Spotlight: Jean Nouvel

© Artribune

“My interest has always been in an architecture which reflects the modernity of our epoch as opposed to the rethinking of historical references. My work deals with what is happening now—our techniques and materials, what we are capable of doing today.”

Today is the 69th birthday of the great French architect and designer, Jean NouvelThe winner of the Wolf Prize in 2005 and the Pritzker of 2008, Nouvel has attempted to design each of his projects without any preconceived notions, resulting in a variety of projects that – while strikingly different – always demonstrate an interesting use of light and shadow as well as a harmonious balance with their surroundings. More on the Pritzker-winning architect, after the break.

His variety of work can be seen in such acclaimed works as the Institut du Monde Arabe and the Fondation Cartier and. Nouvel also has a series of notable projects currently in the works, such as the New Louvre in Abu Dhabi and the National Art Museum of China.

In honor of his birthday, take a moment to revisit Nouvel’s previous works on ArchDaily.

Light Matters: Mashrabiyas – Translating Tradition into Dynamic Facades

INSTITUT DU MONDE ARABE, Paris, France (1981 – 1987). Architecture: Jean Nouvel, Gilbert Lézénès, Pierre Soria, Architecture Studio. Image © Georges Fessy

The delicate mashrabiya has offered effective protection against intense sunlight in the Middle East for several centuries. However, nowadays this traditional Islamic window element with its characteristic latticework is used to cover entire buildings as an oriental ornament, providing local identity and a sun-shading device for cooling. In fact, designers have even transformed the vernacular wooden structure into high-tech responsive daylight systems. 

Jean Nouvel is one of the leading architects who has strongly influenced the debate about modern mashrabiyas.  His Institut du monde arabe in Paris was only the precedent to two buildings he designed for the harsh sun of the Middle East: The Tower, which is completely wrapped with a re-interpretation of the mashrabiya, and the Louvre museum with its luminous dome.

More mashrabiyas, after the break…

The Oxymore: Angularity That Belies Comfort

Courtesy of Figueras

JeanNouvelDesign, the studio led by French architect , presented their new collection of during Paris Design Week. Among them is the Oxymore chair, designed by JeanNouvelDesign and produced by specialty group-seating manufacturer Figueras International Seating. This fetishistic chair, a result of research conducted at the Figueras Design Centre, has a singular cubic appearance that provides extreme comfort, softness. It is precisely this unapparent relationship between look and feeling that gives the seat its name—since an oxymoron means a union of contradictory elements.

VIDEO: Jean Nouvel on Arabic Architecture, Context and Culture

In this powerful interview, Jean Nouvel explains his relationship to Arabic architecture. Discussing his various projects in Arabic countries – such as his office tower in Doha or the Louvre Abu Dhabi - Nouvel discusses how he is influenced by and integrates the abstraction and geometry of traditional Islamic architecture into his modern designs. He also espouses a strong opinion on the understanding of context in architecture, saying: “I’m a contextual architect, but for me the context isn’t only the site. It’s above all a wider historical context – a cultural context… each time, building is trying to continue a history, and to take part in this history.” His architecture, he says, is about listening: “The architect is not meant to impose his own values or his own sensitivities on such general plans.” Video via Louisiana.

Happy Birthday Jean Nouvel!

© Artribune

“My interest has always been in an architecture which reflects the modernity of our epoch as opposed to the rethinking of historical references. My work deals with what is happening now—our techniques and materials, what we are capable of doing today.”

Today is the 68th of the great French architect and designer, Jean NouvelThe winner of the Wolf Prize in 2005 and the Pritzker of 2008, Nouvel has attempted to design each of his projects without any preconceived notions, resulting in a variety of projects that – while strikingly different – always demonstrate an interesting use of light and shadow as well as a harmonious balance with their surroundings. This can be seen in such acclaimed works as the Institut du Monde Arabe and the Fondation Cartier and is also notable in his proposals for future projects, such as the New Louvre in Abu Dhabi and the National Art Museum of China.

More info on this Pritzker-winning architect, after the break.

