Claret-Cup is a female-lead architectural and design practice drawing on over twenty years of experience in thoughtfully designed projects, realized at a variety of scales from furniture to residences to urban environments.
Our work is founded in rigorous research and thrives in discovering ways to make a complex problem simple, with innovative and singular architectural solutions. Our approach to design is site specific and unique to each project.
We use unadorned, natural building materials to bring together interior spaces with the surrounding landscape and environment and work with structural materials that take on the role of intimate textures. The dialog with our clients is the foundation for our design process. We aim to create objects and spaces with an open mind towards experimentation that support unconventional modes of living.
Bojána Bányász, Architect, AIA
Bojána is an architect licensed in California, and a founding partner of Claret-Cup.
In her over two decades in practice, Bojána has worked in direct collaboration with prestigious institutions such as the Getty Conservation Institute and the Eames Foundation in Los Angeles, and world-renowned art galleries such as Blum and Poe in Culver City and Hangar Bicocca in Milan, Italy.
After relocating to California from Budapest (Hungary), Bojána earned a Bachelor of Arts from Pomona College and a Master of Architecture from the Southern California Institute of Architecture, and was Associate at the award-winning firm Escher Gunewardena Architecture, an engagement that lasted fourteen years before co-founding Claret-Cup. She taught design studios and construction documents courses at Woodbury University School of Architecture and co-taught the university’s study abroad programs in Rome, Hungary and Poland.
Bojána brings to the team a kind yet resolute sense of leadership, a wealth of knowledge of codes, regulations and building systems, a tremendous amount of experience in construction administration, a sharp intellect and talent for creating intelligent and sophisticated design solutions.
She designs with a clear understanding of how things are built, and has a keen interest in custom-detailing.
When not on a construction site or at her desk, Bojána can be found in the desert dancing in the light of a full moon, projecting at the rock-climbing gym, or stargazing from the point of view of a tent pitched somewhere in deep nature.
Donatella Cusmá, AIA International Assoc.
Donatella is an Italian architect licensed by the Italian Board of Architects Messina Chapter and a founding partner of Claret-Cup.
She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Universitá Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria with a Master’s Degree in Architecture, and holds a fellowship in Architecture and Habitat of Developing Countries from the Polytechnic of Turin.
Donatella is a board member of the Research Institute for Experimental Architecture founded by Lebbeus Woods in 1989 and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design.
Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Donatella worked for the award-winning Architecture and Landscape firm Zagari Architetti in Rome. Later she joined the team of Tracy A. Stone Architect, where she worked on private and public projects.
In addition to private practice, she has co-instructed international architecture workshops in Italy, Mexico, Hong Kong and Sweden and was adjunct faculty at Woodbury University School of Architecture from 2008-2017 where she taught design studios at the undergraduate and graduate level, analog and digital fabrication seminars and co-lead the Study Abroad Program in Rome, Sicily and Japan.
Donatella brings to the team the ability of distilling complex ideas into clear design solutions, a passion for meticulous research, an innate sensitivity towards materials and programmatic narratives, and a talent for sophisticated and detailed design solutions.
When not drawing or researching, she can be found cooking dinner for thirty of her friends, in the garden with her goat Lebbeus, at a museum opening or sea-swimming.
Misako Ohno, Project Designer
Misako is a Los Angeles-based designer, who grew up in a traditional Japanese house designed by her architect father, which has greatly influenced her career choice in architecture.
Misako graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo and she has also earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture from Woodbury University in California. She met Bojana and Donatella as a student at Woodbury University, and upon graduating, she became Claret-Cup’s first designer.
She brings her meticulous sense of detail and sensitivity to nuance to all her tasks at the studio from model-building, through BIM modeling and drafting, digital fabrication, project documentation. She is also a tireless support in ushering project through the city entitlement process, however complex.
Besides design, she loves to explore different countries and experience new cultures, as well as hiking and learning to cook the local regional cuisine. Since she turned 15, she has visited over 20 countries. In the US she has ties in Tennessee and explores her local California desert region in her 4×4 Jeep.
Paulina Ocampo Felipe, Architectural Designer
Paulina is a Mexican architect who is new to Los Angeles, and is passionate about art and architecture.
She fell in love with Italy and its culture at a very early age. This passion led her to study in Milan, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture at the Politecnico di Milano.
After graduating, Paulina returned to Mexico City to practice architecture and explore her architectural heritage. She spent five years working on projects of various scales from design through construction, paying special attention to detail. In 2019 Paulina returned for her graduate studies to Milano and completed a double Master’s Degree in Architecture at the Politecnico di Milano and ENSAPVS: École Nationale d’Architecture Paris Val de Seine, where she focused on exploring the importance of architectural heritage and its transformation.
At Claret-Cup she brings her passion for design to all project development phases, supports her ideas and nurtures her sensibility with voracious precedent research, and is unafraid to take charge when needed.
When not at Claret-Cup, she enjoys exploring the city on roller-blades and thinking about new ways of creating architecture.
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