BESSARDs Studio is an award-winning architecture and design office, based in Copenhagen. Led by Charles Bessard, the studio is versed in residential architecture, product design, interior design, and naval architecture.
Our story begins in 2005 under the name Powerhouse Company, which started as small yet international office based in Copenhagen and Rotterdam. In 2017 Powerhouse Company Copenhagen became BESSARDs Studio, re-centering its focus on residential architecture, domestic spaces, furniture and product design.
Our design philosophy is motivated by a fascination to materialize new possibilities, or ‘possibles’ – to allude to what is known in the art world as multiples. While the most eye-catching architecture gravitates to the one-off, the majority of the built environment consists of indiscriminate mass production. BESSARDs Studio is well-equipped to provide exclusive designs for tight-fit, tailored solutions, for client’s who desire unique solutions.
Yet what sets us apart is that we specialize in developing individualized ‘possibles’ of a slightly looser fit, that can work in a variety of settings and circumstances. These more inclusive ‘possibles’, can be designed and built in a cost-effective manner, each time adjusted to the specific desires and requirements.
Our designs explore the tension between the familiar and the surprising, between figuration and abstraction, and between tactile materiality and lofty ideals. Whereas BESSARDs Studio’s visual languages are diverse, specifically responding to each project, they share a sophisticated equilibrium between pragmatism and beauty, functionality and pleasure. Beauty and pleasure are not considered as a luxury; they are an essential part of wellbeing and everyday life.
´My imagination is nurtured by a diversity of atmospheres, emotions, landscapes, crafts and techniques, and art works both ancient and timelessly primordial, and contemporary and belonging to our ever-changing world and technology´.
BESSARDs Studio’s design process begins with gathering ‘what’s there’, to appreciate and the atmosphere of a place, to feel the culture of an object and to piece together the constellation of details that can make a project unique; at the same time, it is essential to develop and nurture a personal relationship with clients, to gain an empathic understanding of needs, wishes and desires.
This is essential to fully understand what a client really wants, which in our experience is always more than just a functional solution to a practical problem. Identifying the ideal terms of a project, and keeping them front and centre throughout the process of design and realization, is the best way to achieve a result that transcends the commonplace.
Ideals are always plural. Therefore, BESSARDs Studio never narrows down the design process immediately to one single idea, but always explores an array of possibilities. Working with multiple approaches allows us to deepen the dialogue with the client. And it helps to find the right solutions that are flexible and adaptable all along the process. It also helps to make the outcome everyone’s own, and loved.
For architecture and design to be loved requires excellent craftmanship, high-quality materials, and care and attention for durability and the possibility to repair. This is how BESSARDs Studio conceives beautiful and functional projects.
“From the very beginning of my career, I have privileged a holistic approach to design, based on a profound knowledge of materials, production techniques, constructive logics, and sustainability. This knowledge is essential for the success of BESSARDs Studio to let ideas take shape.”
Before moving to Copenhagen, Charles Bessard studied at the Ecole Speciale d’Architecture in Paris, in the city where he grew up among a family of furniture collectors and architects. He completed a post graduate degree at the Berlage Institute Laboratory of Architecture in Rotterdam. Prior to starting out BESSARDs Studio, Charles has been project leader in the offices of Jean Francois Bodin & Associates, and Jean Nouvel until 2005.
In parallel with leading his design practice, Charles has conducted doctoral studies at the Royal Danish Academy Architecture Design and Conservation in Copenhagen, with a focus on climate change and sea-level rise.
Charles Bessard has been teaching architecture since 1992; In 2014, together with Deane Simpson, he created a new international master program at Royal Danish Academy Architecture Design and Conservation, where he was appointed studio associate professor in 2018.