Terms and Conditions
Welcome to TONGUES, provided by Voodoo Voodoo Ltd (“we”, “us”, “our”). Access to and use of this website (“TONGUES”) is provided by us on the basis of a number of important terms and conditions, which are set out in full below.
You should carefully read these terms and conditions (“terms”). When you use TONGUES, you will be legally bound by these terms, which will take effect from your first use of TONGUES. If you do not agree to be legally bound by these terms, then you should not use TONGUES>.
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Changes to Terms
We are continually seeking to update and improve TONGUES. As a result, we may make changes to TONGUES, including these terms, at any time. You will need to review these terms regularly so that you are aware of any changes we have made. You will be legally bound by the updated or amended terms from the first time that you use TONGUES after we post the changes on-line.
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Third party websites
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The extent of our responsibility to you has been determined in the context of the following:
access to TONGUES is provided to you free of charge;
it is your responsibility to determine the suitability of any TONGUES content for any particular purpose to which you wish to put it;
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Whilst we will endeavour to ensure that TONGUES is available to you and that content for which we are responsible is accurate, we cannot make any legal commitment or representation to you that TONGUES will be available at any particular time or that it or any TONGUES content will be of any particular quality or fit for any particular purpose. However, we will exercise reasonable skill and care in providing any service to you.
We can accept no liability to you for any of the following types of loss (should you suffer any of them as a result of your use of TONGUES):
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© TONGUES — An initiative by Voodoo Voodoo Ltd


Privacy & Cookies Policy
The tongues.cc website is operated by Voodoo Voodoo Ltd (‘TONGUES’).
This privacy policy applies to TONGUES.
We want you to enjoy our website and services secure in the knowledge that we have implemented fair information practices to protect your privacy. By visiting our website, you are accepting the practices described in our privacy policy, including our use of cookies and similar online tracking technologies. If you do not agree to the terms of this privacy policy, please do not use the website.
TONGUES may change this policy from time to time by updating this page and you should regularly check to ensure that you are happy with any changes. This policy was last updated on 11 February 2020.
The policy outlines:
1. General principle
2. How we collect information
3. Types of information we may collect
4. How we use your information
5. How we protect the information we collect
6. Access to your personal information
7. How to contact us
1. General principle
There are two types of information we may collect from you when you use the website: non-personally identifiable information and personally identifiable information. Non-personally identifiable information does not individually identify you, but it may include tracking and usage information about your general location, demographics, use of the website and the internet. Personally identifiable information is information that you voluntarily provide when you set up a user account, subscribe to a newsletter, or query that can individually identify you and may include your name and email address etc.
We do not link non-personally identifiable information to your personally identifiable information.
We do not share either type of information unless required to run the website and services (see third-party services below). We will never sell either type of information.
This privacy policy does not apply to any information collected outside of the website, including offline or through other means (for example, via telephone or through email), unless otherwise stated below or at the time of collection.
2. How we collect information
We collect information when you:
— Ask to be placed on an email newsletter list
Make an enquiry about our services
— Answer a reader survey
— Provide information to us
Links to other websites, social media platforms
Our website may contain links to other websites of interest. However, once you have used these links to leave our website, you should note that we do not have any control over the information that is collected and shared about you. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website in question.
You may interact with content on our website through social media platforms we use such as Facebook by using their social features. Examples of social features include ‘liking’ or ‘sharing’ our content. We encourage you to review their policies before using their tools, which can be found at their respective websites. If you’d prefer that these social media platforms do not collect information about the content you share and use, we suggest that you don’t use their tools.
3. Types of information we may collect
The types of information we may collect includes:
— Account information (email address)
— Information you provide through a TONGUES reader survey which might include age range, education level etc
TONGUES is not responsible for any information you have provided in public areas of our website or on our social media platforms, which may then be viewed by other users.
4. How we use your information
The information we collect may be used to help us:
— Provide services you voluntarily subscribed to such as email newsletters
— Improve the quality of our website
— Promote services to you including advising you of updates or changes to our website and services
— Improve the website through reader surveys and feedback
Disclosure to third-party services
As part of providing our website and services to you we use a limited number of third-party services that perform functions on our behalf, including but not limited to website hosting, server monitoring, tracking user behaviour, marketing automation services, and customer service.
We have no control over, and assume no responsibility for, the conduct, practices or privacy policies of these third-party services and encourage you to read the policies of the services we use below:
TONGUES uses the MailerLite marketing automation service to issue newsletters. Find out more about MailerLite’s Privacy Policy and Terms.
When you subscribe to our email newsletters
By clicking ‘Subscribe’ you agree to the following: 
We will use the email address you provide to send you a weekly or monthly email. We also send occasional updates and, no more than once a year, reader surveys. 
The email address/es you provide will be transferred to our external marketing automation service ‘MailerLite’ for processing in accordance with their Privacy Policy and Terms. We use MailerLite to issue our newsletters. We have no control over, and assume no responsibility for, the conduct, practices or privacy policies of MailerLite
You can change your mind at any time by clicking the ‘unsubscribe link’ in the footer of emails you receive from us, or by contacting us at [email protected]. If you want to review and correct the personal information we have about you, you can click on ‘update preferences’ in the footer of emails you receive from us, or by contacting us at [email protected].
5. How we protect the information we collect
We are committed to ensuring that your information is secure. We have taken reasonable measures to protect information about you from loss, theft, misuse or unauthorised access, disclosure, alteration and destruction. No physical or electronic security system is impenetrable however and you should take your own precautions to protect the security of any personally identifiable information you transmit. We cannot guarantee that the personal information you supply will not be intercepted while transmitted to us or third-party service providers. 
Sharing your personal information
We will not disclose your personal information except; (1) as described by this Privacy Policy (2) after obtaining your permission to a specific use or disclosure or (3) if we are required do so by a valid legal process or government request (such as a court order, a search warrant, a subpoena, a civil discovery request, or a statutory requirement). We will retain your information for as long as needed in light of the purposes for which it was obtained or to comply with our legal obligations and enforce our agreements. 
Data transfer
This website is published in the United Kingdom. If you are located in a country outside of these countries and voluntarily submit personally identifiable information to us, you should be aware that information about you will be transferred to this countries. We attempt to comply with local data protection laws to the extent that they may apply to TONGUES. 
Age of consent
Our website is not directed at children under the age of 18 and we do not knowingly collect or maintain information from those we know are younger than 18. If you are younger than 18, you should not submit or post any personally identifiable information to our website. By using the Service, you represent that you are at least 18 years of age.
6. Access to your personal information
You may request a copy of the personal information we hold about you by submitting a written request to [email protected]. We may only implement requests with respect to the personal information associated with the particular email address you use to send us the request. We will try and respond to your request as soon as reasonably practical. When you receive the information, if you think any of it is wrong or out of date, you can ask us to change or delete it for you. 
We take all reasonable steps to ensure the information held is accurate, up-to-date, complete, relevant and not misleading. 
7. Contact us
If you have any questions about our privacy policy or our use of your information, please contact us at [email protected].

