François Roche is a provocative figure. Director of the Paris-based studio R&Sie (pronounced “heresy”), the French architect wilfully blurs disciplinary boundaries between architecture, art, biology and cybernetics. Relentlessly avant-garde, his work investigates emerging contemporary opportunities and dilemmas, at the limits of ethics, social norms and environmental conditions.
Like a fantastical prop from a David Cronenberg film, the biomorphic and technologically sophisticated armature in his recent architecture “des humeurs” installation taps our “neurobiological emissions” and excretes an intricate concrete map of our minds as a dwelling. Here, the familiar metaphor of humans being to cities what polyps are to coral is extended to its logical conclusion, with coral-like, psychologically-customised housing.
Negotiation between the “natural” and “artificial” is at the core of Roche’s practice, manifesting in diverse projects such as an art museum which attracts thick clusters of Bangkok dust, and a camouflaged house in Paris with a nutrient-harvesting, growing skin.