Best Architect-Designed Products of Milan Design Week 2013

Tools for Life / © Ilan Rubin

This week at the 52nd edition of the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, over 2,500 exhibitors showcased an endless collection of the latest international and home-furnishing designs. Among them included a variety of elegant and intelligently designed items envisioned by some of our favorite architects. Continue after the break to scroll through a list of the best architect-designed featured at the Milan Design Week 2013.

Milan Design Week 2013: Office for Living / Jean Nouvel

© Alessandro Russotti

This week, 2008 Pritzker Prize laureate Jean Nouvel is expressing his vision for the workspaces of the future at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan. Nouvel was asked by Cosmit, the Salone’s parent company, to create a huge project tailored specifically to the Saloni that would document the tremendous changes that have altered living and working spaces over the past few years. Nouvel responded with a project that “frees up the office space” and is a “counter to urban segregation and the zoning of other specially dedicated workplaces.” He achieves these goals in his design by rejecting cloned and enclosed spaces as well as serial repetitiveness, suggesting more cohesive formulas that will better serve the domestic and international workplaces of the future.

More from Cosmit on “Project: office for living” after the break.

Ceramica Cumella: Shaping Ideas

Aichi Expo, Japan © Ceramica Cumella

From September 29th to December 8th, the exhibition dedicated to the work of Toni Cumella will be open. His works in ceramic have been utilised by architects such as Enric Miralles, Alejandro Zaera-Polo, or Jean Nouvel. These collaborations made his material became part of the image of Barcelona, being part of the construction of La Sagrada Familia, and the restoration of Casa Batlló and Parc Güell.

Focusing on the 4 main fabrication processes in use at Ceramica Cumella – extruding, casting, pressing and revolving – Shaping Ideas presents the work of Toni Cumella and the application of his ceramics in some of contemporary architecture’s most significant projects.

Jean Nouvel selected to design new National Art Museum of China

© Patrick Gage Kelley

Rumors are flying that Pritzker Prize winning architect Jean Nouvel has been selected to design the new National Art Museum of (NAMOC) in Beijing. Although the official announcement isn’t due until November, Architectural Record has claimed that multiple, unidentified sources confirmed the news. If the reports are true, the French architect will have beat out fellow Pritzker Prize-winning architects Frank Gehry and for the highly coveted commission.

In a post-2008 Olympics attempt to attract more visitors to the area, the massive, 1.3 million square foot structure will be built next to the Herzog & de Meuron-designed Bird’s Nest. It will be one of three buildings planned for the area – the others being a museum dedicated to arts and crafts and a Sinology museum.

Continue after the break to learn what may have given Nouvel the edge.

Moritz Brewery / Jean Nouvel

© Iñigo Bujedo Aguirre

Spanish photographer Iñigo Bujedo Aguirre just shared with us these beautiful photos of one of Jean Nouvel‘s latest project in , : A gastronomy and cultural center for Catalan beer company Moritz.

Some more photographs after the break.

Developer Plans for New York’s Next Iconic Building

425 Park Ave. © John W. Cahill / CTBUH

Boxy replicas of high-end offices dominate New York’s Park Avenue skyline, with only two modernist exceptions breaking the mold – Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram Building and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s Lever House. As the static skyline has remained largely untouched for nearly four decades, New York City developer L&L Holding Co. has announced plans to replace the aging tower of 425 Park Avenue with a new state-of-the-art, LEED-certified skyscraper. Norman Foster, , Zaha Hadid and Richard Meier are just a few of the eleven distinguished architects that L&L has invited to join in a competition for the redevelopment of the 65 year-old tower.

Continue reading for more.

New Police Headquarters and Extension of Charleroi/Danses / Jean Nouvel and MDW Architecture

Courtesy of and MDW Architecture

The new Police headquarters and the extension of /Danses was designed by Jean Nouvel and MDW Architecture. The City of Charleroi has commissioned the CFE group to design, build, finance and maintain this ambitious project. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Update: Jean Nouvel Jewelbox Houses Historic Carousel in NYC

© Roland Halbe

Since it’s opening on September 16th, the Jean Nouvel acrylic encasement and historic Jane’s Carousel has become a landmark in the heart of for New York families. The welcoming public pavilion offers spectacular views of the East River, the and Brooklyn Bridges, and the skyline.

Continue reading for more detailed information and images.

