This week Christina Toimela learns what dancing has got to do with architecture

- February 5, 2013


A social event in Brighton, yet another great opportunity for me to meet inspirational people, practise my language skills and possibly let loose the rock loving dancer in me.

I hear the song ‘We Will Rock You’ and convince a group of French speaking people to join me on the dance floor. One of them is Stephan Silver from Quebec. Having just learned that he graduated from McGill University’s School of Architecture in Montreal, Canada, as well as having a Master’s degree from Central Saint Martins in London and that he is an architect. I become suspicious – he dances far too well.

“Are you a dancer as well?” I ask. 
“Not anymore, however I combine many talents.” he answers. Inspiring, I think.

Next time I get to talk to Stephan properly is in a van on the way to London with him to find out how he combines his many talents. Designing and being creative are Stephan’s passions. He wants to give people something beautiful and to tap into the ideas people have in order to create their dream:”

“Small surprises designed into a house add to the everyday enjoyment of the home”

As an architect I want to give people a really beautiful and functional, different place to live. As a furniture designer I offer multifunctional items.”

We are conducting the interview whilst driving through London and taking multifunctional furniture that Stephan has designed into a special event at Xobo Soirée that combines design and performance. Stephan’s act will be dancing on
and around his colourful furniture.

Stephan’s passion for dance started when he was doing his work experience in London. Every evening after work he walked over to the dance studio:”

It was very liberating to get out of my chair, doing architectural drawings and plans in 2D and to move about with my whole body in 3D space.”

In order to master his practise of design, Stephan has done research on the correlation of movement and space: “I mean looking at architectural design and layout through the artistic discipline of dance: movement through spaces, structure of the body, form and volume,” Stpehen explains. “Architecture shares all these characteristics.”

Stephan uses dance as a teaching technique with his design students. He helps them to understand that building urban environments, interiors for public buildings and designing houses, taking in consideration the way people move in them from point A to B, can be planned. He thinks that small surprises designed into a house add to the everyday enjoyment of a home.

But how do people react when they ask for an architect and you bring dancing into the picture?

“People are afraid when you say that you are good in all these things: architecture, both interior and furniture design as well as dance. My biggest challenge is to convince people that I’m both creative and practical. I’m sensitive to space. I’m in tune with how you experience moving through a house. I’m not a spring chicken either, and therefore I know that combining all my talents helps and nurtures my work. I’m open, willing to try new things and patient. That’s what good architects are made of. ”

Xobo Design is a collaboration of different designers which includes Xobo Architecture and Xobo Furniture: www.xobodesign.com

Do you know any people who have really inspired you in Brighton?
We’re not looking for celebrities.
Not ordinary, but extraordinary.
Contact Christina: christina.toimela@gmail.com




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2 comments

  1. Stephan Silver studied with my mother Hilde Holger, the Expressionist Central European dancer. He has been my friend for many years now. All his work to do with space –movement in space–functioning with useable objects, –has a visual and functional integrity. . . . His ability to change forms in space, which I can identify with, as I made hinged sculptures moved by dancers in the sixties, has an innate intelligence.– A flexibility which could be related historically to architectural Japanese interiors, or Buckminster Fuller’s houses. He is an innovative artist who, trained in architecture, expands and experiments with all its elements.

  2. Stephan Silver studied with my mother Hilde Holger, the Expressionist Central European dancer. He has been my friend for many years now. All his work to do with space –movement in space–functioning with useable objects, –has a visual and functional integrity. . . . His ability to change forms in space, which I can identify with, as I made hinged sculptures moved by dancers in the sixties, has an innate intelligence.– A flexibility which could be related historically to architectural Japanese interiors, or Buckminster Fuller’s houses. He is an innovative artist who, trained in architecture, expands and experiments with all its elements.

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