Megumi Aihara & Dan Spiegel

June 17 / 2022


Architect Dan Spiegel and landscape architect Megumi Aihara founded San Francisco-based SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop, Inc. in 2014 as a transdisciplinary design practice. The central focus of SAW’s work is the productive tension between architecture and landscape architecture, identifying the blind spots that arise between disciplines and taking advantage of hidden opportunities therein. SAW is concerned primarily with conceptions of experience over time and how the design process can produce the ever-evolving life of a project.

SAW’s work spans scales from the tactile object to the city, and timelines from the immediate to the ecological, A shifting mix of speculative, pragmatic, academic, and experimental starts have produced over 30 completed projects of varying scales with another 14 active construction sites at the start of 2022. Rather than defining each of these projects as work for a single client at a single site, SAW conceives of them as ongoing pursuits of frameworks or ideas across multiple locations, timelines, and clients.


Q >How long have you two worked together, and how did the formation of SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop come about?

MA >We met in graduate school and aside from helping each other with building models for studio courses, our first true collaboration was a research travel grant that looked at the Promenade Plantee in Paris from both a landscape and architectural lens.

DS >

I think we were sort of thinking about it as a clever way to fund a vacation, but the research project really did end up informing a lot of current interests — yes, landscape and architecture — but also questions of layering timelines, adaptive reuse, and the transformation of physical infrastructure into community infrastructure. These interests have often guided the projects in the office and the studios we teach (at CCA and Berkeley). 

So, that’s all to say that we met in 2005, started collaborating informally shortly thereafter, got married in 2013 at the site of the first project we completed together, and officially founded SAW in 2014. It all might seem pretty deliberate — or at least linear, but we were just feeling things through, consumed by interesting design challenges. There are certainly interdisciplinary offices out there, either as a result of wanting to take on additional scale or scope.

MA >For us, it just seemed like an essential way of thinking, at the most basic level.



Q >What do the two of you have in common; in which ways are you different? And how does this  inform your collaborative process? 

MA >I think I work more intuitively than Dan, who is perhaps more cerebral and conceptual.

DS >That might be so. Megumi’s background is in fine art — and especially glassblowing. You can see that design is a little bit more physical to her — even when she’s drawing on the computer, you can catch her moving her head back and forth as though to try to see things from another angle despite the static flat screen. Certainly with her landscape work, there is much more composition taking place in the field — hoisting plants into arrangements, responding to the characteristics of specific living specimens, working things through the contours of the land, and playing off of ecological systems that for all practical purposes are almost impossible to draw ahead.

I studied Public Policy in undergrad which is indicative of my mindset as more of a planner, as someone who generally starts with words, and wants to talk things out, to identify frameworks and work them through. But we share a certain kind of pragmatism, a desire to do things correctly and well but not extravagantly, and a belief that the characteristics of our environments have a profound impact on our lives. 

