Montalba Architects a radical shift towards zero-waste design

Montalba Architects - Los Angeles, USA, and Lausanne, Switzerland

Montalba Architects, a renowned architecture studio, is undergoing a transformation. They are shifting their focus from modern commissions for residential clients, luxury brands, and hospitality brands to a more hybrid approach: compact spaces with modern design that fuse art and architecture. With numerous awards and international recognition, Montalba Architects are known for their urban understanding and ability to strike a balance between modern and futuristic design.

For founder David Montalba, the key to this transformation lies in finding a middle ground between art and architecture, creating spaces that are not only visually appealing but also livable. With studios in Los Angeles, USA, and Lausanne, Switzerland, Montalba Architects is now undertaking a series of small-scale conceptual projects that emphasize compact design and the use of sustainable materials.

Compact thinking requires a careful consideration of the materials required for a specific context and their impact on the overall footprint of the structure. One example of this approach is the 99% AIR project, which was conceived for artgenève 2019. This project utilized air as the primary construction material, crafting inflatable design materials for seating and staging. As a result, the material waste generated from this venue was reduced to just 1% of its total mass.

Another example of minimizing material waste is the Whitepod Hotel in Switzerland. This hotel consists of eighteen luxury geodesic domes, featuring prefabricated elements such as platforms, domes, and bath boxes. The interior of each dome is designed with curved wooden walls, creating a cozy space with a central sleeping area and raised bath area. The structure of each dome is composed of a network of triangles, which provides ample support while minimizing the amount of material needed.

In addition to compact design, Montalba Architects also prioritize fluidity, allowing for other structures or spaces to exist after a project has served its purpose. The Bec & Arts Pavilion, another small-scale design, was initially used for a sculpture triennial in Bex, Switzerland. This award-winning design features a structure supported by lightweight wooden shelves, sitting on a movable foundation to limit its impact on the surrounding landscape. This design philosophy of adaptability and fluidity can be applied to any context, for any purpose.

Even something as mundane as a trip to the dentist can be an example of Montalba’s commitment to tiny design. They have designed a 21 sqm mobile dental unit for Studio Dental in San Francisco, bringing the dental office directly to clients in a fully-equipped and luxurious van.

These small-scale projects have significant impacts, showcasing Montalba Architects’ ability to adapt to a new outlook and incorporate sustainability into all design elements, regardless of their size.

Montalba Architects

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