Daniele Myrhaug believes that modern architecture is too colourless and does not feel that regulations should place too many limitations on design language. “It makes you wonder what it might do to us if we were to grow up in a grey environment where everything is the same,” says the architect.

Where did you train?

“I went to university in Rio and became a qualified architect and urbanist, which is an urban planner, in 2004. I subsequently landed a job as a trainee with a large American company in Brazil and worked with heavy architecture, as part of which, among other things, I designed gas plants and associated structures for several locations in South America.”

You grew up in Brazil and trained as an architect back home before moving to Norway, what was the reason for this?

“I grew up in a poor family in a working-class area outside of Rio de Janeiro and I wasn’t particularly old before I realised how my surroundings affected me. I found myself irritated by little things like the pavements being too damaged for people to push a pram and there being lots of litter on the streets.

I became more and more aware of how basic infrastructure could help influence quality of life. At the same time, my mother always said that the only way out of poverty was through education and it was completely natural for me to choose to study architecture.”

But you then ended up in Norway, how did that happen?

“I heard about Aker Solutions in Oslo and that they were looking for an architect and I was tempted. They needed an architect to design offshore living quarters and, as there weren’t all that many people with my background around, I ended up getting the job.

I moved to Norway, on my own, at the age of 28 and worked for Aker Solutions for ten years. I couldn’t speak any Norwegian, so it was a major plus that Aker Solutions undertake their work internationally and use English as their main language.”

The transition from a poor area of Brazil to Oslo and later Kristiansand sounds like a major one?

“Yes, this is true, but it’s been fine. I met my husband in Oslo but he is from Kristiansand. We moved to his home town in 2010 and I was lucky enough to be able to continue working for Aker Solutions in Kristiansand.

I largely designed offshore living quarters but, after a while, I realised I wanted to try my hand at land-based architecture. It started with a few projects for people I knew and has grown to include more and more.

In 2016 I decided to take my experiences with me and move on. I left Aker Solutions and started my Alma Eik journey.”

Belinda Bjerke and architect Daniele Myrhaug at Multiform Kristiansand

What do you consider good architecture?

“Good architecture is something that challenges and, perhaps, provokes a little, as well as triggering thoughts and feelings. Good architecture can also leave its mark on history and say something about our time.”

What is it you like most about being an architect?

“It is a passion and it is extremely satisfying to succeed with a challenging project. There is a great deal of happiness to be found in creative work and I love creating great solutions for people.”

Who would you say the job is suitable for?

“You have to feel that you enjoy it and be willing to work hard. And you need to be a great listener and know that you like people.

Sometimes you act as a psychologist, as there are many choices to be made and strong feelings come into play. It is also a profession that combines multiple disciplines and you need to understand the practical aspects and have some understanding of the actual construction process.

But the latter comes with learning and it is crucial that you are passionate about the profession and have a genuine interest in design and colour and ideally also some community engagement.”

You are now working for a company that supplies turnkey solutions, including interior design, this is somewhat at odds with where you started?

“Yes, but it is extremely interesting to work side by side with interior designers and to deliver turnkey solutions. It is all about the crucial whole. But it has been challenging too.

When I decided to work with land-based architecture, there were some obstacles I needed to overcome first. The first was learning Norwegian and it has been a great help to have a Norwegian husband.

But I also had to familiarise myself with Norwegian rules and regulations and Norway also uses a lot of wood in production, which is not all that common in Brazil.”

What is it you like most about being an architect?

“It is a passion and it is extremely satisfying to succeed with a challenging project. There is a great deal of happiness to be found in creative work and I love creating great solutions for people.”

Who would you say the job is suitable for?

“You have to feel that you enjoy it and be willing to work hard. And you need to be a great listener and know that you like people.

Sometimes you act as a psychologist, as there are many choices to be made and strong feelings come into play. It is also a profession that combines multiple disciplines and you need to understand the practical aspects and have some understanding of the actual construction process.

But the latter comes with learning and it is crucial that you are passionate about the profession and have a genuine interest in design and colour and ideally also some community engagement.”

You are now working for a company that supplies turnkey solutions, including interior design, this is somewhat at odds with where you started?

“Yes, but it is extremely interesting to work side by side with interior designers and to deliver turnkey solutions. It is all about the crucial whole. But it has been challenging too.

When I decided to work with land-based architecture, there were some obstacles I needed to overcome first. The first was learning Norwegian and it has been a great help to have a Norwegian husband.

But I also had to familiarise myself with Norwegian rules and regulations and Norway also uses a lot of wood in production, which is not all that common in Brazil.”

Daniele Myrhaug and Belinda Bjerke from Multiform Kristiansand

What are your thoughts on architecture and colour?

“Generally speaking, I find that our surroundings are too colourless and I find it somewhat uninteresting if there is no variation in design and colour. I am also against placing too many restrictions on design language.

Naturally, I understand the reason for adding constraints, but I was once involved in a project in which the percentage of light and dark coloured properties had been pre-defined and this just makes it too uniform. It makes you wonder what it does to us if we grow up in a grey environment where everything looks the same.”

The article is written by Kari Byklum and published in Aftenposten.

Daniele Myrhaug Age: 39 years
Family: Married with two children (two and four years old)
Lives: Detached house on the Justnes peninsula
Education: Architect and urbanist from the University of Rio (UFF), qualified in 2004
Currently: Architect (MNAL – Member of the National Association of Norwegian Architects) and co-owner of the architecture and interior design firm Alma Eik arkitektur og interiørdesign