The biggest temptation is to jump right in. There are solutions that come to you. There are images that spontaneously appear. My method is rather to hold back as long as possible, to really imagine it spatially, so to be sure I have something to say.
Award winning documentarian and critic Matt Tyrnauer (director of Valentino: The Last Emperor, Citizen Jane: Battle For The City) has released a new documentary taking a look into the mind of world-renowned architect Jean Nouvel and his design process.
This article originally appeared on guggenheim.org/blogs under the title "Nine Guggenheim Exhibitions Designed by Architects," and is used with permission.
Exhibition design is never straightforward, but that is especially true within the highly unconventional architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum. Hanging a painting in a traditional “box” gallery can be literally straightforward, whereas every exhibition at the Guggenheim is the reinvention of one of the world’s most distinctive and iconic buildings. The building mandates site-specific exhibition design—partition walls, pedestals, vitrines, and benches are custom-fabricated for every show. At the same time, these qualities of the building present an opportunity for truly memorable, unique installations. Design happens simultaneously on a micro and macro scale—creating display solutions for individual works of art while producing an overall context and flow that engages the curatorial vision for the exhibition. This is why the museum’s stellar in-house exhibition designers all have an architecture background. They have developed intimate relationships with every angle and curve of the quarter-mile ramp and sloping walls.
The winner of the Wolf Prize in 2005 and the Pritzker of 2008, French architect Jean Nouvel has attempted to design each of his projects without any preconceived notions. The result is a variety of projects that, while strikingly different, always demonstrate a delicate play with light and shadow as well as a harmonious balance with their surroundings. It was this diverse approach that led the Pritzker Prize Jury in their citation to characterize Nouvel as primarily "courageous" in his "pursuit of new ideas and his challenge of accepted norms in order to stretch the boundaries of the field."
Lasting for close to two decades now, the annual Serpentine Gallery Pavilion Exhibition has become one of the most anticipated architectural events in London and for the global architecture community. With this year’s edition featuring not just one pavilion but four additional “summer houses,” the program shows no sign of slowing down. Each of the previous sixteen pavilions have been thought-provoking, leaving an indelible mark and strong message to the architectural community. And even though each of the past pavilions are removed from the site after their short summer stints to occupy far-flung private estates, they continue to be shared through photographs, and in architectural lectures. With the launch of the 16th Pavilion this month, we take a look back at all the previous pavilions and their significance to the architecturally-minded public.
Jean Nouvel has unveiled the design of his latest project: a 22-story tower located near Avenida Paulista in São Paulo. The skyscraper, dubbed Rosewood Tower, is part of Cidade Matarazzo, a 27,000-square-meter site containing historic buildings that once made up the Filomena Matarazzo maternity hospital. A heritage-listed site, the Allard Group is restoring the buildings and creating a cultural center, of which Nouvel’s new tower will be a central component.
Set to contain a hotel as well as residential units, Nouvel’s tower is designed to be a vertical continuation of the local landscape. Thus, the nearly 100-meter-tall tower develops at different levels, forming terraces and large gardens with small and medium-sized trees.
Claude Parent, a celebrated French architect and Commandeur de la Légion d'honneur, died on the evening of the 27th February 2016, the day after his 93rd birthday. Born in 1923 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Parent was a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris and, throughout his career, developed a limited but extremely influential body of built work ranging from nuclear power stations to shockingly unconventional shopping centers, such as his project in Sens. Described as both a utopian and a 'supermodernist' in his own lifetime, the methodology he shaped has played a significant role for his peers of all generations and for contemporary artists and thinkers including Jean Nouvel, who began his professional life as a collaborator.
Peter Zumthor, Jean Nouvel, Norman Foster, Diébédo Francis Kéré and three other great architects come together in this Louisiana Channel video to share their thoughts on how to design for different cultures. For most of them, understanding context, collaborating with locals and using architecture to address larger social issues are what makes global architecture a success.
