oana coarfa rotund

 Oana Coarfă


  • How would you introduce yourself to strangers?

Architect at Republic of Architects, I produce design objects at Cabinet, I reside in Bucharest, I am grateful for the people that are near me.

  • What made you choose architecture as a profession?

Although I have always lived in a provincial town, during the summer or the winter holidays at the countryside, I loved the way things happened in the villages. I was fascinated by the way that people communicated, the way houses looked, the supple boundary between village and nature, the accepted place for the animals, the way objects lived on from a generation to the other. There were happy moments of nature exploitation and creation of new things with simple means and materials. This was probably the moment when the taste for creating objects after my power and the local resources was born. I have met architects when I was in my teens, and I admired their freedom. I used to draw all the time, but I didn’t want to become an artist, so I chose to learn how to make houses and courtyards, as I imagined then that it will happen.

  • How has architecture influenced you personal development?

Architecture teaches you to develop a kind of discipline, due to things being complicated and demand energy to bring them to an end. All the workload teaches you how to teamwork. The creative part in architecture teaches you about freedom.

For me it was important that I changed school of architecture for a while. I got to study at the place I’ve always dreamed off, at TU Delft Holland. The experience gave me resources that I still use.

It helped me understand that no matter where you are, it is up to you how you get involved and how you make things change. You must dedicate yourself equally when you find yourself in a space with all the resources at hand or when you are in a rough and dull one.

When opening of the Republic of Architects studio, I tested working in a team. At the creation meetings we involve ourselves equally, there are only momentary leaders, of each project. Otherwise, we work in a creative democratic manner. We have found that common ideas are stronger than personal ideas.

  • How would you describe your alternative activity to people unfamiliar with it?

I have always tinkered, knitted, drew, refurbished old objects, atypically reused objects. I have always produced objects out of passion, not from external need. Objects produced to be offered as presents, others bought even though they were not up for sale, some won competitions, all reasons for joy, but also for alert because it seemed that  I should pay more attention for it to truly deserve the moment of joy of the object’s “coming out of the closet”.

For example, the first produced object and of which I felt attached was a jewell fixed with round magnets, popular back then as objects for relaxation, unliked by me, but suited for the jewell. The jewell was bought – even though it was not for sale – by friends who appreciated it and declared that I should better take the money so I will continue to produce objects. The admiration which I had for them and the presence of the apparently earned money, made me open my eyes more towards what I did not just as a hobby.

The domino, an object made out of love, a present, ended up among the objects exposed at a gallery with sale because it had the chance to be accidentily seen by the then curator of the gallery.

In 2012, the first prototypes appeared, due to the participation and the winning of the Delta Studio bathroom equipment contest. The HEX Series is now in the company’s portfolio.

The laborious experience of the HES production and the presence of the domino on sale, made me decide to establish a title especially created for the objects which I produced: Cabinet.

Cabinet is a brand which produces useful objects, assumed visually and tactil.

Also, Cabinet reminds that discipline is learned and the virtues are practiced.

  • How has the transition from architecture to your alternative activity occurred?

The production part of the objects was always present in what I did. Architecture was something else, I did not bring them together and they did not generate each other because they are different things. The scale counts in this discussion.

  • How do the two activities influence each other?

Working with objects, intimate to touch and user, I end up observing them even in architecture: I zoom in on details too fast. I then decide for zoom-extend, by letting the overall view to be first in line and give rise for the surprise which one can have when you externalise the work for the extended work team or towards the execution.

For the object production I am looking for a sustainable small scale approach, I am more attentive at the objects and user’s resources. I learned a lot working with people who know the materials, who feel them: wood, ceramics, flax, metal, leather.

Starting from a small scale, I understood the cultural impact of architecture but also of object production, equally: it changes our life if we are not attentive at the changes we make.

  • To what degree are you present in each of the activities?

Architecture is my day to day work.

Object production is a continues work in progress which interposes in the moments when I expect the less: when I draw free-style, when I travel, when I read. Then there is the time management and road work, for being able to truly produce the objects.