We approach design in terms of big ideas that shape the project then begin to magnify the scope. The initial ideas remain the lens through which the project is continually viewed as the design is refined.
As the breadth of our work and our client pool increases with each passing year, we consistently return to our core principals. Whether it's inspiration for a project in the preliminary stages or a point of resolution during the height of design, these principals define and explain our decisions. Our solutions are frequently inspired by the following values, which find physical expression in ways directly related to the particular client, program and design problem. These are the ideas which tie our projects together under the 'Montalba' umbrella. The presence of one or more of these elements is what defines our work.
Every project is unique in its surroundings. No matter how common the use - whether it is residential, hospitality or office - every project has a distinct mix of site influences: geography, history, landscape, urban. We find some of our greatest design inspiration in the context. By working back and forth between the design of the building and analysis of the site, a strong connection can be developed between the two.
Honesty of Materials
If architecture is the statement, materials are the words and how we communicate our design. We choose materials based on their particular properties and rarely try to alter or conceal them. Materials can express the relationship of the project to the site, landscape or idea. Through materials we define the qualities of a space to suit a specific use.
As part of our keenness to connect each project to its surroundings, we work to blend interior and exterior spaces into a single, fluid experience. Whether it means opening rooms onto concealed courtyards or pulling the landscape into the home via folded gardens, we aim to infuse natural light, air and views throughout as much of the interior as possible.
Expansion of Space
We often seek to create a sense of space expanding beyond physical bounds. Overlapping functional zones can lead to open floor plans which provide opportunities not only for borrowed views, but also for flexibility that can transform spaces. We divide spaces with flexible constructions to conceal or reveal a variety of functions and allow possibilities of unity or compartmentalization within a single space.
Expression of Technique
A physical characteristic can connect the project to its site and contribute to its unique identity. On every project, we develop custom details inspired by the materials we use along with an analysis of the context, and performance. We see each detail as an opportunity to express our ingenuity as we seek the most direct and honest approach to a problem in pursuit of an elegant solution.
As the light changes so changes the experience of space and the design becomes a living thing. One of our most valued and powerful design resources is natural light as a means of directing focus, highlighting materials and creating experience. The power of light is both psychological and physical as light greatly influences both mood and well-being. We strive to incorporate multiple sources of natural light within every project to foster a richly varied experience.