Opened in January 2015, the Philharmonie de Paris was designed by Jean Nouvel, though he later distanced himself from the project. The concert hall, a 2400 seat venue, seeks to "invent a model all its own," according to the Philharmonie de Paris website. It breaks from the pack of concert halls by mathematically creating a more intimate space -- "the distance between conductor and the farthest spectator is only 32 metres (compared to 48 metres at the Salle Pleyel for a smaller audience)." The architect worked with various acoustic experts to "develop a bold system of cantilevered balconies and floating clouds, combining envelopment, intimacy and spaciousness." Here we see the project as photographed by Danica O. Kus. Read on for the full set.
Jean Nouvel has won approval for "Tours DUO" in Paris. The mixed-use project, planned to rise on a former industrial site on the edge of the Seine in the Paris Rive Gauche district, aims to become a "top business real estate destination" and neighborhood amenity. Its two towers will house an eight-story hotel, office space, retail, a top floor restaurant-bar, gardens and green terraces, as well as a "renewed access" to the Seine.
Recently, Pritzker Prize winner Jean Nouvel has been in the news for all the wrong reasons; after his Philharmonie de Paris opened ahead of schedule in January this year, he has been involved in a very public battle to have his name removed from the project to distance himself from the "aberrational decisions" of the client. In this interview, originally published by the Huffington Post as "Interview With Jean Nouvel," Elena Cué sits down with Nouvel in his Paris Studio to talk about his inspirations, the phenomenon of architectural eroticism, and why he is often disappointed with his completed works.
Elena Cué: The anti-Le Corbusier architect Claude Parent was your mentor when you were starting out at the age of 21. Please tell me about what meeting him meant for your career. You were actively involved in May 68 with a radical stance against the educational model of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. What were the things you demanded?
Jean Nouvel: I felt that his studio was one of the most creative at that time. He and his partner, Paul Virilio, created a space where a new approach to architecture could evolve. Paul became a very well-known philosopher and thinker of the time. I joined the intellectual rebellion of "May 68" and it certainly impacted my architectural style in terms of its criticism of the way in which French cities have traditionally been constructed. Later on, I joined with them to create the "March 1976 Movement," which demanded that the design of French cities no longer follow the same traditional model. Soon after, the architecture trade union was formed. It was a time of intellectual excitement.
Jean Nouvel has lost a court battle aimed to remove his name from the newly opened Philharmonie de Paris. As The Telegraph reports, Nouvel claimed that the £280 million concert hall was inaugurated prematurely and parts of the building was "sabotaged" in doing so, thus believing it to be morally inapt from him be associated with the building.
"The architecture is martyred, the details sabotaged," he said in a Le Monde editorial, "so taxpayers will have to pay, once again, to correct these aberrational decisions."
After boycotting the premature opening of the infamous Philharmonie de Paris, Jean Nouvel has taken his frustrations to court demanding that his name and image be removed from all references to the publicly funded €390 million concert hall. The French architect, who has claimed to be wrongly vilified as a “spoilt-star artist” and unfairly blamed for the project’s spiraling costs, does not “wish to express himself any further on the project.”
He has asked the court "to order amending work" to 26 "non-compliance" areas that do not comply with his original design. This areas include parapets, fireplaces, facades, the promenade and 2,400-seat concert hall itself.
Ateliers Jean Nouvel’s long awaited opening of the Philharmonie de Paris concert hall took place yesterday at a VIP event in which the French President, Francois Hollande, officiated the ceremony three years after it was scheduled to take place. Jean Nouvel, however, did not attend the event, instead writing an incendiary column for French Newspaper Le Monde, and releasing a statement saying he feels that the building has opened “too early” and it ”is not finished.” He argues that “there were no acoustic tests of the concert hall [as] the schedule did not allow the architectural and technical requirements to be respected, [...] despite all the warnings which I have been giving since 2013.”
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 Doha Tower, which is completely wrapped with a re-interpretation of the mashrabiya, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum with its luminous dome.
JeanNouvelDesign, the studio led by French architect Jean Nouvel, presented their new collection of furniture 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.
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.
“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 Nouvel. The 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.