close

Вход

Забыли?

вход по аккаунту

?

Icon September 2017

код для вставкиСкачать
Red ruse
Can China?s eco-architecture ever
fulfil its green ambitions?
Grenfell Tower
V&A Exhibition
Road Quarter
IF_DO
Peter Opsvik
Selling London
Hella Jongerius
ISSUE 171
UK �00
SEPTEMBER EUR ?9.99
2017
USA $15.99
Matylda Krzykowski
Collective housing
Outram?s Temple
of Storms
Frank Lloyd Wright
00-COVER-Sept17-Final.indd 1
14/07/2017 14:34
Three great ways
1
single digital edition:
One issue for only �99
2
digital subscription:
12 issues for only �.99
Available on:
To subscribe visit: pocketmags.com
and search for Icon
171-ICON HOUSE ADVERT.indd 18
14/07/2017 15:52
to get Icon ...
3
print + free digital subscription:
Direct debit: �.99
Credit card: �.99
SAVE
58%
To subscribe visit: iconsubscriptions.com/sepad17
Or call 01293 312156 quoting code ?sepad17?
Offer valid until midnight on 27 August 2017. This offer is valid for UK Direct debit subscriptions only.
Our minimum subscription term is 12 issues and cancellations or refunds are not possible until the end of this initial period, when you have 30 days to notify us.
For full terms and conditions, visit iconeye.com/terms-a-conditions
171-ICON HOUSE ADVERT.indd 19
14/07/2017 16:09
CONTENTS
September
64
Front
Design
27
Scene
Surprising stories, from
saintly saris to silly packaging
40
Matylda Krzykowski
The firebrand curator
changing design from within
29
Products: Live from the USA
Our favourite new launches
by American designers
50
Finnish design at 100
After a century of reinvention,
it?s time for another one
32
Diary
The exhibition season is
in full swing again
59
Emerging studio
Jonatan Nilsson turns his
back on Swedish minimalism
35
Crimes against design
Britain?s street bins are a
national embarrassment
62
Icon of the month
Lessons in radical sitting
with Peter Opsvik
37
Opinion: Grenfell Tower
The erosion of the architect?s
role in construction
64
Q&A: Hella Jongerius
The Dutch designer reveals
her colourful inner world
on the cover
Nanjing Eco
Island Exhibition
Center by NBBJ.
Photograph by
Terrence Zhang
September 2017
00-FRONT-Contents-Sept17_DR.indd 21
80
Architecture
Review
72
IF_DO
With their mission statement
writ large, the architecture
trio is poised for success
109
Review: Frank Lloyd Wright at
150 ? Unpacking the Archive
An open letter to MoMA
about its landmark exhibition
80
Nanjing exhibition centre
NBBJ?s building is an insight
into China?s green turn
113
Review: Together! The New
Architecture of the Collective
Flatshares for the future at
Vitra Design Museum
88
V&A?s Exhibition Road
Assessing Amanda Levete?s
response to a tricky brief
98
Selling new London
Will Wiles on how dereliction
has come to equal delight
106
Icon of the month
John Outram?s newly-listed
Isle of Dogs Pumping Station
119
Rethink: Heading home
The designers from
Intercouleur call it a night,
but爐he bar won?t leave
130
Obsession: Polycarbonate
Stand aside concrete! Plastic
is the truly timeless material
21
14/07/2017 18:35
FRONT
Leader
James McLachlan
Editor
?i really can?t get to grips
with it. It?s too terrible to
think about. And compared
to all the high hopes when
we started doing it all ...
it?s just too horrible.? These
are the words of Peter
Deakins, masterplanner of
the Lancaster West estate,
the centrepiece of which was the ill-fated Grenfell
Tower. The architect is as dumbfounded by the
tragedy as the rest of us, but the interview he gave
to the BBC was striking for reasons beyond futile
expressions of remorse.
Deakins, who worked on the Golden Lane estate,
recalled a bygone era when clerks of works oversaw
construction quality and architects chaired site
meetings. Before Ted Heath?s Conservative
government had embarked on its drive toward
centralisation, a mission that merged the
Ministry of Housing into the Department of the
Environment, thus robbing it of both its identity
and purpose. Today, the architect is a diminished
figure. The failures of mass housing in the 1970s,
September 2017
00-FRONT-Leader-Sept17.JM.indd 23
coupled with a steady withdrawal of the public
sector ? hard to believe that some architects
used to be paid from the public purse ? wrecked
their dreams of improving society. In its place
came a fragmented world of outsourcing, design
and build, public/private partnerships and risk
management. So far, the police have identified
more than 60 organisations involved in the
Grenfell爎efurbishment.
Of course, the tragic irony lies in the suspicion
that this devolvement of responsibility appears
to have heightened the all-too-real risk for the
people these buildings were intended to serve. The
residents are righteously angry and who can blame
them. Our society always betrays the trust of
those at the bottom eventually. We have been here
before, of course ? decades ago at Ronan Point and
more recently at Lakanal House in Camberwell.
Still, we return. For now the burned shell of Grenfell
looms over the entire city, here to remind us that
this should never ever happen again. The challenge
now is to ensure it doesn?t.
james.mclachlan@icon-magazine.co.uk
23
14/07/2017 18:34
FRONT
Friends
1
2
editor
James McLachlan
publishing director
Justin Levett
deputy editor
John Jervis
senior publisher
Yvonne Ramsden
senior editor
Debika Ray
editor-in-chief
Lisa Allen
junior editor
Peter Smisek
publishing & events director
Daren Newton
editorial intern
Emma Le Lesl�
directors
Richard Morey, Mike Dynan
architecture correspondent
Douglas Murphy
chief operating officer
Lee Newton
contributing editors
Tim Abrahams, Anna Bates
Crystal Bennes, Daniel Charny
Edwin Heathcote, Sam Jacob
Riya Patel, Will Wiles
Julian Worrall, Liam Young
publishing assistant
Jennifer Trigg
product editor
Zara White
3
sub editor
Nick Jones
circulation
and marketing manager
Mark Kenton
senior marketing executive
Sophia Blackwell
art director
Carlo Apostoli
4
senior marketing manager
Sarah Potter
designer
Morwenna Smith
marketing executive
Gemma Parkes
marketing and publishing
designer
Chis Moore
production manager
Nicola Merry
production assistants
Hannah Fenton, Grace Titmarsh
design and production
Anja Wohlstr鰉
Kerry Thomas
creative director
Elliott Prentice
studio manager
Justin Clarke
production director
Tim Garwood
studio director
Lee Moore
as this issue went to press, we were saying goodbye and thank
you to Emma Le Lesl� (2), our editorial intern for the last
two months. ?Excitement about the evolution of design comes
across in the magazine, which motivated me to keep up with
? and sometimes be critical of ? emerging trends, designers
and products.? Well said, Emma! Classical music journalist and
unlikely bin aficionado Andrew Mellor (3) decided to channel a
more contrarian sentiment, proclaiming: ?British street dustbins
are so, er ... rubbish?, and went on to write a piece explaining why
he dislikes the UK?s latest bin of choice. For our rethink, French
studio Intercouleur (5) hit their favourite bar and decided to
extend its characteristic d閏or into the surrounding cityscape,
with psychedelic results. In New York, Fran鏾is-Luc Giraldeau (1)
visted MoMA?s Frank Lloyd Wright retrospective on our behalf,
and what he witnessed prompted him to pen a letter to the show?s
curator ?Finally, we asked Russell Curtis (4) to make sense of the
senseless tragedy that befell the Grenfell tower.
syndication manager
Kerry Garwood
iconeye.com
@iconeye
facebook.com/iconeye
commercial manager
Tim Price
advertising sales manager
Michael Yap
display sales executive
Steven Grant
24
00-FRONT-Friends-Sept17.indd 24
Crown House
151 High Road
Loughton IG10 4LF
United Kingdom
tel: +44 20 3225 5200
fax: +44 20 3225 5201
sales@icon-magazine.co.uk
subscriptions@icon-magazine.co.uk
IMAGE (RUSSELL CURTIS): DAVID VINTINER
5
Icon is published monthly
by Media 10 Limited
Professional Publishers
Association
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 17:51
FRONT
Scene
PANDA POWER
Panda diplomacy is the
long-standing practice of
Chinese dignitaries gifting
giant pandas to foreign
guests. Given this pervasive
symbolism, it is only fitting
that the latest solar power
plant in Datong takes the
outline of the animal. Panda
Green Energy plans to build
100 plants in the next five
years in China, Fiji and the
Phillippines. It?s hoped that
the unusual design will inspire
young people across Asia to
embrace the solar cause.
FACEBOOK TOWN ?
Wired published a highly
critical review of the new
Apple campus in Cupertino,
claiming it was too removed
from its context. It seems
that Facebook wanted to
avoid such bad publicity
when commissioning OMA
to expand its premises in
nearby Menlo Park. Conceived
as an adjoining, mixed-used
neighbourhood, the scheme is
set to contain 1,500 housing
units, retail and public green
space. 15 per cent of housing
is set to be affordable.
? ARTIFICIAL HICCUPS
Algorithmic design made
news twice last month.
First, Ogilvy & Mather Italia
created a bot that drew from
a database of patterns to
design seven million different
Nutella jars. Amazon seller
my-handy-design?s attempt
at something similar turned
awry, as its AI-generated
smartphone covers began
depicting uncomfortable
scenes, ranging enticingly
from a woman getting her
armpits waxed to an old man
wearing a nappy.
ELECTRIC BOOGALOO
As more and more traditional
auto manufacturers release
electric and hybrid models,
Swedish carmaker Volvo
revealed it will switch to
production of only hybrid
and electric cars in 2019,
citing increased customer
demand. Regulation is
playing its part too: last year,
Germany announced that it
will ban the sale of all diesel
and petrol cars by 2030,
while Emmanuel Macron
has decreed that France will
follow suit by�40.
September 2017
00-FRONT-Scene-Sept172.indd 27
RIBA BANTER
RIBA pulled together a real
glamour panel for the prime
slot at its Change in the
City conference. Elizabeth
Diller, Odile Decq, David
Chipperfield, Ma Yansong,
and Amanda Levete engaged
in a prolonged lament for the
waning power of architects.
Their reward was a tonguein-cheek-lashing from the
next posse ? Jo Noero and
Urban Think Tank dismissed
the sextet as remote, rich
and indifferent to the real
concerns of global cities.
HIGH POINT
Police in France have
destroyed a 4,000sq m art
installation ? a field of hemp,
flax and barley that had been
growing since May as part of
Lyon Architecture Biennale
and was intended for the
closing party. An antidrug
team identified that the
plants were not psychoactive,
but ordered a precautionary
destruction despite
connoisseurs? protests,
defending their actions by
saying there should have been
an explanatory ?little sign?.
OH MOTHER ?
Recently canonised Mother
Teresa is in the news, not for
her fight against poverty,
but for her clothing style.
Copies of the saint?s famous
blue and white sari are
available online, and schools
unrelated to the Missionaries
of Charity are using similar
designs as uniforms. To avoid
?misuse? of her reputation,
lawyer Biswajit Sarkar is
copyrighting her outfit ?
public outcry suggests that
Mother Teresa can never
escape controversy ?
27
14/07/2017 17:54
FRONT
product launches
???
New American design
The global reputation of New York?s NYC x Design
festival and the associated trade show, the International
Contemporary Furniture Fair, has grown in recent years,
with top European companies such as SCP and Cassina
increasingly choosing to present at the event. But it?s the
local talent that has caught our attention this year: here
are some of our favourite recent launches, from both
emerging and established designers and brands
Ghost and Thaw ?
by Fernando Mastrangelo
The Brooklyn-based designer
has long used esoteric
materials such as salt,
sugar, sand, coffee and corn.
His two latest collections
abandon culinary ingredients
for industrial ones. For Ghost,
he used a robotic arm to
shape cement into smooth,
heavy pieces of furniture. For
Thaw, he used crushed and
powdered glass ? layered and
hand-carved to evoke the
craggy form of glaciers or
shaped into geometric forms.
September 2017
00-FRONT-Products-Sept17_NJ.indd 29
Cipher ?
by Yabu Pushelberg
Recalling the shared
social experience implicit
in cut crystal glasses, the
designers? lamps juxtapose
the glassmaking skills
of Czech manufacturer
Lasvit and their own design
sensibilities. Delicate, handblown cylinders of crystal
are cut with a series of clear
lines and joined in a variety
of combinations by gold
connectors. The play of light
off the angles of the etched
glass and metal fixings
creates a poetic visual effect.
Conduct ?
by Flavor Paper/UM Project
Going one better than Willy
Wonka?s edible wallpaper,
design studio UM Project
and wallpaper company
Flavor Paper have brought
electricity to the surface of
walls. Conduct comprises a
series of electrical objects
connected by tiles printed
with conductive ink and
fitted with copper nodes
? circuits are activated by
human touch. So far, it is
only available for custom
installation, but it points to
a future where rooms can be
rewired with minimal hassle.
29
14/07/2017 18:07
FRONT
Vessels ?
by Vonnegut & Kraft/Kneip
For the second year, the
Sight Unseen Offsite
exhibition pared American
and Norwegian designers
to produce designs with
commercial potential
through a long-distance
collaboration. Among the
standout products were
sculptural pieces of furniture
by Brooklyn-based Vonnegut
& Kraft and Oslo?s Kneip
made using re-appropriated
bricks (below), and a concrete
and brass lamp by New York?s
Slash Objects and Oslobased Thomas Jenkins.
Lighting ?
by Roll & Hill
Strata ?
by Fort Standard
Fort Standard creates
everything from homeware
to furniture for general
consumption to limitededition pieces. Its latest series
falls into the middle category,
but with the designers taking
previous smaller explorations
in fitting together metal
components to a bigger
scale. The lightweight range
of tables, sides tables and
shelves ? composed of rods
and plates that slot together
easily ? comes in raw brass,
anodised aluminium and offwhite powder coating.
Hot on the heels of its debut
at Milan?s Euroluce in May,
the American company has
launched another collection
of lights. Among them is
the Half and Half series
of pendants (pictured) by
Jonah Takagi and Hallgeir
Homstvedt, which combines
hat-like metal tops and glass
bottoms. Meanwhile, Ladies
& Gentlemen Studio added
new shapes to its series of
complex, geometric pendant
lights inspired by the work of
Russian avant-garde painter
Kazimir Malevich.
Arid ?
by Jamie Wolfond
No matter how humanity has
advanced, some things never
seem to change: umbrellas
continue to whip inside
out and umbrella stands
become undesirable driptrays
surrounded by a puddle. Until
now: Jamie Wolfond, founder
of Good Thing, has added
to the brand?s collection of
useful objects, with the Arid
Umbrella Stand, which takes
advantage of the natural
absorbency of terracotta to
wick away moisture quickly
and elegantly. Next up, the
umbrella itself?
