Studio [D] Tale: A building isn’t always the solution

Studio [D] Tale founders Maxwell Mutanda and Safia Qureshi look beyond the traditional distinctions of architectural practice.

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Maxwell Mutanda and Safia Qureshi are the duo behind Studio [D] Tale, a design firm based in London, Harare and Cape Town that practises architecture and design with a focus on social innovation. In this video interview, the designers talk about using their architectural skills to approach problems related to urbanism. In their experience, they found that the solution is not always building.

For Mutanda and Qureshi, architecture today is mostly about organising people, planning, building systems and resolving problems in the most resourceful way. Sometimes this requires building something but sometimes it just requires changing the way we look at a problem.

“We’ve noticed that some of the problems we try and solve don’t necessarily require a building as the final product. So we’ve seen ourselves doing a lot of work recently that looks at systems,” says Mutanda.

Qureshi adds that it is necessary to look beyond the traditional scope of what architects do, in order to change the outcome of a situation.

Their “Dollar Vans” project illustrates how they work. Instead of building a whole new system for Harare’s chaotic minibus routes, the duo decided to digitally map the over 200 routes that make up the network, for the passengers. This allowed commuters to get to know their city and better navigate their routes.

Maxwell Mutanda and Safia Qureshi will be speaking at Design Indaba Conference 2016. Book now.

Watch the Interview with Maxwell Mutanda, Safia Qureshi