As is the case for many architects, 77-year-old Renzo Piano’s career started while building sandcastles near his childhood home on the shores of Genoa, Italy.

Since the days of his earliest structure designs, Piano has gone on to design some of the world’s most famous buildings including Paris’ Centre Pompidou, London’s Shard, and more recently, the new Whitney Museum building in New York City.

“Making things has always been a pleasure for me – happy hands, happy mind – and making sandcastles was my training in fantasy,” explains Piano. “Now, as an architect constructing buildings like the Shard, I have to think about the final result, but as a child making castles of sand I didn’t, they were ephemeral.”


With four children; the oldest is 50 and the youngest 16, building sandcastles is something that Piano never really gave up – even after receiving awards and recognition for buildings like the Shard.

In a recent article that Piano published in The Guardian, he describes the steps necessary for crafting the ‘perfect’ sandcastle.


Among other tips include making it clear that “building a sandcastle is a totally useless operation” and that builders – after putting a flag atop the finished structured – should “go home and don’t look back”.

“Make an entrance in the ditch for the sea to enter. The magic moment is when the waves come and the ditch becomes a moat. If the castle is in a good position, you can watch the water ebbing and flowing for 10 or 15 minutes. To capture the image in your memory quickly, close your eyes when the water comes in.”


Read Piano’s sandcastle tutorial in-full and get inspired to head to your local shore this weekend over at The Guardian.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.