Mikkel Frost Interview: The Power of the Pen



“Many architects think as they draw. I don’t do that”, says Danish architect Mikkel Frost in this interview about communicating architecture through drawings and sketches. “I basically print what I already have built in my mind.”

Mikkel Frost is well-known for his skill to visualize his ideas and design concepts in drawings, both with pen, ink and watercolours. On the one hand, this ability is an everyday tool for communicating complex concepts to clients, collaborators, and users. On the other hand, it is a means to emphasize the consistent artistic ambition in his company, CEBRA’s architecture. “It’s not a choice between the computer and the hand drawing”, Frost reflects. “They are both very different tools and both tools are excellent for what they do best. But the shortest distance between your head and something, that other people can see, runs definitely through the hand or the pen. So, at a meeting with a client or staff or whomever you are talking to being able to spontaneously illustrate your thoughts, the pen is totally superior.”

The playful and unique personal style of Mikkel Frost’s illustrations granted him a spot in the collection of The Museum for Architectural Drawing in Berlin, where two of his watercolours take their place among works from some of the world’s most influential contemporary and late architects. Lately, a collection of Mikkel’s drawings has been published in the book We Build Drawings, Frame Publishers 2019. In 2018 he participated in a TEDx-event with the talk Let your fingers do the talking.

“The thing about architecture as an artform compared to other art forms is that you can’t avoid it. Architecture is inevitable. You sleep in architecture, you die in architecture, we are in architecture right now. You are obligated as an architect to design something that is both beautiful and functional and speaks to all our senses. It’s almost criminal to design an ugly building that people have to live in every day.”

Mikkel Frost (b. 1971) is a Danish architect and designer and founding partner of internationally acclaimed architecture studio CEBRA. After gaining professional experience at BOLLES+WILSON and Schmidt Hammer Lassen, he founded CEBRA in 2001 together with Kolja Nielsen and Carsten Primdahl. Today, the company has offices in Aarhus and Abu Dhabi with an interdisciplinary staff of 60 and a growing international portfolio. Prominent projects include the Experimentarium Science Centre in Hellerup (DK) and the revitalization of the Al Hosn urban heritage site in Abu Dhabi (UAE) as well as several ongoing projects in North America.

Mikkel Frost was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at CEBRA architecture studio in Aarhus, Denmark in March 2021. More information about the studio at www.cebraarchitecture.dk.

Camera: Simon Wehye
Edited by Klaus Elmer
Produced by Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2021

Supported by Dreyers Fond

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