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Meet Romain Costa

Founder of Costa-Bonnamour Architectures and Influencer

Meet Romain Costa - illustration 1

From his childhood in the north of France to the creation of his Parisian architectural brand, Romain Costa has established himself as one of the most influential architects and influencers of his generation. Passionate about art, always on the go and always with his eyes wide open, this unique influencer, whose credo is 'Architect on the move' answered our questions. From  fashion, to architecture and interior design, discover the variety of inspirations of an art lover in all its forms.

Hello Romain! As an architect but also an influencer, can you tell us a little bit about your background and your projects? 

Hello, indeed, I do a combination of these two jobs (although I don't so much adhere to the term influencer, which suggests an influencing/influenced relationship between myself and the people who follow me on Instagram). 

Architecture has been a passion of mine since childhood. As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be an architect; as a child, I loved creative disciplines as much as I loved science. So I wanted to do a job that would allow me to escape, whilst also being practical. 

I studied in Belgium, at the Instituts Saint Luc for several reasons: for the reputation of Belgian education and for the proximity of Belgium to the city where I grew up, Lille. In Brussels, I discovered urban culture and electronic music. After returning to my hometown for a few years where I worked as an architect, I came to settle in Paris. Alongside my main activity, I started to develop my Instagram and blog which are both a mix between architecture, lifestyle and fashion. They became a good way for me to combine the rigor of the architectural profession in the office I co-founded, Costa Bonnamour and my passions, as well as other projects that are close to my heart such as the project @_jamesdine_). 

You have an established style, an Instagram feed that makes fashion bloggers pale in comparison and a well-informed artistic allure, where do you find your inspiration on a daily basis? 

I find my inspiration in everyday life. My training as an architect has allowed me to work on my perspective, my view of the world. I see beauty and potential in everything. I'm also passionate about fashion, I am always attentive to the smallest details that make up the city, I never leave my camera behind and always make sure that my street styles reveal surprising cityscapes or amazing interiors. For a very long time, I only posted photos with blue (you can see my before/after on my other account Since last summer, I've been going out of my comfort zone by changing colours: right now I'm in my pink period but next week, I'm back to blue! 

Meet Romain Costa - illustration 1
Meet Romain Costa - illustration 1

And whilst we're on the topic of inspiration, which contemporary, famous or emerging artists inspire you? 

I grew up with a picture of Picasso (by Doisneau) in my room as a child and for a long time I thought it was someone in my family. He is one of my mother's favourite artists and she passed on her admiration for him to me. I'm lucky enough to be near the Picasso Museum in Paris, so I regularly go there to recharge my batteries. 

You describe yourself as an architect on the go, what does that mean to you? Which landscapes, urban or rural, which details, which colours... attract your attention? 

The phrase that has accompanied my blog from the start is: Architect on a walk. Sometimes I get dressed (Architecte en balade. Parfois je m'habille). I remember coming across this phrase on the street, upon my arrival in Paris. I wanted people to understand in a few words what I was going to talk about: architecture, walking (architectural or as a tourist) and fashion. 

Being on a stroll just shows that I like to be on the move, (^) while being curious at the same time. I'm a very urban boy but I am re-energised by nature. I was lucky, as a child, to grow up on the edge of a forest in the North of France, in Crox, just a few minutes away from the city. This promiscuity between nature and the city allowed me to never miss either one. 

I am attracted by all the details that make up the city, from bus shelters to bins on the street. I find beauty in the seemingly mundane because that's what allows my senses to reveal the extraordinary within it. This beauty of the banal, I made it the subject of my final thesis in architecture. I worked on the disappearance of French fry huts in the North of France and Belgium, wondering whether the disappearance of these urban makeshift buildings was not a standardisation of our cities and a loss of character. It may sound crazy, but this observation led me to more universal questions about the city and its current constructions. 

Meet Romain Costa - illustration 1
Meet Romain Costa - illustration 1

 What are the last exhibitions that have stuck with you and why? 

I go to a lot of Parisian exhibitions in order to talk about them on my blog. In fashion, the exhibition I've liked the most lately is the one by the Azzedine Alaïa association showcasing Balenciaga pieces from Alaïa's private collection (each time putting them in dialogue with Alaïa's pieces). In design and architecture, I loved Charlotte Perriand's 'Le Nouveau' exhibition, simply because this woman fascinates me both in her career and in the quality of her work. In art, I was disturbed by Christian Boltanski's exhibition. 

What is your favourite cultural place in France? And in the world? 

My favourite cultural place would probably be the Villa Cavrois de Mallet-Stevens, because having grown up next door, I have seen it transformed to regain its full scope. 

In the world, the Chichu Art Museum by architect Tadao Ando. 

You are also an art lover, what would be your advice to give an apartment or office a unique sense of character? 

To choose artworks or objects that provoke an emotion. Personally, I always choose works of art or artistic objects that soothe me, most often ceramic and very often with architectural forms. In order to maximise their impact, I always try to display them in a minimal way so as not to suffocate them, I am more of a 'less is more' than a curiosity cabinet type. 

And finally, during this lockdown period, we of course want to know: what does your interior look like? Have you reviewed the decoration or the layout in view of the situation? 

One of the most important things in my living/dining room is a low bookcase that runs the whole length of one of the walls and upon which are placed clay art objects and some plants. Books hold an important place in my everyday life and in this time of lockdown, I am delighted to have them with me. As for the furniture, it is rather 1950s in style. On my walls, there are few things: two works of art and three large photo prints (two of architecture and one of my mother as a child). 

I haven't really changed the decoration of the apartment, I mostly take care of my plants at the moment, which I don't always have time to do the rest of the year. 

Their favourite artworks

Our recommendations Li Wei, On the surface of the earth, Photography

Li Wei

On the surface of the earth, 2004
39.4 x 39.4 inch

$ 9,840

Albert Ràfols-Casamada, Accord d’Ombres 2, Print

Albert Ràfols-Casamada

Accord d’Ombres 2, 2002
30.3 x 44.1 inch

$ 2,232

Our recommendations Robert Longo, Untitled (Men in the Cities), Photography

Robert Longo

Untitled (Men in the Cities), 1979
20 x 54.3 inch

$ 27,799

Le Corbusier, Unite, Print

Le Corbusier

Unite, 1965
22.4 x 17.7 inch

$ 12,054

Jean Fautrier, Nu couché II, Print

Jean Fautrier

Nu couché II, 1944
15 x 22.4 inch

$ 2,214

Pablo Picasso, Vase avec Decoration Pastel (Ramie 190), Sculpture

Pablo Picasso

Vase avec Decoration Pastel (Ramie 190), 1953
12.6 x 8.7 x 6.3 inch

$ 34,000

Our recommendations Claude Viallat, 7e Prix Denis-Lalanne, Print

Claude Viallat

7e Prix Denis-Lalanne, 2019
17.7 x 12.2 x 0.4 inch

Sold out

Amedeo Modigliani, Tête de jeune fille à la frange (d'après Amedeo Modigliani), Sculpture

Amedeo Modigliani

Tête de jeune fille à la frange (d'après Amedeo Modigliani), 2019
27.6 x 6.7 x 9.1 inch

$ 23,371

Jeremy Annear, Cascading Line (Polka), Painting

Jeremy Annear

Cascading Line (Polka), 2013
47.2 x 63 inch

$ 35,375