John Barboni Interviewed by Top Billing
John Barboni, Co-Founder, is featured in South Africa's Top Billing Magazine and primetime television segment as one of New York City’s top creative forces to discuss elemental and sustainable architecture. Justine Cottrell writes: Each year at New York Fashion Week Lacoste selects 6 men to be part of a photo shoot where they are dressed in the new season of Lacoste. These guys are dubbed The Cool Guys of New York. They are successful, powerful men with presence and ambition and their own senses of style. They are the modern men who demonstrate the same qualities as those of Rene Lacoste. They pay attention to detail, invest in quality, and have a tendency to buck the trend. It's clear to find the inspiration needed for all this flavourful fashion on the very streets of New York. In a country like South Africa the key word among creative industry professionals is exposure. Big budgets are obliterated at high class events in Johannesburg and Cape Town while in New York owners of restaurants, clubs and bars are trying to hide their locations in order to preserve their cosy and exclusive atmospheres. It's these spots that the genuine, native New Yorker frequents. Hidden down a dark street behind a roughly nailed door and a thick velvet curtain, Milk and Honey is a bar like this. Here John Barboni co-founder of Elemental Architecture reclines in a cushioned booth in dusty lamplight and a waiter who looks like something out of the Rat-Pack, hands him a cocktail which he says is called a "Dark and Stormy". With 2 partners, one of whom he calls his greatest mentor, John specializes in what New Yorkers term Green Architecture, "the method of designing buildings that work in conjunction with natural forces for daylighting, ventilation, water and shelter instead of trying to draw power from natural resources and in turn depleting them. As opposed to sheltering yourself form the environment, we draw inspiration and knowledge from the architects of the pre-industrial era and ask how we can work with nature to be comfortable and fulfil our modern requirements," he says. With New York constantly under construction and development John is at the heart of architecture's progressive elite who seek to make their buildings sustainable through a poetic assimilation of building techniques that ensure as little damage to the environment as possible. "In my opinion architects have made the mistake of building first and then trying to make that building green. I believe that green buildings, like nature, need to be organic, they need to be conceptualised with green at heart from the very beginning" he says. Having grown up in California and spending time in both Italy and France, John moves easily in front of the camera for Lacoste's shoot. It's clear that though his buildings may be green they certainly don't compromise on aesthetic.