30
00-FRONT-Products-Sept17_NJ.indd 30
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 14:47
FRONT
Diary
2 Sep
? 5 November 2017
Folkestone Triennial
Folkestone, Kent
This year?s Triennial goes by the elusive
theme of Double Edge, inviting artists to
engage with the two axes around which
Folkestone has developed ? the seashore
and an ancient watercourse, the Pent
Stream. They are also encouraged to
explore the ambiguities of the term
itself to tackle today?s harsh cultural,
economic and political realities.
folkestonetriennial.org.uk
7 ? 17 September 2017
Various venues, Helsinki
Helsinki Design Week
What inspired this year?s theme?
Good design entails conversation. It goes
beyond mere object-making: it involves
questioning the obvious. The theme
encourages open-mindedness, vision,
exploration, discovery and criticality. We
want people to talk and listen to each
other as that?s how good design is born.
How did you decide who and what you
wanted to feature?
We are a multidisciplinary festival
presenting design from a number of
fields, including fashion, architecture
and urban culture. We have room for
different types of design thinking and
would love to feature even more. The
most important thing is making sure
the featured events and topics are
related to the theme, but this year
it?s quite open. We include events
targeted for both professionals and the
general public, which are mostly free ?
everybody is welcome!
What are you most looking forward to
this year?
We are very excited about holding
World Design Weeks, which is a
travelling platform where activists,
makers and shapers gather to share
their experiences, knowledge and
ideas on tackling challenges, and
improving the quality of life, in cities
around the world. We are thrilled
to host a series of such inspiring
conversations.
32
00-FRONT-Diary-Sept17_jj_NJ.indd 32
16 Sep
? 7 January 2018
Chicago Architecture Biennial
Various venues, Chicago
IMAGES: ANUO HUOVIO; PETER BIALOBRZESKI
Scandinavia?s largest design festival
returns, this year revolving around
the theme ?Q&A?. We spoke to Petra
Majander of Helsinki Design Week to
learn how the event aspires to find ways
that design can build better cities and
societies; questions how design thinking
could benefit new areas; and presents
new faces and phenomena in design.
helsinkidesignweek.com
A platform for radical architectural
projects and spatial experiments, this
year?s Chicago Architecture Biennial,
entitled Make New History, seeks
to examine the current resurgence
of practices exploring architectural
continuities rather than constantly
seeking to create the unprecedented
through the work of over 100 firms.
chicagoarchitecturebiennial.org
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 14:41
FRONT
Diary
7 Sep
8 Sep
? 8 January 2018
? Japan-ness, Architecture and
Urbanism in Japan since 1945
Centre Pompidou-Metz
? 16 September 2017
Paris Design Week / Maison&Objet
Various venues, Paris
Design comes in all forms ? furniture,
fashion, food and more. Paris Design
Week celebrates the whole gamut
by offering itineraries in four of the
city?s hippest neighbourhoods. Each
is free and open to all. Meanwhile,
Maison&Objet (which closes on 12
September) presents the latest furniture
under the enticing title Comfort Zones.
maison-objet.com/en/paris-design-week
8 Sep
14 Sep
16 Sep
? 7 January 2018
? Peter Bialobrzeski
Deichtorhallen, Hamburg
? 17 September 2017
Festival of Future Nows
Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin
? 24 September 2017
London Design Festival
Various venues, London
Renowned German photographer
Peter Bialobrzeski presents his
latest series, Die Zweite Heimat, a
photographic inventory of Germany
that investigates social issues and
attempts to define the controversial
term ?homeland?, identifying its
relevance to current heated debates
around globalisation.
deichtorhallen.de
Taking place during Berlin Art Week, the
Festival of Future Nows is a cooperation
between the Nationalgalerie and
Olafur Eliasson?s Institute for Spatial
Experiments. Over 100 artists
will express their ideas through
interdisciplinary formats and extensive
public participation, guided by the
principle of ?density and diversity?.
futurenows.net
This year?s LDF includes more than 400
events and installations across the city.
The theme at 100% Design is Elements,
ranging from the fundamentals of
design to its smallest components.
Elsewhere, Camille Walala creates a
?building-block castle? in Broadgate and
Ross Lovegrove folds a 115m-long flexible
band into the V&A?s Tapestry Room.
londondesignfestival.com
17 Sep
30 Sep
? 1 April 2018
? Found in Translation: Design in
California and Mexico, 1915?1985
Lacma, Los Angeles
? 4 February 2018
Walker Evans
SFMOMA, San Francisco
IMAGES: ANUO HUOVIO; PETER BIALOBRZESKI
An overview of Japanese architecture
since 1945, Japan-ness (appropriately
located in Shigeru Ban?s masterpiece),
includes exceptional works by Kenzo
Tange, Toyo Ito and Tadao Ando in
its thorough-going exploration of the
extraordinary urban transformations
that have marked recent decades.
centrepompidou-metz.fr
Delving into the relationship between
California and Mexico, Found in
Translation highlights shared design
influences, concentrating on the modern
and anti-modern design movements
that came to define both locales in the
20th century, while analysing the sense
of place that permeates their buildings.
lacma.org
September 2017
00-FRONT-Diary-Sept17_jj_NJ.indd 33
Famed for his obsession with the
banality of the vernacular, Walker
Evans?s images exemplified everyday
life in 20th-century America. This major
retrospective includes many prints that
have never been shown before, and
positions his work as a tribute to the
fortitude of a nation during the Great
Depression and postwar era.
sfmoma.org
33
14/07/2017 14:41
FRONT
crimes
against design
???
Nexus 200
Recycling Bin
IMAGE: CARLO APOSTOLI
These plastic beasts are just
the latest example of the British
inability to do street furniture,
writes Andrew Mellor
britain isn?t short on
national embarrassments
right now, so apologies in
advance for adding to the
list. As it happens, we?ve
always been pretty lousy
when it comes to street
furniture, particularly in
comparison to our European
neighbours. The problem isn?t
lack of enthusiasm. Rather
the opposite. We throw up
needless railings, fences and
bollards with no apparent
thought for architectural
principles of environment
and balance. Not for us the
understated uniformity of the
Scandinavians or the spindled
subtlety of the French. We
like our street furniture
big, brash, mismatched
and scattered about with
proud燼bandon.
Enter, stage left, the latest
design scourge to invade
Britain?s streets, a structure
whose brashness and
obesity would be amusingly
autobiographical were it
not so hideous to behold:
the Nexus 200 Recycling
Bin. These plastic monoliths
manufactured by Glasdon
International have become
the bin of choice for local
authority functionaries up
and down the land. Someone
in the employ of the City of
London has ceremoniously
September 2017
00-FRONT-Crimes-RubbishBin-Sept17_NJ.indd 35
?The triangular mouths, tapered at
each end, have a remarkably low
appetite for accepting rubbish?
placed two either side of the
entrance to one of Britain?s
most beautiful neo-gothic
buildings: the Maughan
Library at King?s College,
London. Never has the phrase
?carbuncle on the face of a
much-loved friend? felt more
appropriate. But here, it?s
in爏tereo.
So unsightly are these
girthsome black blobs
that they hardly qualify
for a traditional, designled prosecution focused
on function and form. As
it happens, function isn?t
great: the triangular mouths,
tapered at each end and with
a deep shelf covering the void
between the outer and inner
containers, have a remarkably
low appetite for accepting
rubbish. Form is problematic,
as the structures were
apparently conceived with
some notion of symmetry in
mind until someone from the
graphics department went
and spoilt it all by daubing
parts of the ?recycling?
portion in garish colours,
which trounces any idea of
bilateral cohesion.
The ?recycling? call-toaction certainly pings out.
But even if it needs to ? which
itself is questionable, given
that rubbish is sorted at
a later stage anyway ? it
surely doesn?t need to do
so with such patronising
volume. Then there?s the
other sort of volume. London,
in particular, needs big bins,
you say. True. But there are
far more elegant yet equally
voluminous examples to be
found in through-designed
public spaces from Croydon
to King?s Cross. They prove
that even the most servile of
objects can be elevated if the
designer has just one part
of one eye on aesthetics and
context. If only Britain?s local
authorities had too. ?
35
14/07/2017 14:33
FRONT
opinion
???
After Grenfell
IMAGE: CARL COURT / GETTY IMAGES
The exclusion of architects from the construction process
allows bad practice to go unchecked, writes Russell Curtis
passengers touching down
at London City Airport are
likely unaware that buried
beneath the tarmac lie the
brayed concrete remains
of a 22-storey tower, the
demolition of which signified
a watershed moment in
British housing.
Erected hastily towards
the end of the 1960s, Ronan
Point concluded two decades
of rapid housebuilding. At its
peak, some 400,000 homes
were completed annually,
and in the fervour to replace
the bomb-damaged slums
of Victorian London it was
perhaps inevitable there would
be compromises in quality,
with budgetary constraints
eclipsing architectural
ambitions and social concerns.
It was remarkable that on
that spring morning of May
1968 so few people lost their
lives. A gas explosion in a
kitchen on the 18th floor blew
out a load-bearing panel,
which led to a collapse of one
corner of the building, killing
four. Although it stood for
nearly 20 more years, Ronan
Point was eventually pulled
down in 1986, along with a
number of other blocks built
using the same construction
methods, and deposited under
the nearby airport runway.
This notorious event had
two important outcomes,
the effects of which we are
still feeling today. The first
was a comprehensive review
of the Building Regulations
? the statutory instrument
that determines a building?s
suitability for habitation ?
which were revised to outlaw
the form of construction that
enabled the ?disproportionate
September 2017
00-FRONT-Opinion-Grenfell-Sept17_NJ.indd 37
collapse? of the east London
block. Secondly, it signalled
an end to the British love
affair with tower blocks and
the modernist utopian dream.
By the late 1970s we were
building hardly any residential
towers at all.
Fifty years on, the housing
crisis of the early 21st century
has reacquainted London
with the concept of high-rise
living. Inflating land prices
have meant that developers
wring every last square foot
of space from tiny patches
of brownfield land scattered
across the city. Many of those
towers that survived the
purge of the 1970s and 80s,
above Grefnell Tower
(1974) on the Lancaster
West estate, London,
as it stands today
37
14/07/2017 15:04
?Architects used
to serve a nobler
cause; now they
have little choice
but to serve
those who pay
the bills?
above Stage one
of the Freemasons
Estate (1968), London,
with the 22-storey
Ronan Point tower
previously decried as failed
social experiments, have
been snapped up by canny
developers and rebranded
as desirable places to live:
?luxury flats? in convenient,
accessible locations. Towers
that remained in public
ownership underwent less
glamorous refurbishment
through the Decent Homes
programme, announced
by the then deputy prime
minister John Prescott at
the turn of the new century.
This ambitious initiative
demanded that, within a
decade, all social housing
achieve minimum levels of
quality. Often this work
included the replacement
of kitchens and bathrooms;
in some cases upgrades to
windows, thermal insulation
and cladding to ?spruce up?
ageing concrete.
Much of this work was
carried out by a cabal of
large construction companies
who had become adept at
offering councils a ?onestop shop? of design and
delivery, shielding the client
from the risk of cost and
programme overruns. Public
clients, recoiling in paroxysms
of fear at the prospect of
capital projects running
over budget, embraced this
approach, taking comfort
in the fact that fixed-price
contracts would prevent
costs unexpectedly spiralling
out of control. As with the
housebuilding boom of the
late 1960s, the ambition of
this new programme meant
that design quality was
sometimes of secondary
importance to the need to
deliver desperately needed
new homes on time and
within budget.
A consequence of this
approach was the gradual
excision of the architect from
the construction process.
The profession became seen
as contributing little other
than cost and complication,
and its responsibility
withered away to a point
where it was seen as useful
only for picking colours of
cladding and helping to
navigate tricky planning
committees. Its technical
expertise, pursuit of quality
and consideration for those
affected by the work became
of secondary importance ?
an inconvenience that the
budget and programme
could ill afford. Rather than
38
00-FRONT-Opinion-Grenfell-Sept17_NJ.indd 38
working directly for public
clients, the design team
began to work instead for
main contractors, isolating
architects yet further from
the communities they were
supposed to serve.
Just a few short weeks
on from the Grenfell Tower
catastrophe, it?s still too early
to speculate as to why the fire
spread with such terrifying
rapidity. It may be that a
particular configuration
of standard building
components contributed
to the spread of flame
across the outer skin of the
building. Quite why in this
case a small domestic blaze
? of which there are many
hundreds each year within
tall residential buildings ? led
to so many deaths may take
many months to determine.
It?s also impossible
to say whether more
meaningful involvement
from the architect could
have mitigated the tragic
effect of the Grenfell Tower
fire, but it is apparent from
other recent cases that their
exclusion has allowed bad
practice to seep unchecked
into the construction process.
The recent Cole Report
into problems with a raft
of contractor-led schools in
Edinburgh identified poor
construction and inadequate
supervision as the principal
reason for a large number
of serious building failures.
Architects used to serve a
nobler cause; now they have
little choice but to serve those
who pay the bills.
In his riposte to the Prince
of Wales?s withering criticism
of the profession in 1984,
ex-RIBA president Maxwell
Hutchinson claimed that the
failure at Ronan Point was
not because architects were
involved in the construction.
It was because they were
not. Can it really be the case,
half a century on, that we are
back where we started?
Russell Curtis is director
of RCKa and a member of
the London mayor?s design
advocacy panel
IMAGE: PROFESSOR. MILES GLENDINNING / TOWER BLOCK UK
FRONT
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 15:04
Design
provocateur
The design establishment is rushing to embrace curator
Matylda Krzykowski, who has spent her career striving to
shatter its inflexible hierarchies. But she?s not about to give
up now that she?s an insider ...
By James McLachlan
Photography by Aron Klein
01-DESIGN-Matylda-Sept17.JM_DR_JJ.indd 40
14/07/2017 18:30
01-DESIGN-Matylda-Sept17.JM_DR_JJ.indd 41
14/07/2017 18:30
DESIGN / PROFILE
top left The allfemale Room with
its Own Rules was
the fourth and
final instalment of
Krzykowski?s series at
Chamber, New York
bottom left
Character of Color
Phenomena by
Sarah Zapata
opposite Implements
In Red by 舠a
Jungnelius
I
t is 9.30am and Matylda Krzykowski
has just ordered lasagna. It?s a gutsy
move. The cafe we are in, one of the
curator?s favourite London haunts, does
not appear equipped to execute the
Italian staple. It turns up, a molten soup
of cheesy tomato mince, and it is clear
Icon has misjudged our hosts. This is a
slice of London that no longer exists. The
crash of crockery punctuates a stream of
banter between vivacious staff and their
creaking patrons. The regulars address
each other in the all-but-dead vernacular
that migrated steadily, along with the
populace, to the hinterlands of Essex. That
it all feels a little self consciously ?real?,
may be a subconscious corrective to the
scene of our previous meeting ? a high-end
hotel in Milan.
