Two piece makers combine design with imagination to complete architectural puzzles
Enter the studio of Filo Timo and you are instantly immersed in the sights and sounds of creation. The Junction Triangle space crackles with buzz-sawing and welding. Walk past this action, and Erica Pecoskie and George Simionopoulos are ready to usher you to the elegant office beyond, where delicate models – brass candlestick holders and custom signs – are arranged on every surface. Par for the course in a design studio, and then you look up to find you are sitting below a model of a triangular wood helipad – another one of the team’s wildly unique designs.
This is the one-stop design and fabrication studio you hire to imagine the crown jewel of your project, that architectural component – big or small – that elicits awe. Both trained architects, Simionopoulos and Pecoskie design, model and personalize features in collaboration with like-minded clients and architects who understand that a well-crafted detail can be an intrinsic part of a building’s character. The duo planted the seed for Filo Timo 10 years ago when Pecoskie consulted for Lord Cultural Resources, while Simionopoulos worked for Hariri Pontarini Architects on a temple in Chile. Simionopoulos gave Pecoskie an early look at plans for the Bahà’í Temple’s unique wing structures.
If the temple brought them together, a commission in 2011 from a Doctor Who fan delivered them to a whole new dimension via a time-machine vestibule. This stone and leather-sheathed metal sculpture – now housed in a private residence’s cinema foyer – is kitted out with vintage monitors, loudspeakers, bronze calibrators and other mysterious instruments. “That’s when we realized: there’s such a niche for building ideas,” says Simionopoulos. “Why don’t we create an environment to foster the impossible? And really push ideas right at the beginning.”
They officially opened Filo Timo (Greek for the sense of honour achieved by doing something well) last year, with a focus on process. They get excited about techniques old and new, from bronze casting and powder coating to laser-cutting and 3-D printing. “Design happens as you physicalize the project,” says Pecoskie.
For a newly completed house by KPMB, they worked with the architects to devise a bronze screen that reflects the homeowner, a mathematician. Step back, and what at first seems a simple perforated pattern reveals itself to be a massive motif of concentric circles based on a complex algorithm. Pushing the idea of tactility, especially where the hand meets the architecture, they’ve created a burnished door-pull cast from an actual baguette (for Forno Cultura on King Street West) and a set of silvery keys with gnarled, antler-like handles (for a private residence by local firm Reigo & Bauer). “It’s the idea that these are the keys for this house,” says Simionopoulos. This knack for ultimate personalization has made Filo Timo a go-to for fabricating identities in signage, too.
Then there’s that first project. All these years later, they have collaborated with Hariri Pontarini on some of the Bahà’í Temple’s special moments – among them a small yet stunning set of bronze hooks to fasten the entry gate’s rope. It encapsulates Filo Timo’s philosophy. As Pecoskie puts it: “The smallest moment contains the DNA of the entire project.”
Originally published in Issue 4, 2016 as Piece Makers.