AD Classics: Institut du Monde Arabe / Jean Nouvel

© Flickr / Laura Manning

In the early eighties Jean Nouvel in conjunction with Architecture-Studio won the competition to design what would become the Institut du Monde Arabe. It was conceived during the Grands Projets, a major development initiative headed by the French government. The IMA was produced through collaboration with the countries of the Arab League and the French government.  Upon its completion in 1987, it quickly became a popular destination for the local populace as well as tourists. More details after the break.

Jean Nouvel Jewelbox Houses Historic Carousel

© Paul Clemence

In 1922 the Philadelphia Toboggan Company made a classic 3-row carousel with 48 carved horses and 2 chariots accompanied by wood carvings that are said to be among the finest of their kind. This historic carousel, the first to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places, re-opened to the public on September 16th. Jane’s Carousel, entirely restored including original scenery panels, rounding boards, crests, center pole and platform is nestled between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges within a designed acrylic pavilion in .  Nouvel’s steel framed clear box can be opened on two sides providing an open-aired experience. At night white shades can be drawn and the shadows of the 48 horses dance across the walls.

Paul Clemence shared with us his photographs of Jean Nouvel’s pavilion and Jane’s Carousel.

Architecture City Guide: Madrid

This week, with the help of our readers, our Architecture City Guide is headed to Madrid. As the third largest city in the European Union, Madrid is the economic and political capital of . The streets and neighborhoods for the most part remains historic, but the city is punctuated with moments of engaging and interesting contemporary architecture. For those who have followed our city guides, you will have noticed that this is our second stop in . That said, Madrid is distinctly different from . The differences between the two are manifested in their architecture, both old and new. Our lists only cover relatively recent projects, but a quick glance at the two will give you a sense of the differing cultures and lifestyles (Barcelona’s City Guide). Both lists are far from complete and we are looking to add to them in the near future. In the meantime add more of your favorites to the comment section below.

To check out other cities visit our world map or our Architecture City Guide  page.

The Architecture City Guide: Madrid list and corresponding map after the break.

Architecture City Guide: Barcelona

This week, with the help of our readers, our Architecture City Guide is headed to . We recently featured an engaging where Wiel Arets half jokingly said Barcelona is fantastic but boring. He continued to say as soon as Sagrada Família is finished Barcelona is done; there is nothing left to do there (10:50). Arets can say what he wants about Barcelona supposedly being boring, but our city guide doesn’t reflect this. Barcelona is filled with fantastically expressive architecture that springs from its proud Catalan culture. It was impossible to feature all our readers suggestions in the first go around, and we did not even come close to including some of the most iconic building such as Casa Milà. Thus we are looking to add to our list of 24 in the near future. Further more there are so many fabulous buildings on the drawing board or under construction, i.e. the projects in the @22 district, we’ll most likely be updating this city guide for quite awhile, regardless of Sagrada Família’s completion.

Take a look at our list with the knowledge it is far complete and add to it in the comment section below.

The Architecture City Guide: Barcelona list and corresponding map after the break.

Architecture City Guide: Paris

This week, with the help of our readers, our Architecture City Guide is headed to . For centuries has been the laboratory where innovative architects and artists have come to test their ideas. This has created a city that has bit of everything. Where the architecture of some cities seems to undergo phases of punctuated equilibrium, ’s architectural fossil record gives an impression of gradualism; all the missing links are there. This makes it easy to trace the origins of the most contemporary ideas throughout history. Nothing seems to come out of nowhere. If you look around you kind find the design’s inspiration running through the city’s Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Rocco, Neo-Classical, Empire, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Modern, Post-Modern, and Contemporary Architecture. Seen in another context, many of ’s buildings might seem out of place, but the bones of this city support the newest iterations on the oldest and most profound questions. The 24 contemporary designs that comprise our list probably should not be viewed outside of this context, even though that is the stated goal of some of the designs.

As the most visited city in the world and arguably the capital of culture, it is impossible to capture the essence of Paris in 24 modern/contemporary designs. Our readers supplied us with great suggestions, and we really appreciate the help and use of their photographs. The list is far from complete and we realize that many iconic buildings are not yet on the list. We will be adding to it in the near feature, so please add more in the comments section below.

The Architecture City Guide: Paris list and corresponding map after the break.