We are here to talk about Krzykowski?s
current show (the final in a series of four)
at Chamber in New York?s culturally (and
monetarily) rich Chelsea district. Founded
in 2014 by Argentine emigr� Juan Garcia
Mosqueda ? whose CV lists stints at MoMA
and design gallery Moss ? Chamber makes
up the ground floor of a Neil Denaridesigned structure that cantilevers over
the High Line. Rubbing shoulders with
the likes of Friedman Benda and Michael
Rosenfeld, Chamber doesn?t feel a natural
fit for Krzykowski.
The Polish-born curator is best known
in European design circles for co-founding
Depot Basel, a think-tank and exhibition
space that launched in 2011 as a foil to the
top-down institutions that dominate the
conversation around design. No surprise,
then, that Mosqueda?s first email met with
scepticism. And yet, there turned out to
be an unlikely synergy between the two.
?I had never really looked at the gallery
system in the context of design, but I
discovered that Mosqueda was interested
in a broad discourse with different
curators, not being the curator himself.?
42
01-DESIGN-Matylda-Sept17.JM_DR_JJ.indd 42
In short, he was interested in Krzykowski
bringing her own agenda.
The resulting exhibitions ? Just What
Is It, This Is Today, Domestic Appeal and
A Room With Its Own Rules ? take cues
from pop artist Richard Hamilton?s social
commentary collage, ?Just what is it that
makes today?s homes so different, so
appealing?? and saw Krzykowski collate
and commission dozens of objects to
critique changes in society and attitudes
to consumerism and lifestyle. Where
Hamilton pulled together existing
iconography, Krzykowski?s commissions
are exaggerations or distortions, often
barely recognisable as domestic objects ?
for example, the towering coloured foam
of New York studio Andy and Dave?s urban
dining experience.
In an effort to extend the beyond the
gallery, the curator charged some of the
contributors to animate the collage. ?I
thought we could bring all these objects
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 18:31
01-DESIGN-Matylda-Sept17.JM_DR_JJ.indd 43
14/07/2017 18:31
DESIGN / PROFILE
?Why can?t we define a system where
people contribute because they want to??
left The highly
aestheticised DPDR
lounge chair by
Tom燞ancocks
together in a constructed space, exactly
like Hamilton, but think beyond the
installation shot and ask the visual artists
to create an animated aspect of it.? she
says. ?Not to have a static picture, but
something much more dynamic.?
Almost inevitably, the edition that
attracted the most attention was the
final part of the series ? the all-female
A Room With Its Own Rules. A selfdescribed feminist (?if you are not a
feminist today you are not a woman?)
Krzykowski nonetheless initially balked
at the idea, fearing that such an approach
would be tokenistic. The subsequent
process of introspection and secondguessing eventually convinced some of
the participants, who shared the curator?s
reservations, to get involved. She was
adamant, however, that it should not be
billed as an ?all-female show?, stressing the
need to ?present a parallel, post-patriarchal
reality in which all-female shows are
September 2017
01-DESIGN-Matylda-Sept17.JM_DR_JJ.indd 45
above Domestic
Appeal featured newly
commissioned,
one-off爌ieces
a normal phenomenon rather than a
planned affirmative action?. To turn it into
a campaign was to diminish it.
The responses were haphazard, but
intriguing. Some explicitly acknowledging
gender (Katie Stout?s snarky flaccid-penis
executive table being the most strident)
and others more demure (Ana Kras
referenced her grandmother?s love of
laminate in the tasteful Wallpaper-friendly
form of a bench). The mainstream media
duly zeroed in on the gender aspect, but
for Krzykowski this was to miss the point.
?In the end, the show was really about the
practitioner in 2017 and nothing else.?
Gender bias is design?s guilty secret. The
industry likes to see itself as a progressive
champion of creativity, but stories of
casual sexism are common. Often the
culprits are not the old furniture industry
guard but designers themselves, who dress
up their comments as provocations ? an
inverted, and equally tiresome, version
of PC liberal-baiting. Krzykowski recalls
a well-known designer making a fool
of himself at a Design Date event she
hosted in Milan. The idea was to find a
professional match-up between established
figures and bright young things looking for
a gig. Swaggering on stage, the protagonist
proclaimed he was looking to work with
someone on his latest project ?blowjobs?.
Krzykowski called his bluff, prompting an
apologetic retreat.
?This is the fucking patriarchy we get
confronted with on a daily basis.? And yet,
however uncomfortably the suggestion
might sit, there are similarities in
Krzykowski?s own work. Agendas aside,
she is a provocateur. She admits she loves
to argue, (?once you allow your emotions
to overcome your rational thinking, then
it becomes real, and then you can make
a decision?) and she?s clearly unafraid of
confrontation. She once asked Aric Chen,
design curator at Hong Kong?s M+, with
45
14/07/2017 18:31
DESIGN / PROFILE
above Just What Is
It: collided ideas of
functional objects
and sculpture
left Flamed Gold
Sonar by Oskar Zi?ta
?I like the physicality of things and
what they tell us?
whom she was sharing a panel, whether he
preferred to work with people who were
dead or alive. ?There is a big difference,?
she observes wryly. But she has a softer,
more gregarious side that has proved
instrumental in her career. She is adept at
convincing, charming, whatever you?d call
it, big-name designers to take part in her
shows. It is a quality she attributes to her
upbringing. ?We were immigrants living
in a five-storey apartment block outside of
Essen, full of concrete. The whole building
was my family, basically. When I came to
study design, I thought I?d like to use it
as a means of communication. I like the
physicality of things and what they tell us.?
While at the Academy of Fine Arts and
Design in Maastricht, Krzykowski began
hosting events. ?The first exhibition I
did was in my living room with Karsten
F鰀inger. We did another in Maastricht,
above an old petrol station. I was always
looking for these empty spaces.? Later, and
September 2017
01-DESIGN-Matylda-Sept17.JM_DR_JJ.indd 47
in tandem with her studies, Krzykowski
began a website, Matandme, where she
visited design studios and asked designers
to draw answers to her questions. It was,
she admits, a way of avoiding the black
hole that many graduates plummet
aimlessly down post-studies, but soon
gained a life of its own. By the end of
the project in early 2016, Krzykowski
had visited hundreds of studios and
was one of the best-connected figures
in design. Matandme also uncovered an
uncomfortable truth: hardly anyone was
making money via all the tasteful products
on their tastefully-designed websites.
Income came from commercial side
ventures. ?Everyone wants to contribute in
some way, but no one talks about money.
And that is the same for institutions
and galleries. All these people run these
businesses and no one understands how.?
She continued to organise exhibitions,
scoring a success during the 2011 Salone
with Achille is Watching Us, a collaboration
with Italian architect Marco Gabriele.
The simple premise saw the pair display
objects donated by a coterie of well-known
designers, Formafantasma, Peter Marigold,
Lee Broom among them, which had a
personal resonance. Broom turned up with
antique binoculars received on his 14th
birthday, for example. ?It was about how
objects communicate a story that only you
can know. That is what makes an object
valuable for you and not anyone else.?
The success of Achille prompted the
designer to found Depot Basel, with Laura
Pregger, Moritz Walther, Elias Sch鋐er,
Julia Landsiedl and Katharina Altemeier.
Initially funded by a grant from the Ikea
Foundation, Depot Basel first occupied
a former grain silo before settling in an
old bureau de change. The name suggests
a repository, which is true, but not of
objects. To visit the website is to trawl
through essentially all the material the
47
14/07/2017 18:32
DESIGN / PROFILE
before icon met Krzykowski,
we canvassed an array of
opinions on the curator from
various peers and industry
figures and put their thoughts
to her. Below is a summary of
the conversation. There were
more positive comments, but it
quickly became apparent that
they held zero interest to the
curator, so we soon skipped to
the less generous ones ...
ICON ?An astute curator with
impeccable taste?.
MK I don?t know what astute is.
ICON Savvy.
MK Hm, give me something
negative because that is not
interesting.
ICON ?Style over substance?.
MK Oh, kind of interesting. I
can understand how someone
would judge that because we
don?t look beyond.
this page A Forum
for an Attitude at
the Vitra Design
Museum explored
the motivations
of designers
project has generated ? from profiles of
contributors accompanied by images of
their work that pop up on a Google search,
to videos of performances, pictures of
commissioned work, salons and texts.
Underlying all the happenings (the 1960s
term feels wholly appropriate) is a fair
amount of self-analysis. A Forum for an
Attitude, for example, interrogated the
motivations of contemporary designers
in an exhibition held at the Vitra Design
Museum, with a series of spin-off talks
held back in Basel. ?The things you bring
together in the context of a show need
commentary afterwards,? she says.
Such is the volume of material, it is
hard to know how to process everything,
but perhaps that is not the point. What
you are looking at with Depot Basel is
a ticker tape of ideas that may or may
not prove interesting or useful. More
important, it seems, is the way they
happened. Not through the prism of an
ICON ?An early Nelly Ben
Hayoun?.
MK That?s funny. I was one
of four women asked to apply
for this professorship and
she was another of them. So
there might be something to
that爋ne.
established institution, but through more
instinctive urges. Krzykowski?s fascination
with Albert Meister?s 1976 satire of statesponsored culture The So-called Utopia
of The Centre Beaubourg is instructive.
?Culture is made by people and not all
of them will be validated by a museum
director who will apply his own taste. So,
you know, a lot of money will be funnelled
through an ego. Why can?t we define a
more fluid system that is more democratic,
where people contribute because they
want to? I don?t want to be an autocrat.?
After six years, Depot Basel is on
hold and will vacate its current space.
Krzykowski, with friend and collaborator
Vera Sacchetti, is exploring the idea of a
year-long all women design symposium,
Foreign Legion, but details are sketchy.
For now, the curator is in search of
something new. ?Projects or jobs, cultural
or commercial. If they don?t exist, I will
have to make them myself.?
48
01-DESIGN-Matylda-Sept17.JM_DR_JJ.indd 48
ICON ?I don?t know exactly
what she does or how she
got爐here?.
MK That is a question others
ask me all the time. A young
designer asked me that in
Bar Basso this year and I was
thinking, ?Yeah, sometimes I
don?t know either, but I must
work a lot because I don?t have
any private time?. [laughs]
ICON Finally, and apologies
for the job interview question,
where do you see yourself
in five years time? Could
you see yourself working for
an爄nstitution?
MK I am super interested
in being put in an existing
institution, but I would also
like to build a completely new
department because I am much
better at defining something
from scratch, rather than
applying myself to existing
structures. And I am not afraid
of trial and error.
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 18:32
Fo
bu r a
t a yo
B
y
ls u n
Jo
hn o t
g
Je he na
rv
w tio
is
ild n
pr , Fi
im nla
iti nd
vi h
sm as
of a r
th ich
e
po de
st sig
w n
ar h
ag isto
e. ry
Is ?
it n
no ot
w ju
tim st
i
e ts h
fo u
ra m
ne ane
w m
vo o
ic de
e rn
to is
em m
er
ge
?
Designing d
an
nl
Fi
01-DESIGN-Finland-Sept17 NJ_JJ.indd 50
17/07/2017 14:57
left Alvar Aalto, Stool
60 (1933) for Viipuri
Library (now by Artek);
seat decorated by
Mads N鴕gaard (2013)
01-DESIGN-Finland-Sept17 NJ_JJ.indd 51
17/07/2017 14:57
52
01-DESIGN-Finland-Sept17 NJ_JJ.indd 52
14/07/2017 17:06
IMAGES: RAUNO TR腟KELIN; ARTEK
IMAGE: DESIGNMUSEO, HELSINKI
opposite Timo
Sarpaneva assembling
his Ahtoj滗 sculpture
in the Finnish Pavilion
at Expo 67 Montreal
T
IMAGES: RAUNO TR腟KELIN; ARTEK
IMAGE: DESIGNMUSEO, HELSINKI
DESIGN / FEATURE
he history of Finnish
design is messy. You
wouldn?t guess it
walking through
an upmarket Scandi
store, admiring the restrained
modernism of Kaj Franck?s
Teema plates or Kartio glasses,
both staples of today?s stark,
faux-Nordic interiors. Or
Alvar Aalto?s 60 stool, a 1930s
masterpiece we barely notice
thanks to its ubiquity and
perfection. Over a million have
been sold; its variants furnish
Apple stores worldwide, their
pale birch matching the firm?s
frigid aluminium aesthetic.
Yet in its so-called golden
years ? the late 1940s to early
1960s ? Finnish design conquered
the world for entirely different,
and highly idiosyncratic,
qualities. Aalto?s modernism
faded from view, replaced by
sculptural glass vases, highly
glazed ceramics and painterly
textiles by such mercurial
talents as Tapio Wirkkala, Timo
Sarpaneva, Dora Jung, Yki
Nummi and Gunnel Nyman.
Finland?s exhibits won medals
at Milan Triennales like confetti,
greeted by a heady cocktail
of praise and condescension,
hailing the creative spirit of a
hardy people on the periphery
of Europe, ?only partially freed
September 2017
01-DESIGN-Finland-Sept17 NJ_JJ.indd 53
from the natural state?, as
Swedish designer Tyra Lundgren
charmingly put it. Finnish
design was portrayed as a fusion
of East and West, its abstract
forms contrasted with the clean,
civilised lines of modernism.
This extravagant tableau was
welcomed by design professionals
in Finland, capitalising on (and
flattered by) their unexpected
international success. The
Finnish Society of Crafts and
Design disseminated ripe
texts describing a frugal yet
vital nation, in harmony with
nature yet struggling for
survival, embracing the subtle
colours of nightless nights. The
echoes of Japanese essentialism
were no coincidence: a selfcongratulatory love affair
between the two nations
began, celebrating their innate,
unsullied understanding of
nature and mutual love of
saunas. And, in 1954, Finland
hitched up to the Scandi design
bandwagon, an alliance that
thrives to this day. Meanwhile,
Sarpaneva and Wirkkala enjoyed
playing the heroic barbarian,
the former proclaiming: ?My
grandfather was a shaman ?
I燼m just that kind of primitive
being. I?m also awfully
childish, this is my strength.?
But the design of this era was
an anomaly, a return to craft
caused by postwar austerity and
stiff reparations levied by the
USSR. And its peculiarity ?
its self-proclaimed otherness ?
ensured international interest.
The precedent, if any, was the
national romanticism through
which architects and designers
expressed the aspirations of
the fledgling republic in the
years after independence in
1917 ? a mixture of Finnish
motifs and neoclassicism, in
explicit reference to Athenian
democracy. Advocates such
as Arttu Brummer celebrated
applied arts, indigenous crafts
and the role of artist-designers,
and passed these concerns
to the postwar generation
through their roles in education.
Yet it was international
modernism that dominated in
the 1930s, propelled by belated
industrialisation and a public
sector keen to achieve both a
modern society and a Western
identity. Young designers,
inspired by international
design fairs such as the
1930 Stockholm Exhibition,
turned to standardisation,
functionalism and modernist
aesthetics. In a largely agrarian
economy, in which forestry
accounted for four-fifths of
exports, timber was crucial
to such ambitions, despite the
campy tubular-steel furniture
of Pauli Blomstedt, or indeed
Alvar Aalto?s early cantilevered
chairs in metal.
