Agustina García del Río
How people live in Copenhagen and how spaces are shaped by this
How people live in Copenhagen and how spaces are shaped by this.
Observing others and considering how spaces take shape is nothing new for Agustina, her context has just shifted. Agustina García del Río moved to Copenhagen in January 2020 with her husband Pablo. She is an Argentinian architect and professor, who founded Carbono Atelier with her business partner Juan Francisco Pellet in 2015. Agustina is passionate about what she does and believes that architects have a responsibility when designing “the environments where life happens”.
Growing up, Agustina travelled, took acting classes and had access to a large collection of books amassed by family members. She believes this shaped her being and drew her to become interested in scenography, storytelling and imagining how people and bodies react in spaces, followed by architecture. When moving to Denmark, she felt relieved to take the shame – of having an alternative approach to architecture – out of her creative work. Here, she finds that science and art are regarded as equally important, something new and validating.
‘There is an opportunity to earn enough money in Copenhagen to live well, and you are supported in a very unique way that results in entrepreneurship and a strong creative community.’
Agustina García del Río, 2020
“There is a quietness here,” she says and recalls a memory of getting on the metro in the morning and, for the first time in a lifetime, catching herself listening to the turning of the pages of a magazine by another woman. It is a new kind of luxury being able to bike through the city and fully see the details, measurements and history. She points out that in Copenhagen, predictions and expectations align; you can look up how long it will take you to get from point a to point b and trust that this is the case. Trust is also something that occurs between individuals, making them more relaxed and happier.
“When you are an outsider, you think that you have to be very respectful,” she counters, referring to the traditions and norms. Agustina prefers historic architecture and design over that which she finds globalised and generic. “I love it when you can see the work, the thinking and the mistakes.” She believes that people here are perhaps too comfortable and do not necessarily look for input or compare themselves or their work with anything outside Denmark or Europe and that it results in less drive and risk. She expresses that what people in Denmark could learn from Argentinians is to be more open in what they do, focus on orchestrating and leadership, rather than feeling pressured to be a specialist.
‘I love it when you can see the work, the thinking and the mistakes.’
Agustina García del Río, 2020
“There is an opportunity to earn enough money in Copenhagen to live well, and you are supported in a very unique way that results in entrepreneurship and a strong creative community,” she continues. The norm in her native Buenos Aires is to produce locally and to make custom designs – the way things used to be done in Denmark but has become a rare luxury. “When everything is so perfect it is difficult to make mistakes and to learn from them,'' she explains, adding that this makes things less dynamic and so the old designs are more interesting and influential. According to Agustina, creatives have to become more aware and do work in a way that embraces other human beings. She declares that we need more critical thinking and this seems embedded in her DNA. She is always re-thinking alongside doing but one of her major takeaways from Copenhagen is learning that “small things really matter too”.