas across the world to "decorate the whole world with them".
Here, STIR speaks with Jan Revaj to understand his design approach and artistic philosophies that convert into architecture.
Meghna Mehta (MM): Who is your client for the White Gems collection, and what has been the brief?
Jan Revaj (JR): It is not an assignment of type. The client told me, "Make me an extravagant villa. I want to be different”. My clients are not the richest in the world. My client for these villas is a man at a certain stage of thinking - who understood that even if he has four billion dollars, he does not eat more than four loaves for breakfast and does not drive two cars at once. He is mentally strong and mature. He is a man who is at the stage of life when he has already understood certain things and wants to create. He is at the top of the ‘Maslow pyramid’, he knows that the world is not revolving around him and will not be here forever. His wealth is in his thinking.
The task is to create a space where I will ‘feel good’, the villas in the 22 White Gems collection are an abstraction of the emotions I feel with the client. It is the process of transforming emotions into space and it is always personal. It is important to know who will design your house and who will make the furniture for your house. Who will create a strong energy around you and bring it home.
MM: Is there any particular reason behind naming the villas White Gems?
JR: We are always hurrying somewhere and towards something. As soon as we reach that imaginary goal, we run to the next one without enjoying the joy of what we have done ... let's stop a little and reward ourselves... let's take pleasure and make ourselves happy, let's enjoy life.
For me, jewellery is something I put on. I identify with it and it becomes a part of me. Therefore, the villa is a kind of reward and provides self-satisfaction. After all, what is most important at the end of each day? Feeling good. My villa should give you this feeling and create joy in you. Whether you have an easy or difficult day at work, you should always look forward to home. When someone says a villa, I visualise the painting The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, a beautiful woman standing like a pearl in a seashell. These are the villas I want to build, lines inspired by a woman.
MM: What was the common concept and why the particular locations?
JR: The villa is a jewel for me. I want to decorate the whole world with it and make it more beautiful, because I like to create beautiful things for people.
There are people everywhere who perceive life the way I do. For them, I transform emotions into space and that is something that all my buildings have in common. The world has no borders, only we have them in our heads and in our thoughts, so this concept is for the world and not just for a country.
MM: How is the connect between art and architecture being established through this project?
JR: When I draw, I think about space, when I design space, I draw. My work is inspired by a woman and her independence, strength and passion, which creates magical energy around her. The drawing itself, which I base myself on, should be a work of art full of energy and uniqueness, and in every villa you can feel this basic DNA of mine.
I capture these emotions, shape them and create lines with my own ‘aesthetic DNA’, which I then transfer to the villas. – Jan Revaj
MM: How has your design evolved and changed over the years?
JR: From an early age, I like drawings and paintings that let you look, that let you think, give you your space for imagination. The same goes for architecture, you can also design it as expressive, impressive, but also one that will leave you... the way you are.
I am also interested in just being aware that being unique is natural, which is why I am developing the concept of 22 villas with a principle, ‘from line to form’. – Jan Revaj
MM: What are the significant features that differentiate this project from others?
JR: In the process of creation, it is what I am looking for and what I find. Quality architecture is a craft for me. ‘Handmade’ design and empathy based on high principles of human values are the basis for the next generation of quality housing. The design of the villas begins with the drawing. I abstract drawing into forms and architectural works. My work is characterised by the transition, ‘from lines to form which is the transformation of emotion into space’. This statement is also behind my manifesto of creation. It all starts with the line in the drawing, then it passes into form (shape) and then it returns to the line.
MM: Could you briefly explain the planning of the space?
JR: The space always depends on the needs of the client, but I perceive it as a whole, it is connected, it connects to itself and develops, it is always different. They have no common denominator.
MM: Are there any unique materials or construction methodologies employed here?
JR: When you draw, you have to control the medium you are drawing with ... the same goes for architecture. You need to have perfect control over the material you work with, otherwise you cannot make full use of its technical and technological possibilities and their implementation processes, or combine them. That's why I tested wood, steel and concrete on my projects. The material is one of the tools that will help you express yourself and turn your vision into reality - I chose reinforced concrete for the villas. Another attribute is the technology that ensures the operation itself. To me, villas are like a living organism. They must work flawlessly and this unity must be perceived.
MM: If you could alter/ revise any one aspect of the project, what would that be?
JR: I would like my clients to come to me a step earlier so that we can choose the land, where we build the villa, together. Often happens that the client comes with the purchased land. The space he bought may not be suitable for this purpose or he did not realise many things when he bought it and then we have limits in creating…
Name: 22 White Gems Collection
Location: Slovakia, Czech Republic, Russia, Austria
Architects: JANREVAJ Architects
Villa in Slovakia - in progress
Villa in Czech Republic - in progress
Villa in Russia - design
Villa in Austria - design
Area: above 1500m sqm
Usable area: 500- 800 sqm
Time taken from conception to construction: Study and complete projection within 1 year
Time taken for construction: 1-2 years