Artek ? founded in 1935 by
Alvar and Aino Aalto, with art
historian Nils-Gustav Hahl and
art patron Maire Gullichsen
? reinvented wood, and more
precisely birch, as a modernist
material, marketing such
designs as Alvar?s armchair for
the Paimio Sanitorium (1932)
and his stacking stool for
the Viipuri Library (1933). These
required the development of
new techniques for bending
laminated wood and plywood,
and the stool?s part-laminated
?L leg? proved revolutionary ? a
mass-producible, standardised
wooden component, adaptable
to multiple applications.
Artek?s original manifesto
proclaimed an unlikely intent
to marry art and technology
through three streams ?
modern art, propaganda and
?industry and interior design? ?
to attain ?increased worldwide
activity?. This was achieved
with stupefying speed, thanks
in part to the acclaim that
had greeted Aalto?s furniture
on such foreign forays as the
1933 ?Wood Only? display at
London?s Fortnum & Mason, a
vital breakthrough in Finland?s
largest export market. Artek?s
products were soon sold by
Heal?s under the slogan ?Better
furniture for better times?, and
graced locations as varied as
the De La Warr Pavilion and
the Finsbury Health Centre.
This was a modernism more
palatable, more natural, more
complete and more affordable
than anything on the continent.
Yet Artek?s furniture was not
truly mass-produced: fulfilling
export orders proved hard, and
prices in Finland ensured it
above Tapio Wirkkala,
Kantarelli vase (1946)
for Iittala
above Alvar Aalto,
Armchair 41 (1932)
for燩aimio Sanitorium
(now Artek)
above US advert
for Kaj Franck?s Kilta
range (1952) for Arabia
53
14/07/2017 18:08
DESIGN / FEATURE
above Yrj� Kukkapuro,
Karuselli chair (1964) for
Haimi (now by Artek)
photography for
Alvar Aalto?s Y leg,
introduced in 1947
?Yet new
swathes of
consumers in the
1960s tended
to prefer
affordable
(and somewhat
chintzy) designs?
vodka bottles to his output.
Sarpaneva?s cast-iron pot
for W Rosenlew, with its
detachable wooden handle, was
a mildly ridiculous marriage
of functionality with Finnish
identity. Marimekko, with its
relaxed cuts, escaped much
of the criticism, adopted as a
uniform for modish egalitarians.
As the economy flourished
in the 1960s and 70s, swaths
of new consumers preferred
affordable, comfortable and
somewhat chintzy furniture,
much of it ?British style?, thereby
undermining the teleological
narrative of modernism.
The need was met in part by
domestic companies, but also
by imports ? the globalisation
of economies and tastes had
finally caught up with Finland.
A few firms tried to reflect
international trends ? Haimi
produced Yrj� Kukkapuro?s
classic Karuselli lounger in
plastic; Asko, the nation?s
largest furniture manufacturer,
struck a rich seam with Eero
Aarnio?s fantastical fibreglass
chairs; Harri Korhonen set
up Inno to produce his own
neo-modernist designs in 1975;
Avarte oversaw Kukkapuro?s
conversion to postmodernism
in the 1980s. Yet decline was
inevitable as Finland accepted
54
01-DESIGN-Finland-Sept17 NJ_JJ.indd 54
opposite Early press
open markets, imports
overtook domestic production
and popular interest waned.
The loss of the huge Soviet
market and the IKEA invasion
proved fatal to most firms.
Talented designers emerged
in the 1990s, including Stefan
Lindfors, Timo Ripatti, Ilkka
Suppanen and Harri Koskinen,
yet, with the possible exception
of Koskinen, their products
were cosmopolitan rather than
noticeably ?Finnish?. Government
support crystallised around
other priorities: relationships
between design education
and the corporate field, and
the needs of a knowledge
economy. Golden child Nokia
fell by the wayside but many
industrial firms, from audio
specialist Genelec to forestry
manufacturer Ponsse, did
integrate design-thinking into
their structure.
Today the three giants of
traditional Finnish product
design ? Iittala, Marimekko
and Artek ? thrive, partly on
the strength of their heritage,
but the latter two in particular
have regained design clarity
after struggling in the 1980s
and 90s. Marimekko had
effectively monetised its retro
appeal, but in 2014 hired
Swedish creative director
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 18:08
IMAGE: ARTEK
above Scissors by
Olof B鋍kstr鰉 for
Fiskars (1967)
of many, persisted in working
with the heroes of the previous
decade. Even so, the relevance
of these primitive geniuses
slowly waned: some retreated
to craft, some sold their
talents abroad, others adapted.
Wirkkala prospered thanks
to his eclectic talent, adding
toilet seats, door handles and
IMAGES: CHAPLINS / ADELTA; FISKARS; ARTEK
above Eero Aarnio,
Pallo chair (1966) for
Asko (now by Adelta)
was associated with a cultured
elite, a reputation it never quite
shook off.
Yet, despite its postwar
eclipse, Artek?s humane
modernism was to outlast all
the artistic predilections of
the 1950s ?golden era?. Even
as expressionism and applied
arts held sway, a backlash was
underway. Kaj Franck ? one of
the cadre lionised at Milan, but
with his own sober, moral take
on modernism ? criticised the
?unwholesome trends? of the
time in trenchant terms: ?The
designer has been turned into a
sales gimmick for design and as
a result definitions have become
obscure ? Instead of living on
the designer?s name, [products]
should exist on their own
merits.? Working for Finland?s
leading ceramics manufacturer,
Arabia, Franck designed the
economic yet beautiful Kilta
range, with its exacting flat
surfaces, in 1952 (updated in
1977 as the omnipresent Teema).
It was a clear rejection of the
impractical, decorative and
unaffordable. He also attempted
to phase out signed products
and slammed star designers
for parading their life, family
and genius to an eager press.
Others followed suit at Arabia,
including Ulla Procop�, with
her rustic yet fluid ovenware
and Antti Nurmesniemi,
with his colourful enamelled
coffee pots. Elsewhere, Ilmari
Tapiovaara designed elegant,
utilitarian chairs for Keravan
Puuteollisuus and Asko ?
including the Domus, a huge
British success ? at prices that
Artek could not match.
Such efforts were bolstered
in the 1960s by a new
generation of designers who
rejected expensive studio
pieces in favour of a functional
modernism that served the
needs of a thriving welfare
state. An obvious example
is Olof B鋍kstr鰉?s orangehandled scissors for Fiskars, but
uncredited design for health
and education, or for rapidly
diversifying industries, was
equally prevalent. Protected
by Finland?s closed market,
the old design firms remained
powerful and, to the chagrin
IMAGES: CHAPLINS / ADELTA; FISKARS; ARTEK
IMAGE: ARTEK
55
01-DESIGN-Finland-Sept17 NJ_JJ.indd 55
14/07/2017 17:09
below Harri Koskinen,
Block lamp (1996)
for Design House
Stockholm
above Yrj� Kukkapuro,
Experiment chair
(1982) for燗varte
above Ilkka Suppanen,
prototype for the
Nomad chair (1994)
Anna Teurnell to refresh its
brand. Artek ? now owned by
Vitra ? has employed outside
voices such as Konstantin Grcic,
Daniel Rybakken and, with
great success, the Bouroullecs
to respond to the firm?s history
of systematised components.
This embrace of overseas
talent is a cause of grievance
among those young Finnish
designers who don?t wish to
pursue industrial or service
design, or retreat into craft.
With few domestic options,
they are left to hawk themselves
on the global market. Jukka
Savolainen, director of
Helsinki?s Design Museum,
welcomes the new diversity
around design, but admits
that a lack of manufacturers
and of government support
hinders practices seeking
international visibility. HannaKaarina Heikkil�, co-founder
of the much-praised Studio
Finna, is currently working at
IKEA while her partner Anni
Pitk鋔鋜vi oversees the studio.
She describes the challenge as
?tricky ? big Finnish companies
are no longer brave in using
new designers. We always end
up working with Danish firms,
?We see beauty
in the object
stripped to the
bare essentials
and give power
to a detail ?
who have a vision about how
they want to develop their
design language.? Elina Ulvio,
heralded as the ?next big thing?
last summer, is even more
scathing: ?Sadly there are very
few possibilities for young
designers in Finland. Firms
like to play it safe; the main
triumphs are still the classic
designs by dead designers.
The Danish use their design
heritage and skills in a vibrant
way, updating and maintaining
while benefitting from and
supporting the fresh visions of
young designers ? This kind
of pioneer-thinking was active
in Finland during the golden
age of modernism, with the
outcomes we are all proud of.
The same level of braveness and
confidence is needed today.?
56
01-DESIGN-Finland-Sept17 NJ_JJ.indd 56
The Finnish tag has benefits.
Heikkil� feels that ?it brings
attractive ideas into people?s
heads, even if they have no idea
what contemporary Finnish
design looks like or means.?
Terhi Tuominen, winner of
Design Forum Finland?s 2009
Young Designer award, agrees
it can be useful, but ?can also
hinder new explorations when
designs don?t easily fall into
stereotypes of what Finnish
design is?. Analysing the close
relationship Finns have with
design, he cites the concurrence
of urbanisation and modernism,
saying: ?I see [Finnish design]
as committed to improving
the quality and functionality
of everyday life. We live in a
harsh climate, hence things
need to be practical and work
smoothly. We see beauty in
objects stripped to bare essentials
and give power to a detail or
characteristic of the material.?
This statement ? like many
by young Finnish designers ?
combines 1930s internationalist
ideals about the scientific
application of design to create
a just, modern society, and
an abiding belief, fostered in
the 1950s, in the otherness of
Finnish design. It?s a position
that can be challenging ? good
copy for lifestyle magazines,
less useful if you aspire to be
the next Yves B閔ar. Mantras
around nature, simplicity
and purity are tempting to
companies, designers and even
government bodies wishing
to capitalise on positive
preconceptions abroad ? one
quarter of Finnish exports are
still classified as ?design-based?.
But, as Savolainen says, ?the
biggest problem is that the
public?s general perception
of design is still based on
that 1950s idea of craft-based
designers making beautiful
objects, and forgets that it?s
about making a better life for
all of us.? Perhaps this should
be the moment for Finnish
designers finally to cast off the
hoary, alluring language of the
coffee table and, inspired by
their modernist predecessors,
recast their identity and their
role in society. After all, they
managed it a century ago.
IMAGES: HARRI KOSKINEN / FRIENDS OF INDUSTRY; YRJ� KUKKAPURO ARCHIVE; ILKKA SUPPANEN / RAUNO TR腟KELIN
DESIGN / FEATURE
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 18:08
DESIGN / EMERGING STUDIO
Jonatan Nilsson
The young Swede?s toy-like designs and smiley faces belie
a sophisticated approach to process and materials
By Emma Le Lesl�
Portrait by Fredrik Ekelund
IMAGES: TOR WESTERLUND
above Concretely
Happy, Nilsson?s
graduation project
forget your preconceptions about
Scandinavia ? not everything revolves
around minimalism. ??Scandinavian
design? has turned into a kind of brand,
but really it simplifies a very diverse and
complex reality into something a lot more
limiting,? says Swedish industrial designer
Jonatan Nilsson.
While studying at Beckmans College
of Design in Stockholm, Nilsson has
developed a portfolio of work that shifts
away from the Scandi stereotype, focusing
instead on materiality and method.
Detaching himself from the computer, he
takes a hands-on approach, experimenting
with ceramics, Jesmonite, wood and
concrete, and drawing inspiration from
everything, whether leftover materials
or found machinery. ?What I find most
September 2017
01-DESIGN-NewStudio-Sept17_NJ.indd 59
exciting are the possibilities that reveal
themselves when experimenting. Every
new material and technique holds a
promise of what could be done,? he says.
His designs have a distinctive presence
beyond their materiality ? and an
eccentricity that verges on the impractical.
Bokhyllestol is a cross between a chair and
a bookshelf, which sounds convenient but
in fact almost traps the user between the
backrest and the stacks. ?Most chairs fulfil
their main purpose by allowing you to sit
on them, but even functional design has
more to offer than its function,? Nilsson
explains. ?Every chair gives you a different
sitting experience depending on the form,
the colour, the material. Sometimes a
chair is quirky, and this can happen at the
expense of functionality.?
What they lack in functionality, his
designs make up for in whimsy: a childlike smiley face is a recurring motif
throughout Nilsson?s work, giving many
items the appearance of oversized toys. His
Log Bench looks like something you?d find
in kindergarten, but Nilsson insists this
doesn?t mean sacrificing quality. ?Playful
design comes naturally to me,? he says.
?But it is also tricky ? you have to pay extra
close attention to things like finish and
meaning, because otherwise people will
not take you seriously.? Exploring details
and surface textures enables Nilsson to
develop a sophisticated language of design,
while maintaining the charming quality
that defines his work.
His experiments can be quite ambitious.
Inspired by an internship in 2015 with
59
14/07/2017 17:25
DESIGN / EMERGING STUDIO
?What I find most exciting are the
possibilities that reveal themselves
when experimenting. Every new
material and technique holds a
promise of what could be done?
this page Pieces
from the Concretely
Happy project, which
was inspired by the
transition from 1920s
neoclassicism to
functionalism
designer Anton Alvarez ? best known for
his spectacular thread-wrapping machine
? Nilsson became interested in designing
his own production method. A major
attempt at this was a rotational moulding
device, designed to mould hollow objects
using a centrifugal force. Although it
?somewhat failed? for various technical
reasons, he remains motivated to爐ry
similar endeavours in the future.
Nilsson?s graduation project Concretely
Happy also reflects his efforts to
concentrate on the significance of the
process over the outcome. His vibrant
concrete creations reference the transition
from neoclassicism to functionalism,
and are intended to question the absence
of figurative elements in Swedish
architecture over the past few decades.
60
01-DESIGN-NewStudio-Sept17_NJ.indd 60
?This project experiments with concrete,
examining the need for a figurative
narrative and stressing the importance of
materiality in architecture and design,?
he爀xplains.
He says that Gunnar Asplund?s classical
Stockholm Public Library was the building
that sparked his interest in architecture
and led him to think about design at
a larger scale. And the urban realm is
perhaps where Nilsson?s future lies. He
expresses an interest in working in public
space, perhaps creating installations to
engage people with their environment. For
now, he is taking on work as an interior
architect and looking to acquire his own
space to break free from the constraints
of school assignments. We look forward to
seeing what comes next.
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 17:26
DESIGN / ICON
Peter Opsvik
Over the past 50 years, he has liberated the human
body from the tyranny of ?correct posture? and
introduced the concept of dynamic sitting
By Debika Ray
Portrait by Jimmy Linus
our ideas about posture have an
almost religious quality to them. Being
upright, motionless or gliding smoothly is
considered virtuous ? the stuff of soldiers,
great leaders, yogis and dancers ? while
slouching or lolling around in your seat is
slovenly, uncivilised, almost sinful, a bad
habit to be trained out. That?s why chairs
for public use generally come with implicit
instructions for how to sit on them ? erect
and still, in keeping with its height and
curves. Furniture for reclining or relaxing
exists mostly in the privacy of the home.