MA >We agree more often than not, but at least there’s a disciplinary tie-breaker in case of emergency.

Q >You have produced over 30 completed projects of varying scales with another 14 active construction sites at the start of 2022.

a) What is the golden thread thread or underlying ethos that is woven through each of them? 

DS >On the one hand, we try not to approach any particular project with an agenda. We hunt for constraints, for blind spots, for peculiarities, for surprises. But there’s an underlying commitment to human experience, as a phenomenon that is continuous, that doesn’t care about whether you are inside or outside, that is less concerned with these thresholds than our design disciplines are. The landscape and the architecture should be more than complementary — they should be the same thing. And because of the different timelines that the component parts operate on (plants and ecosystems take time to grow, structures weather and decay), it can take some time for the full project to become itself. It’s about setting up a process of emergence.

b) What are the key elements a project should have in order for you to be willing to take it on?

MA >We are still eager and open to almost all projects that come our way — and luckily, they’ve all been special to us in their own way. We love wide-ranging explorations and our most exciting projects present design questions both big and small, letting us work inside and out.

DS >We just want to work with people who really care about the process as well as the product on projects without predetermined outcomes. As long as there’s something to explore, we’re usually down. Oftentimes, that just means some sort of community benefit — we’re happy for that to be the exploration, rather than a particular material or aesthetic outcome.

MA >And of course, that assumes certain shared values are in place — sustainability, equity, fair labour practices.

c) How does where you live affect your work – both your designs and your ways of working?

DS >We live in San Francisco, where our office is based, but we do work all over the place — and make it a priority to draw from site context.

MA >I was born in Japan, and grew up in Hawaii — but working in California has made me so much more aware of the power and the precarity of the landscape, especially here. Earthquakes, sea level rise, and wildfires — these are all a constant contrast to the immense beauty and diversity of the natural setting. This fragility makes working in the landscape carefully feel more urgent and potent.

Q >How can architects and designers play a more meaningful role in the fight against climate change?

MA >While I’m still torn about whether construction is harmful or helpful toward the overall health of the planet, I think our best role as designers is to teach more people to care more about their surroundings and reframe their relationships toward the larger environment.

DS >We can certainly do more to use sustainable techniques, technologies, and materials. But I think the most important element of this is to help visualise new subjectivities — ways in which we can inhabit our environments differently and more responsibly, and how that can actually enhance our daily experiences.

Q >Your project PLA has been described as “a network of reconfigurable, re-deployable charging stations built from an electrified kit of parts”.

a) What does PLA stand for?

MA >It was a little tongue in cheek — Plug-in, LA! and also Play!

DS >Plus the P kind of looks like a plug symbol in our graphics. It’s about embracing the challenge as the identity.

b) Can you unpack why you opted for something that is transitional in nature, rather than a permanent re-envisioning of gas station sites?

DS >I think the permanence of the current gas station infrastructure is part of what got us all into trouble in the first place — it’s just not that easy to remove them, even if you want to. But the issue is two-fold. First, gas stations tend to occupy really important positions in the urban fabric in a place like LA — corners, high traffic areas — but is this the best use for these spaces? We assume no — which is why we propose a choreography of temporary charging infrastructure to allow for charging of vehicles while the contaminated sites can be repurposed towards more long range, community supporting types.

MA >We put together a whole elaborate matrix about how to think of what these might be.

DS >Secondly, critically, the technology has changed, and continues to change rapidly. Electricity is already in every home — gas pumps are not. Electricity is relatively safe and clean to be around — petroleum is not. So it’s reasonable to think that we could start to think of vehicles as more like devices than something needing heavy infrastructure. Right now, charging takes a relatively long time, which takes up space. But that will change very soon. If we designed all the charging stations around current charging durations, these would be obsolete basically as soon as they are complete, wasting space, effort, money, and opportunity. And when you add in the future of automation, shared ownership, and so on — it makes it clear that impermanence is not only strategic, but inevitable. 



Q >Who and what inspires you?

MA >Post-apocalyptic depictions of landscapes in Japanese anime.

DS >Greenhouses, train stations, very heavy books.


Dan Spiegel received a Master of Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and BA in Public Policy from Stanford University. He is a licensed architect in the states of California and Hawaii and is a Continuing Lecturer in Architecture at UC Berkeley.

Megumi Aihara received a Master of Landscape Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and a BA in Visual Arts from Brown University. She is an Adjunct Professor of architecture at California College of the Arts (CCA) and a licensed Landscape Architect in the states of California and Hawaii.

Developing a Complex. Image courtesy SAW

Memory Boxes. Image courtesy SAW

Harvey Milk Plaza. Image courtesy SAW

Other Objectives. Image courtesy SAW

Sportz. Image courtesy SAW

The Middle Half. Image courtesy SAW

The Fourth Wall. Image courtesy SAW

A to Z House. Photography by Bruce Damonte

Void House. Photography by Mikiko Kikuyama