The question is, should design seek
to impose a ?correct? way of being or
respond to people?s natural instincts? It?s
the latter approach that has framed the
work of Norwegian designer Peter Opsvik,
who literally wrote the book on sitting
(Rethinking Sitting, 2009). ?My theory about
sitting is very simple: if we are allowed to
move, we move,? he said in 2013. ?You never
see people waiting for the train for example,
standing still.? In other words, there?s no
single correct posture for sitting: any pose
held for too long feels uncomfortable.
Opsvik has made it his life?s work to
free the human body through design: to
liberate us from the sedentary, passive
lifestyle that office-based work has
imposed upon so many of us and return
towards the state of perpetual movement
that characterised daily life in the preindustrial era. The countless chairs he
has designed allow people to vary their
position continuously and intuitively,
prioritising freedom over support ? or,
as he sees it, constraint. ?I am proposing
that the dynamic area around the body be
expanded at the expense of the static one,?
he writes.
One of his largest collections, Balans,
includes chairs that allow for a supported
kneeling or a semi-standing position, or
that function equally well whether you?re
upright or reclining. Globe Garden ? more
a thought experiment and art object than
a piece of furniture ? recalls a time when
our ancestors lived in trees, and offers
multiple unconventional ways and levels to
sit and to fold your limbs. Swing and Reflex
suspend various seating components on
62
01-DESIGN-Icon-PeterOpsvik-Sept17_NJ.indd 62
wires so they respond to every twitch or
turn of your muscles, while Capsico is
inspired by the dynamic posture of the
?first long-term sitters? ? riders of horses
and pack animals ? to allow for an almost
unlimited range of sitting postures. The
effortless tilting motion incorporated into
many of his designs is an obvious forebear
of Barber Osgerby?s Tip Ton for Vitra.
But the most famous of all his works is
the Tripp Trapp (pictured with Opsvik): a
chair designed to grow with a child, from
infancy to adulthood ? with the adjustable
slats shifting progressively downwards
over time and its open front allowing
children to dine at the same table as
adults rather than from a tray affixed to a
high-chair. A design classic, more than ten
million Tripp Trapp chairs have been sold
since its launch in 1972 and Opsvik has
developed a series of similar designs based
on the same idea for different contexts.
The fact that Opsvik is a talented
jazz saxophonist seems appropriate. The
parallels between his musical interests and
his approach to design are unavoidable.
In both he rejects traditional form, places
emphasis in counter-intuitive places and
celebrates free expression. His work is a
lesson for us all in paying less attention
to convention and more to our bodies?
natural爎hythms.
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 17:21
01-DESIGN-Icon-PeterOpsvik-Sept17_NJ.indd 63
14/07/2017 17:21
64
01-DESIGN-HellaJongerius-Sept17_jj_NJ.indd 64
14/07/2017 17:14
DESIGN / Q&A
Hella Jongerius
?Colour is a topic you can lose
yourself in. It touches everything?
Interview by Debika Ray
Portraits by Catherine Hyland
Y
ou could describe Hella
Jongerius as an agitator.
Despite working for some of
the world?s highest-profile
brands over the course of her
career, the celebrated Dutch designer has
always sought to challenge the industry?s
conventions ? whether it?s the churn of
products for the sake of newness or the
prejudice against ceramics and textiles.
Her latest exhibition, at London?s Design
Museum, is a culmination of her decadeslong interest in the subjective nature of
colour and texture. Composed almost
entirely of new work, it?s a conceptual
outlet for her frustrations about the
restricted, unimaginative way in which
much of the design world deals with
September 2017
01-DESIGN-HellaJongerius-Sept17_jj_NJ.indd 65
these subjects. In a series of installations
clustered around the titles ?morning?,
?noon? and ?evening?, in reference to
how our experience of colour changes
throughout the day, she explores ideas
such as the depth and variety of what we
consider to be black, the way colour and
shape interact, and the phenomenon of
?metamerism? ? when colours that are
different appear to match. She told us
more in the lead-up to the opening.
ICON As art director of colour and
surfaces for Vitra, you?ve been engaged in
a ten-year research project exploring the
potential for colour and texture within
the brand?s collection. How does this
exhibition take your research further?
Hella Jongerius It?s helpful to have a
question to address like this as it gives you
a reason to research, and an end goal. In
industry, it?s quite difficult to do research
of this depth. As an industrial designer for
Vitra, for example, I can?t use pigments or
ingredients other than those the industry
offers you. Everyone has to work with
colours that are tested, stay stable the
whole day, and have their light-fastness
proven. All those tests mean we?re fixed to
a certain range of colour products. What
I did here was use pigment recipes I can?t
use in other contexts. I went to a smaller
factory making [pigments] for crafts so I
could see what colours could be brought to
shapes and surfaces. I want to make people
aware of what colour can do.
65
14/07/2017 17:14
DESIGN / Q&A
ICON You?ve achieved that by using
what you describe as ?colour catchers?
? faceted objects fabricated in folded
cardboard that燼ct as three-dimensional
colour charts, reflecting light and shadow
in different ways on various surfaces.
Could you explain what you are trying
to燼chieve?
HJ As a designer, but also as a consumer,
if you go to a store to choose a colour,
it?s always a flat selection, a flat swatch.
But nothing is ever flat ? you don?t use
your colours flat; you always use them at
an angle [which also then includes] the
shadows of the colour.
I wanted to create this folded shape that
shows what really happens to colour. You
could look at it and say, ?I don?t know how
I can use this knowledge?, but actually
everything has folds ? a chair is also
folded: it has horizontals and verticals. In
the exhibition, I made the shapes more
abstract so they would be easier to study,
but this knowledge shows how you can use
them [in everyday life].
ICON You?ve also explored texture in the
exhibition, through a series of textiles
inspired by different times of the day
and a selection that shows how different
patterns of weaving affect how a surface
appears. What, for you, is the relationship
between texture and colour?
HJ Textiles are another way of mixing
colour ? it?s an optical mix, so rather than
stirring them together, you have [colours]
on top of each other. I?ve been doing textiles
for 20 years, but it?s still difficult to know
how to come to a certain colour and to
pinpoint the right combination, as in each
construction ? each yarn or each binding ?
something happens with the mixing that
you can?t predict, which is kind of mystic.
Colour is a topic you can lose yourself in. It
touches everything. Art, of course, but also
chemistry, philosophy: everything from
chemicals to culture. Early Greek thinkers
always thought of it as something within
an object, not on the outside.
For me, colour is a material ? it can help
you shape an object, downplay it or lift
?In each yarn, something happens
with the mixing that you can?t
predict, which is kind of mystic?
this page Cork and
felt rugs for Danskina
where Jongerius is
creative director
opposite An exhibit
for爐he Design
Museum that shows
how colours look under
different lights and
against other colours
66
01-DESIGN-HellaJongerius-Sept17_jj_NJ.indd 66
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 18:23
67
01-DESIGN-HellaJongerius-Sept17_jj_NJ.indd 67
14/07/2017 17:15
DESIGN / Q&A
left Fabrics used
in the Polder sofa
for Vitra
below Vases for
Maharam ? the vases
that inspired the
design are on display
in the Design Museum
exhibition
?For me, colour is a material ?
it can help you shape an object,
downplay it or lift it up?
it up, make it look bigger or smaller, or
give a shadow. It?s a powerful tool, but it?s
something designers forget, or are afraid
of. They think it?s something you do at the
last minute or that it?s just decoration. I
think it?s something our profession needs
more knowledge of ? what colour can do
beyond just [being used for] marketing.
What is also interesting is that people see
things differently depending on where
they come from. I work for the American
market too, where I choose, say, ten
colours [for a particular range], but the
[brand] will choose the seven they think
American people would like. I can?t predict
that ? I have a taste for or knowledge of
Europe, but I can?t, even after 20 years, say
these are the top seven colours people [in
the US] will be attracted to.
ICON In your work, you?ve often used
colour to refresh an existing product in
a brand?s collection, for example your
recent take on Alvar Aalto?s 1936 tea
September 2017
01-DESIGN-HellaJongerius-Sept17_jj_NJ.indd 69
trolley for Artek. Does this relate to your
contention a few years ago that ?there?s
too much shopping without any social
or environmental consciousness? ? that
designers have a responsibility to produce
fewer new things and instead think about
what they can do with existing objects?
Is that why you ?never start with a blank
piece of paper??
HJ Yes, how could I, when so much has
been done before? If the company asked
me to do something, I always ask, why do
you want it? What have you done before?
Can I use something from your archive or
of your knowledge? In science, you build
up knowledge from [previous work in the
field] ? so that?s how I think. For example,
when I worked with KLM, we worked the
old cabin crew uniforms into the weave
of the carpets. I think it?s a very good idea
to look at an archive to see what the best
designs are or what designs could have
another life if you can make it in another
material or colour, lifting it into the
69
14/07/2017 17:15
DESIGN / Q&A
?I think today I?m less interested
in ?things? ? more in the
abstract and in having
an overview?
above Knots and
Beads curtain in the
North Delegates
Lounge at the UN
Headquarters in
New York
contemporary world. That?s a sustainable
way of looking at design ? doing something
else rather than just making things that
are new, new, new. We have a world filled
with stuff and we have to take care of the
Earth. This is my way of contributing,
while also diving deeper into topics that
could help our profession. You need very
good reasons to come up with a new
item. A new design has to have a poetic
outcome and it has to have research or
an innovative way of being. I think if you
touch on those three points, then you can
have an object that?s worth being new.
ICON Do you think this drive in the
design industry to continually produce
new items is dissipating? There does
appear to be a shift in thinking among the
next generation of designers.
HJ I do see young people doing other
things than just making stuff, so I?m
happy with that ? to see them making
movies, or commentaries on our
profession. But also, all designers need to
make their own statements and express
themselves ? you can?t say, ?you?re not
allowed to make a chair?. What I hope is
that consumers [change their attitude]. Just
like the food industry has reacted because
people are aware of what they don?t want
to have, I hope that people no longer want
crappy furniture that falls apart or carpets
you have to throw away after a year.
ICON You started your career doing quite
experimental work and then moved on to
working with much bigger brands because
you wanted to influence the mainstream.
Do you feel you?ve been successful in that
respect? And how have your interests
changed over the course of your career?
HJ You never know how great your
influence is, but in my years of working
for the industry I think I?ve touched a lot
of people and pushed boundaries. With a
project like this research with colours, for
example, you reach a whole new audience.
I think today I?m less interested in ?things?
? more in the abstract and in having
an overview. In this industry it is quite
tough to make mistakes, so I?m happy to
again do experimental work with my own
boundaries and focus. I also find it difficult
to concentrate on new furniture so I like to
do colours, materials or textiles. I?m happy
with the small group of clients that I have
? I can express myself well with a small
group of people I?ve known for a long time
and with whom I share values.
70
01-DESIGN-HellaJongerius-Sept17_jj_NJ.indd 70
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 17:16
02-ARCH-Icon-IF_DO-Sept17 NJ.indd 72
17/07/2017 15:08
*INSYNC
London trio IF_DO have received rave reviews for their summer
pavilion at Dulwich Picture Gallery. With further commissions
in Cork and Surrey, it seems less a case of if, but when ?
By Peter Smisek
Portraits by Andy Lo P�
02-ARCH-Icon-IF_DO-Sept17 NJ.indd 73
17/07/2017 15:08
02-ARCH-Icon-IF_DO-Sept17 NJ.indd 74
14/07/2017 15:13
IMAGE: JOAKIM BOR蒒
?This is nothing like our student project, but we felt we had a history with
the way we approached that pavilion in the landscape?
ARCHITECTURE / PROFILE
F
or many an architectural
practice, the naming template
?Surname燬urname McSurname?
suffices, later suffixed with
?and Partners? once the firm
outgrows its mythologised founders.
Others are happy to use a whimsical
backronym or a tongue-twisting tangle
of consonants that turns out to be the
partners? initials. In the current post-crisis
and supposedly collaborative era, names
as mission statements are in vogue and
IF_DO, an emerging practice based in
opposite After
Image, the temporary
pavilion in front of
John Soane?s Dulwich
Picture Gallery
right Al Scott says
that naming his child
was easier than
naming the practice
IMAGE: JOAKIM BOR蒒
south London, is a case in point. Instead
of self-aggrandisement, the founding trio
have instead chosen to emphasise their
idealism-infused imagination (IF) coupled
with practical go-getting (DO). ?We were
deciding what kind of practice we wanted
to be without having a competition win as
a test project,? explains Sarah Castle, one of
the studio?s three principals. ?The naming
process felt like writing a manifesto.?
The intention behind the name,
according to co-founder Thomas Bryans,
was to create a label that was ?more
September 2017
02-ARCH-Icon-IF_DO-Sept17 NJ.indd 75
embracing in bringing people into the fold,
in terms of creating a bigger conversation?.
Al Scott, who completes the trio, chimes
in that naming his child was a lot more
straightforward, but adds that the studio
is not ?tying itself to one interpretation?.
Such an inclusive outlook, in which the
trio stress social and environmental
sustainability, a collaborative approach and
attention to detail and context, is as much
about the practicality of a three year-old
studio trying to build a diverse portfolio,
as it is about ambition. After all, we are
in an age where
young architects
must work harder
than ever to secure
meaningful, largescale commissions.
This attitude
is also manifest
in IF_DO?s most
recent completion,
a爐emporary pavilion
currently occupying
the front lawn of Sir
John Soane?s Dulwich
Picture Gallery.
Named ?After Image?
by its architects, the
pavilion pays homage
to the older structure
in its rectangular
layout, loosely
classical allusions
of its horizontal
composition and
elegant proportions.
An airy, timber truss
roof is supported by
a series of movable,
mirroring panels,
which deconstruct
the building and the
surrounding park
into each other.
Despite its almost
pristine appearance,
the pavilion actually
accommodates a bar
and the reflective
panels can be further
reconfigured to provide a space for
lectures and debates, screenings, dance
performances and what have you. Even
before it opened to the public in early June
it received rave reviews, suggesting IF_DO
might just trump Francis K閞� ? whose
Serpentine Pavilion opened some weeks
later ? in an imaginary London summer
pavilion showdown.
It is therefore not a stretch to assume
that the project will prove a watershed
moment for Castle, Bryans and Scott, who
see themselves as something of local
75
14/07/2017 15:13
ARCHITECTURE / PROFILE
underdogs ? their studio is about two
miles from the Dulwich site and they
secured the commission by beating 74
other practices in an open competition.
Serendipitously, ten years ago, the three
of them had collaborated on their final
undergraduate project at Edinburgh
University, which required the addition
of a temporary pavilion in the grounds of
a Georgian house. ?It was quite poetic for
us,? explains Scott. ?This is nothing like
our student project, but we felt we had a
history with the way we approached that
pavilion in the landscape, and I think
there?s a shared sensibility inherent in
our way of working.? If their Part I in
Edinburgh provided a common ground
for the young architects, their subsequent
academic and professional careers
added the necessary diversity. Castle, for
instance, worked as a project leader on
DGT?s Estonian National Museum (Icon
165), Bryans studied at the Graduate
School of Design at Harvard and Scott
worked in a number of practices in
London, delivering buildings as far afield
opposite CGI of a
as Moscow and Los Angeles. The three
kept in touch throughout this separation,
and the idea to set up a practice emerged
organically in their conversations. ?Our
separate experiences add a certain amount
of richness,? Scott explains. ?It?s like a
relationship when people who got together
when they were really young decide to
spend some time apart and then come
back together. You really know whether it?s
right or not.?
So far, the creative partnership, which
formally kicked off in 2014, has worked
Courtyard Workshop
for Joseph Walsh
Studio in Cork, Ireland
above Sarah Castle
worked as a project
leader on DGT?s
Estonian National
Museum
76
02-ARCH-Icon-IF_DO-Sept17 NJ.indd 76
well, even across a digital divide ? the
design process for the Dulwich pavilion
began with Bryant in Australia while
Castle and Scott worked from London. The
trio were pleasantly surprised when the
initial sketches shared over Skype showed
remarkable similarity at both ends. They
feel that this close collaboration is also
crucial when it comes to keeping the
necessary momentum when working
on a project. ?At different stages in the
design process, there will be a point where
one of us will hate what we?re working
on and go through
intense self-doubt,?
says Bryans. ?That?s
when the other two
somehow carry that
person along. We?re
always able to keep on
going rather than just
being deflated.? This
combination of drive
and camaraderie has
served IF_DO
well. The studio has
already completed a
handful of respectable
house extensions in
London ? a staple of
any young practice ?
but has also managed
to secure planning
permission for a new
900sq m sixth-form
college facility for
St Theresa?s School in
Surrey and are hoping
to break ground on
a 650sq m workshop
for furniture
manufacturer Joseph
Walsh Studios in Cork,
Ireland, any time now.
Much more than
the aforementioned
house extensions,
these projects reveal
a little glimpse of
what we can expect
from IF_DO in
the future. There
are civic intentions, attention to user
experience and a certain economy of
means, which is liberating and generous
rather than imposing or claustrophobic.
The buildings that will result take cues
from the surrounding morphology and
create a strong, symbiotic relationship
between the old and the new. So it is with
the Dulwich pavilion ? the structure?s few
elements show a light but very deliberate
touch, while the changing constellation of
mirrored panels ensures a lively dialogue
with the gallery. Which is to say that
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 15:13
?The way we approach these projects is to make the most out of the
smaller things. It?s about seeing these tiny gaps and opportunities?
02-ARCH-Icon-IF_DO-Sept17 NJ.indd 77
14/07/2017 15:14
?There will be a point where one of us will hate what we?re working on
and go through intense self-doubt ? that?s when the other two somehow
carry that person along?
02-ARCH-Icon-IF_DO-Sept17 NJ.indd 78
14/07/2017 15:14
ARCHITECTURE / PROFILE
it?s beyond a cautious box-ticking exercise
in minimalist composition. ?Those bits
that we knew it would do, it absolutely
does, such as blurring the boundaries
between landscape and building,
making the canopy float, mirroring the
gallery,? says Scott. Castle adds that it?s
the constantly changing atmosphere
throughout the day, from sunrise to
sunset, and the changing use that is
making the structure come alive. ?At the
press preview, kids were running around
and loved it. There was so much joy and
happiness and giggling and handprints
everywhere. It?s wonderful seeing the
pavilion activated like that.?
In recent years, activating underused
and seemingly unloved public space
through architectural interventions has
become something of a rite of passage for
young practices ? think Assemble?s 2010
Cineroleum. Castle, Bryans and Scott have
delivered on this front too, renovating a
one-storey commercial space made from
portacabins and an adjacent courtyard
on Lower Marsh in London?s Waterloo.
opposite CGI of
Here, IF_DO used low-cost materials,
such as timber slats and chipboard sheets
with liberal application of bright colours.
Combined with well-chosen architectural
motifs ? a large, bright red supergraphic
in the shape of a smile on the building?s
frontage and similarly concave green
space dividers inside ? the architects?
intervention enlivens the spaces and
attracts people to the new co-working
offices. Crucially, a jobseekers? centre that
caters to people from the neighbouring
boroughs was able to remain on the site.
St Theresa?s sixthform centre in Surrey
above Thomas Bryans
began working on the
Dulwich project over
Skype from Australia
September 2017
02-ARCH-Icon-IF_DO-Sept17 NJ.indd 79
?The way we approach these projects
is to make the most out of the smaller
things, it?s about seeing these tiny gaps
and opportunities,? explains Castle. ?That?s
how we can apply bigger ambitions to
smaller budgets.? There is hope that young
practitioners might be able to get more
involved in shaping policy and decisions.
As Scott points out, London mayor Sadiq
Khan has approved a policy proposal that
would give young architects a chance to
work in their local planning department
and have their salary matched. Bryans
says: ?It comes back
to enabling actual
collaboration between
designers and
policymakers to create
a level of strategic
design and awareness
of implications of
design policy.?
Seeing policy as
high-level design is
a position shared
by many, and even
architecture students
? who a few years
ago might have been
pursuing form for
form?s sake ? are
now becoming
increasingly political,
as evidenced by
this summer?s
graduation shows
across the capital.
It is perhaps telling
that IF_DO?s Castle
and Scott both hold
teaching positions at
the newly founded
London School of
Architecture. The
institution opened
to students in 2015
and has just seen
off its first cohort of
graduates. LSA aims
to be cost-neutral,
meaning that the
course is largely
financed through donations and students
working in their tutors? practices. ?The
school is very much embedded in real
political issues, such as the housing crisis
that is currently changing our models of
domesticity,? explains Castle. ?Students
construct design in relation to these
realities, but they also produce plans for
beautiful spaces.? In the end, that?s what it
ultimately comes down to ? architecture
of good intentions is not always good
architecture. Luckily, IF_DO seems to have
mastered both early on.
79
14/07/2017 18:10
ISLAND
02-ARCH-NJJB-Sept17_NJ_2.indd 80
17/07/2017 15:12
KING
NBBJ?s exhibition centre is the flagship project for an urban ?eco? island in Nanjing.
So how does sustainability work in a Chinese mega-city?
By Harry den Hartog
Photography by Terrence Zhang
02-ARCH-NJJB-Sept17_NJ_2.indd 81
17/07/2017 15:12
ARCHITECTURE / PUBLIC
above The centre is
situated by the bridge
linking the island to
the business district
82
02-ARCH-NJJB-Sept17_NJ_2.indd 82
iconeye.com
17/07/2017 15:12
ARCHITECTURE / PUBLIC
O
ver the last two
decades, China has
seen the greatest wave
of urbanisation in the
world?s history. The
collateral damage has
been equally dramatic,
from the destruction of cultural and
ecological landscapes to unprecedented
pollution. However, awareness of these
issues is now widespread ? one answer
being touted is ?eco-friendly architecture?,
which promises to prioritise the needs of
inhabitants as well as those of nature. Such
terms as ?eco-cities? or ?smart cities? are
now common ? Nanjing EcoTech Island is
the latest example, and its flagship is the
Nanjing Eco Island Exhibition Center.
Nanjing, located on the Yangtze River,
was China?s capital during the early years
of the Ming dynasty, from 1368 to 1441.
Over the last 20 years it has expanded at
pace ? its population is now over eight
million ? and the river island on which
the Exhibition Center sits is the last
remaining agricultural land near the
downtown area. In 2010, an international
design competition was held to develop
it as EcoTech Island (or Zhongxin Nanjing
Ecological Science and Technology
Island, to give its full title) ? a model for
sustainable development and a lure for
international eco-technology businesses.
NBBJ, a multidisciplinary design firm
founded in 1943, won the commission
for designing the Nanjing Eco Island
Exhibition Center, working out of its New
York office. The firm?s stated intention
is to design buildings that reduce fossil
fuel consumption, with the ambition of
achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.
As well as providing a meeting place
for investors, the project has an obvious
symbolic value for the entire development.
Positioned by the main bridge connecting
the island to the new central business
district, the exhibition centre is a
landmark: its 24,000sq m volume is raised
on a podium yet sits well in the carefully
manicured landscape. The main entrance
is placed just off the main road to indicate
the pedestrian-friendly principles of the
project, further emphasised by the green
plaza in front of the building. An existing
line of trees has been preserved in the plaza
design, forming a walkway to the metro.
Inside are an exhibition hall, a
conference centre and two construction
management offices, currently supervising
the redevelopment of the island and
also hosting potential investors. The
interior finishes have been designed and
implemented by local firms, with some
diminution in levels of refinement as a
result. At present, only a small part of
September 2017
02-ARCH-NJJB-Sept17_NJ_2.indd 83
83
17/07/2017 15:12
ARCHITECTURE / PUBLIC
the building is in use, but developments
are progressing rapidly on adjacent plots.
As well as its role as a landmark, the
building is intended as a standard bearer
for low-carbon development for Nanjing
and the wider region. The most visible
element of this is the overarching roof
structure, which shades the entire facade,
alleviating the heat of Nanjing ? one
of China?s so-called ?Three Furnaces?,
alongside Wuhan and Chongqing, famed
for their hot, humid summers. Natural
light is brought into the building via eight
dramatic ?light canyons? ? holes in the
roof that reduce the need for artificial
lighting and enhance the atmosphere. It is
claimed that energy use is at least 30 per
cent lower than comparable conventional
buildings. ?A big part of our strategy was
to maximise the cantilevered overhang to
shade the building throughout most of the
September 2017
02-ARCH-NJJB-Sept17_NJ_2.indd 85
day, thus cooling loads are lower,? says Jay
Siebenmorgen, design principal at NBBJ.
The shape of the angular roof also
refers to the horizontal lines in the roofs
of Nanjing?s Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum
and Jiming Temple. Siebenmorgen
explains: ?This idea of horizons can
symbolise a dialogue between past and
future, tradition and technology, natural
and manmade.? Intimate roof gardens
are secreted amid the roof?s contours,
although views over the surrounding
landscape are limited.
Unfortunately, the ambition to include
natural ventilation was dropped during
implementation, so air-conditioning is
hidden inside the double-layered roofs.
The client required office space on at least
two large floor plates, but with a total
maximum building height of 25m, thus
the density of the plot needed to be
?Its 24,000sq m
volume is raised
on a podium
yet sits well in
the carefully
manicured
landscape?
above The building?s
form creates natural
shading, thereby
reducing cooling loads
85
14/07/2017 15:40
ARCHITECTURE / PUBLIC
?The masterplan
has four-lane
and six-lane
roads ? some of
those already
built are even
wider?
above Overhanging
eaves and vivid light
wells add to the centre?s
landmark status
maximised and passive ventilation proved
impossible. The inclusion of light canyons
helps to mitigate the limited sunlight
and fresh air that reach the heart of each
floor. The centre also uses a geothermal
heat pump, as well as rainwater
harvesting, and its permeable ground
surface reduces run-off.
With the help of investors from
Singapore, the island is intended to
become an ?eco hi-tech city?, with a cluster
of research and residential buildings to
act as an incubator for technology and
environmental companies. Pedestrian
spaces are planned, as well as integrated
water retention and distribution, natural
ventilation, responsive facades and
geothermal conditioning for all buildings.
There are downsides: almost 70 per cent
of agricultural land is to be urbanised and
the masterplan is car-oriented with four-
86
02-ARCH-NJJB-Sept17_NJ_2.indd 86
lane and six-lane roads ? some of those
already built are even wider.
Since the exhibition centre is the first
building completed, it is an important
flagship for the island?s eco-credentials.
Unfortunately, other projects in the
pipeline seem to be showing a tendency
to slippage. Renderings are showcased
on large billboards on site ? the projects,
from international firms including
AAUPC, Nikken, Pinhole, Surbana and
Sweco, do not at first sight offer significant
low-carbon or energy-saving elements.
Hopefully, the wind and photovoltaic
power and other environmental measures
promised by the development company
and local government will soon be
installed, so that EcoTech Island can act
as a sustainable urban district as much as
investment opportunity. Certainly NBBJ?s
exhibition centre is a striking first step.
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 15:40
02-ARCH-V&A-Sept17 NJ2.indd 88
17/07/2017 15:14
Instant relic
AL_A succeeds in bringing the V&A into the age of the powerhouse
exhibition, but its showpiece courtyard feels strangely out of time
By John Jervis
Photography by Hufton + Crow
02-ARCH-V&A-Sept17 NJ2.indd 89
17/07/2017 15:15
ARCHITECTURE / PUBLIC
T
right The courtyard
is covered in 11,000
parallelogram-shaped
porcelain tiles
he task facing AL_A at the
V&A was far from easy. The
institution, long hampered
by inflexible spaces and
ancient facilities when
hosting the blockbusters
necessary for budget
sheets, wanted exhibition
infrastructure befitting
its status. It also wanted a
new west-facing entrance
to entice visitors from the bustling ?shared
space? of Exhibition Road, which has proved
so advantageous to Albertopolis rivals.
Major construction above grade was not on
the cards, given the painful saga of Daniel
Libeskind?s Spiral, which was abandoned
in 2004 after eight exhausting years of
fundraising and fights, external and internal.
A new competition using the same
courtyard site ? originally home to the
museum?s boilers and, until recently,
cluttered with staff prefabs ? was
launched in 2010. AL_A?s entry shared
many of its fundamentals with other
shortlisted designs, but given past strife its
comparative reticence was an enticement.
Another major point in its favour was the
permeability AL_A?s scheme achieved.
In 1909, the 1,200sq m courtyard had
been hidden from prying eyes with an
imposing screen by Aston Webb ? the
architect of the final, dominant phase
of the V&A labyrinth. AL_A proposed
removing the balustrade and stonework
under the screen?s colonnade, creating
eight extended columns, thus maximising
access from Exhibition Road. It?s hard not
to regret the loss of this original fabric,
as much for its historic resonance ? the
stone bore scars from a bombing raid
in 1940 ? as for its aesthetic import. An
unsatisfactory palimpsest of these wounds
has been created using perforations in the
aggressively modern aluminium gates that
replace the original masonry. However,
fears voiced by the Victorian Society about
the potentially spindly appearance of the
newly elongated columns have proved
overblown. This aspect of the scheme must
be considered a significant success, and
prospects appear highly favourable for
luring in passers-by, if only for a coffee.
And the exhibition infrastructure?
The entirety of the courtyard has been
excavated to a depth of 20m, making
space for a 1,100sq m underground gallery,
with a further level below for storage
and set-up (with its own pleasing aesthetic
of well-finished concrete). The new
Sainsbury Gallery is an empty box,
90
02-ARCH-V&A-Sept17 NJ2.indd 90
iconeye.com
17/07/2017 15:15
ARCHITECTURE / PUBLIC
September 2017
02-ARCH-V&A-Sept17 NJ2.indd 91
91
17/07/2017 15:15
ARCHITECTURE / PUBLIC
a flexible container ideal for the demands
of temporary exhibitions. Only one column
intrudes, cleverly incorporated into an
entrance screen conveniently positioned
to carry introductory texts. Assisted by
14 massive trusses, this beam bears the
entire weight of the courtyard above ? a
huge engineering achievement, crucial
to the project?s success. The trusses have
also been exploited for aesthetic effect ?
the high ceiling is tightly wrapped round
their triangular forms, creating intriguing
jagged folds that conceal changes in level
above, while seamlessly incorporating
multiple services and the glass of an oculus.
To enter both the main galleries and
this new exhibition space from the
courtyard, an entrance has been created
in the existing facade opposite the screen,
punching through more Aston Webb
brickwork. Three interior walls have then
been removed, creating the Blavatnik Hall,
where visitors can get their bearings and
their tickets. Such curios as ticketing and
information desks are deemed superfluous;
instead, a bank of self-service screens will
perform these tasks. Attractive terrazzo
tiles have been laid, compensating for the
loss of the originals, and a long-desired
link across to the earlier Henry Cole Wing
has now been achieved. A lacqueredtulipwood staircase folds tightly round
four orange-red girders, leading visitors
?Assisted by 14 massive trusses, a single beam bears the
entire weight of the courtyard above?
right A tulipwood
staircase leads visitors
down to the gallery
space
September 2017
02-ARCH-V&A-Sept17 NJ2.indd 93
93
14/07/2017 15:50
ARCHITECTURE / PUBLIC
?Whether the new circulation will prove sufficient for Pink
Floyd fans picking up audio guides remains to be seen?
above An oculus
brings natural light in
through the jagged
roof to the exhibition
space below
September 2017
02-ARCH-V&A-Sept17 NJ2.indd 95
down to the gallery space, then encounters
its pair, which returns satisfied customers
back up to the new shop. Glowing a warm
black, and cleverly lit from above to
provide a sense of space, these staircases
are undeniably glamorous and, in many
ways, are the centrepiece of the entire
scheme. Whether the new circulation will
prove sufficient for Pink Floyd fans picking
up audio guides remains to be seen but,
again, AL_A has done an impressive job in
inserting effective, attractive infrastructure
without major upheaval.
Inevitably, however, the project will
be judged in large part on the Sackler
Courtyard. Here, it is hard to be so
complacent. A difficult shift in level from
the street down to the new entrance is
elegantly achieved with a simple staircase,
and the relative lack of major construction
above ground ensures that the restored
heritage facades are displayed to good
effect. Two protrusions were, however,
necessary. One houses a cafe and shop, the
other, less prominent, shields the oculus
bringing light to the gallery below. Their
aesthetic is reminiscent of mid-period
Hadid, with less formal refinement,
although with a somewhat better finish.
The jutting cafe, with its unbroken
wall of glass and shimmering roof of
glazed tiles, is striking but overbearing:
it is hard to escape the feeling that an
outsized Serpentine pavilion from years
past has taken up temporary home. And
the interior is cramped, a reminder of the
unenviable challenges of accommodating
the project?s over-full programme. Perhaps
it might have succeeded as a freestanding
object; here it confronts rather than
complements the rich textures of its
all-too-immediate surroundings ? this is
not some subtle juxtaposition of old and
new. The problem is most evident as the
angular structure twists 90 degrees at the
rear, sacrificing elegance as it struggles
to squeeze a sizeable shop, and an extra
storey with service entrance, into a narrow
gap between existing wings of the museum.
The feeling that a quest for
contemporaneity has left the V&A with
an instantaneous relic is, unfortunately,
exacerbated by the much-heralded
porcelain tiles ? all 11,000 of them ?
that cover the courtyard. Intended
to be燾ontextual, these shining
95
14/07/2017 15:51
ARCHITECTURE / PUBLIC
right A cafe and shop
occupies one side of
the courtyard
?It is hard to escape the feeling that an outsized Serpentine
pavilion from years past has taken up temporary home?
parellelograms, patterned with thin,
glossy lines, appear rather to have been
extracted from sketches for a 1990s film
set conjuring up some future utopia.
Inevitably, the quality of the finish
cannot match the immaculate surfaces
of the renders, and the tiles are already
gathering some real-world dirt. The noble
architectural tradition of embracing
London?s grime clearly has its benefits: one
fears for the institution?s cleaning staff.
The V&A has been frayed for four
decades or more, an idiosyncratic,
shambling beast that an unconvincing
succession of directors has found all but
unmanageable. A gallery revamp has
been underway since 1996, but its real
glories remain the collections and the
old-fashioned expertise of its exhibition
programme, the latter edging to glitz as
government grants diminish. There is,
we?re assured, a new positivity emerging,
96
02-ARCH-V&A-Sept17 NJ2.indd 96
aided by the successful completion of the
most substantial upgrade since Aston Webb.
After 20 years of struggle, all the boxes have
finally been ticked. The V&A now possesses
(in spades) the exhibition infrastructure it
needs, as well as a vital new entrance and
a money-spinning cafe situated in a major
new public space, all with minimal damage
to existing fabric. Sadly, when standing in
the middle of the Sackler Courtyard, it still
feels like a mistake has been made.
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 15:51
98
02-ARCH-NewLondonVernacular-Sept17_NJ.indd 98
14/07/2017 18:11
ARCHITECTURE / FEATURE
A machine
for speculating
The New London Vernacular has brought a much-praised sobriety to
the capital?s housing. But its restrained style expresses nothing so
strongly as the quest for profit
By Will Wiles
Photography by Phil Sharp
?we?re very clear about what business we?re in,? a property
industry executive told me in 2015. ?We?re in a business of selling
? and if we can manage to do that, then we can run a business
of building, we can buy land [and so on]. At the end of the day
everything?s all about selling.? He was justifying his company?s
extensive marketing activities, making them ? and the handshake
deals they initiated ? the core of the company?s whole approach,
rather than an afterthought. It was foolish to consider marketing
as something that only mattered once a building was nearing
completion: it had to be considered from the start. Everything
else, especially architecture, followed.
Take the ?New London Vernacular? (NLV). In the past eight
years, this has become the dominant housing idiom in the capital,
and is now spreading across the rest of the country. And it is not
what you would expect marketing-led housing to look like. Sober,
brick-clad and rigidly orthogonal, it?s a dramatic contrast to the
swooping roofs and anodised zing of the preceding era. And it
has been met with widespread critical endorsement, even from
unlikely quarters. Owen Hatherley, never quick to praise the
fruits of the housebuilding industry, has called it ?flatly superior?
to the slack flashiness and bathroom-y cladding of the Blair
years. The NLV?s most skilled practitioners, such as Peter Barber
and Sergison Bates, have shown that its inherent restraint is no
obstacle to creativity, experimentation and charm.
But marketing is baked into the NLV. The style has its origins
in the housing design guide published by then-mayor of London,
Boris Johnson. It was given its name in A New London Housing
Vernacular, a pamphlet published to coincide with the 2012
Housing Design Awards, once the design guide had begun to filter
through into completed projects. This detailed the characteristics
of the NLV: geometric brick facades, as many homes as possible
given their own front doors onto the street, recessed windows
and expressed parapets. The stated precedent for the style was the
Victorian London terrace, and this was central to its appeal. By
adopting this familiar idiom, housing would be more attractive to
buyers. The pamphlet lists the advantages of the NLV: at the head
of the list is ?reducing sales risk?.
September 2017
02-ARCH-NewLondonVernacular-Sept17_NJ.indd 99
However, dig into the marketing literature for new London
housing and it?s clear that other forces are at work. The
increasingly lavish marketing materials of London?s developers
are a popular focus of online scorn, which is understandable
but denies us the benefit of examining them in good faith. A
property brochure, for all its cliches and conformist aspiration,
is a document entrusted with the successful completion of
immense capital projects. Its language has an effect on the
city and its architecture ? it matters. Consider it speculative
literature. You are invited, for a moment, to imagine a new life
for yourself, one immeasurably improved by a product or service
? or, perhaps, a bleaker, more difficult existence, in which you
shunned the charms of this product or service, and must suffer
the consequences. This is particularly the case for the advertising
of new homes, as our living environment shapes our life in
innumerable ways. Having space to entertain, having a balcony,
being close to our workplace: these can make vast contributions
to our wellbeing. This is precisely what property advertising plays
up, and always has done. It is also precisely what annoys people
about it, for it is a reminder of the ways in which life is worsened
by the city?s hugely inadequate housing stock.
Naturally enough, there?s a great deal of aspirational lifestylemongering in property brochures. Jo Malone candles on the
coffee table and a woman in a ballgown on the balcony. You will
be fitter, happier, more productive; in the future you will cook
more, and/or better, and have friends round, and have a better
commute. The book spines are the names of architects and
fashion brands that will drop from your more cultured lips. The
table is set for six and there?s a sleek gadget casually laid on the
coffee table next to the vintage camera. Perhaps you have been
using one to take pictures of the other. All this is to be expected,
and as you?d expect it gets thicker and more taupe towards
the top end of the market. But today developers want to draw
attention to some more subtle lifestyle associations.
It has become common, for instance, to stress the quirkiness
of neighbourhoods, their concentration and variety of indie
businesses. A brochure for Discovery Tower in Canning Town,
99
14/07/2017 18:11
ARCHITECTURE / FEATURE
?Who could have imagined that simply choosing a place to live
could mark you out as innovative, creative and progressive?
east London, contains a profile of a jellied eel shop handed down
through three generations. Powerhouse, a magazine published to
promote the Battersea Power Station redevelopment, does similar,
carrying interviews with flower sellers and bike-shop owners.
Authenticity is stressed, and would-be property buyers praised
as discerning trend-setters. London N1, in the words of one,
?continues to attract some of the world?s most innovative, creative
and progressive occupiers?. Who could have imagined that simply
choosing a place to live could mark you out as innovative, creative
and progressive ? assuming you get to choose. Your exploits could
even be seen as pioneering or heroic, as in a series of posters for
the Greenwich Peninsula development, which had hipsterish
models striking poses, raising flags and riding settler wagons,
under the slogans ?claim your plot? or ?join the land rush?.
In this pursuit of authenticity and quirk, artists and creatives
become selling points. ?With the biggest concentration of artists
in Europe,? says the brochure for Ballymore?s immense City Island
development on the River Lea, ?East London?s streets are an everchanging kaleidoscope of colour.? This is illustrated with a doublepage photograph of a riotous wall of street art in Shoreditch.
Street art and graffiti have been thoroughly rehabilitated as a
visual shorthand for vibrancy and edginess. Bow Garden Square,
a Telford development that is replacing part of the Burdett
Estate in east London, has glossy black hoardings decorated
with a collage of images, including splashes of graffiti. There is
also a little picture of young people lounging at Boxpark, the
shipping-container ?pop-up mall? beside Shoreditch station ? itself
occupying a site destined to become a vast complex of apartment
towers. Boxpark appears in the City Island brochure too, and that
for Discovery Tower, and elsewhere. It, and Shoreditch in general,
clearly mean something. They mean regeneration.
This isn?t an inference on my part. The word regeneration
is inescapable in brochures and on hoardings, and where
developments are on reclaimed industrial land, the association
is often heavily laboured. ?In the heart of London?s regenerated
Vauxhall, a new future is rising,? says the brochure for the
Keybridge tower. ?The Docklands sets the standard for London?s
most powerful regenerations,? says another. A tower on Bow
Roundabout, now completed, was for a long time surrounded by
hoardings reading ?Regeneration: Exclusive Living Coming Soon?,
which makes it clear that we have drifted from the original 1990s
meaning of urban revival and mixed communities.
100
02-ARCH-NewLondonVernacular-Sept17_NJ.indd 100
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 18:11
101
02-ARCH-NewLondonVernacular-Sept17_NJ.indd 101
14/07/2017 18:12
102
02-ARCH-NewLondonVernacular-Sept17_NJ.indd 102
14/07/2017 18:12
ARCHITECTURE / FEATURE
?Industrial heritage is polished up and
fetishised as a totem of profit-friendly neglect?
Punters are not being invited to selflessly participate in the
revitalisation of depressed areas. In this context, regeneration
and its associated imagery means profit; any secondary meaning
has dwindled to invisibility. It means that your flat will increase
in value. It is an invitation to speculate in the property market?s
ability to find undervalued pockets of the city and squeeze
value from them. This is often put in surprisingly blunt terms.
Recommending a development called Lillie Square East in Earl?s
Court to readers of the Financial Times in 2014, Mark Wilkinson,
a partner at the estate agent Knight Frank, said: ?Now is a great
time to buy, as the regeneration has only just started. We expect
that capital growth will outperform the wider London market.?
This is where architecture comes back into the frame. If
shards of industrial heritage can be found on a site, they are
polished up and fetishised as emblems of regeneration ? totems
of profit-friendly neglect. The largest example of this is, of course,
Battersea Power Station, where an immense ruin has been turned
into a brand. A ?Placebook? several hundred pages long sets
out the developer?s design and market aspirations. ?Industrial
Magic,? it says. ?Battersea Power Station is London?s quintessential
industrial landmark, built to last on a heroic scale. Its rawness
September 2017
02-ARCH-NewLondonVernacular-Sept17_NJ.indd 103
and atmosphere are its authenticity and must drive aesthetic
decisions throughout the design process ? from the word go.?
Even where industrial relics are not available for reclamation,
an ?industrial? feel is often evoked. Shoreditch?s City Island and
Embassy Gardens, a very large development near Battersea, both
adopt the lofty ?warehouse aesthetic? of New York?s Meatpacking
District, meaning high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Others go a step further. Chiswick Gate?s ?modern twist on
warehouse inspired architecture? is all-out pastiche, a newbuild pretending to be an industrial conversion. Keybridge, a
Fabrica/Mount Anvil development in Vauxhall that includes the
UK?s tallest brick tower, expresses its ?signature industrial feel
with heritage references? inside and out. Its interiors draw on
?the utilitarian feel of warehouse living?, which is ?edgy? and
?quintessentially urban?. Its central mid-rise block has a sawtooth
roof resembling an industrial building; Manhattan is again
invoked in its literature. The Meatpacking District is an extremely
widespread reference in property marketing, bizarrely so given
its distance from London ? like Shoreditch, it is simply a synonym
for a neighbourhood that was once dilapidated but is now hugely
in demand. Concentrations of artists and indie businesses; street
103
14/07/2017 18:12
ARCHITECTURE / FEATURE
?The NLV pleases the eye trained to
associate dereliction with delight?
art. All these associations are pointed in one direction: profit.
The NLV undoubtedly draws on the Victorian and Georgian
terraces of the city. And in doing so it draws on the astonishing
investment value of those terraces, which have made fortunes
for their owners in the past quarter-century. They are financially
solid as well as structurally dependable. But there is another
precedent lurking within the NLV: it clearly owes just as much to
industrial architecture. It bears the unmistakeable style of 19thcentury warehouses and factories, stripped of soot and pleasantly
landscaped. It is not so much pseudomodern as protomodern:
expressing the plain, utilitarian, well-proportioned working
buildings that inspired the original modernists.
In this it shares something with the first Georgian terrace built
in London: the Adam brothers? Adelphi estate on the banks of the
Thames, completed in 1772, a milestone in the history of property
speculation. Individual houses were expressed as a single classical
palace, reassuring and flattering prospective tenants, and
easing the transition to a new mode of habitation. The promise
was that its riverside site would become a source of profit and
social improvement (although the reverse was initially true,
and the Adams were almost ruined). Today, London residential
development has, less consciously, again taken on the garb of
social advancement: it apes the reused industrial and warehouse
buildings that made fortunes for buyers in the ?loft living? boom
of the 1980 and 90s. The NLV is rooted in a promise of profit.
It爉ay lack the swank of the Blair years, but it is in many respects
a purer expression of London housing as investment asset.
Lacking a ready supply of disused buildings from which to turn
a profit, the city has taken to building them afresh. And perhaps
more. Among the characteristics of the NLV is a tendency towards
elevated parapets with large square cut-outs, forming open
grids at the summit of blocks. This can be seen at City Island, at
Keybridge and many places beside ? expressed frames, through
which the sky shows. This is not quite the language of industry:
it is the language of the industrial ruin, which has become the
language of social and material advancement, the way you can
rise a station in life if you buy the right place. Consciously or not,
the NLV spells out what has happened to housing in London and
elsewhere over the past 30 years: it pleases the roving eye trained
to associate dereliction with delight. Speculation, and the private
fortunes made in the name of regeneration, have been written
into the very brick of the city.
104
02-ARCH-NewLondonVernacular-Sept17_NJ.indd 104
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 18:12
105
02-ARCH-NewLondonVernacular-Sept17_NJ.indd 105
14/07/2017 18:13
IMAGE: RICHARD BRYANT / ARCAID IMAGES / ALAMY
106
02-ARCH-Icon-PoMoPumpingStation-Sept17_JJ_NJ.indd 106
14/07/2017 17:43
ARCHITECTURE / ICON
Isle of Dogs
Pumping Station
John Outram?s newly listed ?Temple
of Storms? is a defiantly singular fusion of
the ancient and the hyper-new
By Adam Nathaniel Furman
IMAGE: RICHARD BRYANT / ARCAID IMAGES / ALAMY
Architecture is more than plumbing, just as
eating is more than an excuse to make turds.
? John Outram
if you look to your left as you come
around the Thames on a clipper along
the curve of the Isle of Dogs from central
London, the fat skyscrapers of Canary
Wharf congeal into an impressively
featureless mound in the near distance. In
the foreground, teeming encrustations of
apartment buildings ? an array of mostly
1980s variations on brick vernacular ?
elbow each other out of the way to get
glimpses of the river.
Joyously popping out from the middle
of this mountainous architectural compost
heap, staring at you as you pass with the
gaping intensity of a cyclopean eye, is what
looks like the front of a jet engine that has
been lodged in the centre of an industrial
shed?s roof, both of which have been
dropped on a pair of partially submerged,
super-giant brick columns. The latter are
topped by capitals so brightly coloured
and fanciful that, if extracted, they could
quite happily make two very successful,
gloriously exuberant carnival floats.
This is how most Londoners have
their first glimpse of John Outram?s
defiantly singular Isle of Dogs Pumping
Station from 1986?88. At a time when
most of architecture was polarised in
the popular imagination between the
neo-traditionalists, who wanted to recast
Britain in the image of an idealised,
suspiciously monarchical-looking past,
and the high-tech architects who saw
themselves as inheritors of another
September 2017
02-ARCH-Icon-PoMoPumpingStation-Sept17_JJ_NJ.indd 107
equally idealised past, but this time of
great machinery and pure engineering
bravura, Outram?s staunchly complex little
manifesto of a building seemed to speak of
a much richer relationship both to the past
and to the present.
Unlike the neo-traditionalists, Outram
vocally and vigorously utilised the latest
technology, engineering and mechanical
services, intimately incorporating them in
his design language. Unlike the high techs,
he used it as a generative device around
which he developed a rich, evocative
language of ornament and architectural
forms, rather than leaving it to speak only
of the functional purposes it served.
Unlike the neo-traditionalist
enslavement to stories already told a
thousand times over, and high tech?s
refusal to say anything at all, Outram
was a master of creating new narratives,
stories and myths with his architecture
by designing buildings as eloquent overall
compositions, and by using material
techniques invented with the express
purpose of making his designs ultraexpressive, or as he put it, to allow them
to燽e always ?saying without speaking?.
His ?Robot Order? (described by one
arch-modernist as ?sheer terrorism?) was
a super-large column type wide enough
to contain all the modern electronics
and services required by buildings of the
time in the most economical and efficient
manner. Neither clinging to the past nor
purely technological, Outram imagined a
fusion of the ancient and the hyper-new,
for example asking, ?what if these big
stone columns were now reamed out by
some gigantic boring machine and filled
with all the electro-mechanical viscera
essential to a contemporary building??
Outram?s ?blitzcrete?, a rich, almost
luxuriously polychromatic concrete
filled with large fragments of multicoloured brick, was adopted from makedo techniques using bombing debris
developed during the Second World War,
while ?doodlecrete?, a form of ?iconic
writing?, was a manner of casting concrete
with bold, graphical pattern inlays. The
wonderfully named ?video masonry? was
a technique he developed of transferring
inkjet colour prints onto precast plaster
panels, often shaped like masonry,
producing wildly embellished surfaces
that attained the kind of ?iconic density?
he aimed for in his projects.
The Pumping Station doesn?t deploy all
of these methods, but it is an exceptional
paragon of architectural communication
and evocation, a building which
speaks of far, far more than its prosaic
infrastructural function. It is clearly a
temple, but it is no piece of reactionary
classical revival: it is a temple of the now,
still after 30 years a fiercely contemporary
masterpiece that manages to be
simultaneously ancient and futuristic,
camp and weighty, sophisticated and
accessible, and overall a visual delight of
the kind very few architects ever manage
(or, strangely, want) to achieve, but which
Outram managed to attain again and
again in his career. Which is why, as the
Sunday Times put it in 1991, ?When people
see an Outram Building, their immediate
response is to wave and cheer.?
107
14/07/2017 15:17
REVIEW
exhibition
???
Frank Lloyd Wright
at 150: Unpacking
the Archive
MoMA?s blockbuster birthday retrospective prompts
Fran鏾is-Luc Giraldeau (with encouragement from
Wesley Goodrich) to write a concerned letter ?
above The exhibition
is split into 12 sections,
themed around a key
object or objects from
the Wright archives
September 2017
03-REVIEW-FrankLloydWright-Sept17_NJ.indd 109
dear mr barry bergdoll,
Just a week ago I stepped out
of my door and onto the High
Street C train with my socks
pulled up high and my shirt
tucked to perfection, in a state
of high anticipation about
your Frank Lloyd Wright at
150: Unpacking the Archive
exhibition, which I was to
have the honour of reviewing.
On the train, memories of my
past as an inexperienced yet
overly confident architecture
whippersnapper, ready to dive
into a professional relationship
with MoMA, washed over me.
You should know that the
museum has long been the
focal point of my professional
trajectory ? Do you check your
emails? Have you received my
r閟um� The opportunity to
indulge in your momentous
milestone in unleashing
cherished items from the
Frank Lloyd Wright vault is
the closest I have yet come to
your touch.
My hands were left sweaty
and my breath short as I
fantasised about producing
a modest piece that would
somehow measure up to all
that MoMA embodies. This
state of unease had, however,
very little to do with engaging
with the work of ?one of the
most prolific and renowned
architects of the 21st century?,
as you have lauded him. As a
matter of fact, although I have
now dedicated many years
to studying architecture and
immersed within the inherent
dialogues of the discipline,
I爃ave never managed to
fall for the charm of Frank
Lloyd Wright. As a viewer of
this exhibition, I put on the
glasses of the open-minded
general audience. It was on
you to colour them rose and
enlighten爉e.
Giving you my full trust, I
held on to each word presented
in the opening statement. I
found myself captivated by
109
14/07/2017 14:51
REVIEW
?It seemed as
though you were
mesmerised by
the splendour
of an American
hero?
above The exhibition
contains about 450
works from the 1890s
to the 1950s
you my unconditional faith
and attention, I found myself
once again confused by the
overwhelming amount of
work, but also dispirited by the
staggering lack of the promised
critical engagement. With
such a grand platform, this
seemed like an opportunity
to at least call into question
Wright?s relationship with
environmental concerns,
industry, race, class and
social democracy. As you
presented pieces that hinted
at each of these topics, it
became apparent that a
critical dialogue about his
practices was imperative. As
a viewer, I am curious as to
what excuses the wide range
of ?experimentations? by this
entitled, oblivious erector from
this爑ndertaking.
Look, I could be to blame.
Maybe I?m being overly
sensitive or maybe I put on the
wrong glasses to begin with.
However, those who choose
to consume and consequently
reflect on museum shows are
now in a state of constant
scepticism, causing them
110
03-REVIEW-FrankLloydWright-Sept17_NJ.indd 110
to crave an increasingly
intellectually inquisitive yet
accessible experience. Still,
given the reverence in which
MoMA is now held, and the
prodigious visitor numbers,
it is to be hoped that displays
will uphold the merited
integrity and reputation of
the institution.
My delusional professional
relationship with the museum
is now underway and, although
it appears a bit rocky to date,
my confidence in your ability to
produce shows of great quality,
that exercise an expertise in
their subject matter, remains
unshaken. I still maintain
an unwavering affection for
MoMA that leaves me unable
to feel disappointed. I am
blinded by my reverence just
as you seem to be by Frank
Lloyd Wright.
Yours truly ?
IMAGE: � 2017 MOMA, NY
the promised breadth that
the exhibition would address.
Such claims as ?Each scholarly
inquiry offers insights at once
historical and contemporary
in resonance, touching on
issues including landscape and
environmental concerns, the
relationship of industry to daily
life, questions of race, class,
and social democracy, and
the expanding power of mass
media in forming reputations
and opinions?, seemed initially
tantalising, offering hope of
stimulating depth.
Not only did you affirm that
you would tackle a wealth
of topics and issues, but you
undertook to critically inquire
about the architect?s work
in these contexts. I wanted
to believe ? However, it
seemed unlikely that so many
matters could be responsibly
contextualised, synthesised
and interpreted for a general
audience. Upon entering the
first gallery space, my concern
proved to be warranted.
With so much material at
hand, the first room read as
a monotone thesis statement,
which rambled instead of
highlighting the intentions of
the show. The selected exhibits
in the central space lacked the
ability to convey overarching
themes that could both help
the viewer understand who
the architect really was and
prepare for the lengthy ? dare I
say tedious ? journey on which
they were about to embark.
While I sympathised with
the curatorial task at hand,
as Wright has contributed
to the field of architecture a
particularly fruitful amount
of爓ork to ?unpack?, it
seemed as though you were
mesmerised by the splendour
of an American hero and
failed爐o objectively choose
work that was of irrefutable
importance. Although you
attempted to combat the
overflow of material by
dividing the space into rooms
that reflected on specific
aspects of his portfolio, these
felt at times unnecessarily
dense and爐angential.
After rolling up my sleeves
and untucking my shirt, giving
Frank Lloyd Wright at 150:
Unpacking the Archive
The Museum of Modern Art,
New York
Until 1 October 2017
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 14:52
REVIEW
exhibition
???
Together! The New
Architecture of the Collective
Vitra Design Museum presents a timely manifesto for a communal
urban model ? but John Jervis wonders whether he, or indeed the
curators, would ever really want to live like this
together! the new
Architecture of the Collective
at Vitra Design Museum
explores new modes of
communal living, and wears
the collective heart of its four
curators firmly on its sleeve
? perhaps a little too firmly.
Stepping into the exhibition,
the visitor is surrounded by
full-height photographs of
1980s street protests in Zurich,
Hamburg and Berlin ? activists
build barricades out of television
sets, flee riot police, stand naked
in the street, challenging a
failed social contract.
Placards about 43 seminal
projects weave through the
initial space, leading one from
Robert Owen?s New Harmony,
Indiana (1825?27), via garden
cities, kibbutzim and hippie
communes, right through to
McCamant & Durrett?s Muir
Commons in California (1991).
Documentaries loop, exploring
postwar examples such as
the squatter communities of
Torre David in Caracas and
Christiania in Copenhagen,
as well as London?s Barbican
(surely the Death Star to the
rebel spaceship of co-housing?).
A compilation of early videos
recording the youth protests
that swept Switzerland after
the Zurich ?Opera House Riot?
of 1980 is captivating.
The combination is rich ?
moving even ? but the meat of
the show is next door, where a
fictitious city neighbourhood has
been conceived and constructed
by architects EM2N. Each of its
21 structures is a 1:24 model of
September 2017
03-REVIEW-Together-Sept17 NJ.indd 113
left The opening room
contains placards on
43 historical examples
?The likelihood is that
co-housing schemes would
split along social, religious
and generational lines?
an existing collective scheme,
ranging in scale from a 260sq m
Yokohama apartment right up
to the 33,000sq m of ZwickyS黡 in Zurich. Interiors are
exposed to reveal organisation,
and floors painted in varying
shades to indicate degrees of
public access. This is a Nolli
plan for the 21st century, in
which accessible space flows
directly from the street into
surrounding buildings.
The exhibit is an impressive
manifesto for an urban model
in which collective projects
are not isolated ghettos but,
aided by proactive planning
strategies, can exist in clusters,
fundamentally shifting
conceptions of and approaches
to urban life, and to society.
Housing scarcity is mitigated,
while notions of ownership
expand into streetscapes, and
into surrounding buildings,
sharing their social spaces,
sporting facilities, nurseries
or even doctors? surgeries. The
need for careful delineation
of private and public space at
planning is evident, but, as the
model testifies, the component
parts of a new urban typology
are already taking shape.
Leaving this exquisite vision,
with its miniature residents
cycling or walking their dogs,
leading lives of fulfilment in a
pristine pastel universe, a cloud
of optimism accompanies one
113
14/07/2017 14:56
REVIEW
to the next room, where a 1:1
prototype of a cluster apartment
? a rectangle extracted from
a larger floorplan ? has been
constructed. Around the
80sq m shared kitchen and
living area are a variety of
small, private spaces, varying
from 28sq m for downsizing
pensioners or students, to
44sq m for childless couples
or single parents. It is here
that the enchantment starts
to fade. Would I really want
to live in such a scheme?
Would the curators? Has the
constrained upbringing of my
fellow Generation Xers excised
our innate generosity, our
willingness to pool what we
selfishly consider private space?
Is a new ?Y? generation, raised
on Airbnb and Kickstarter,
throwing off capitalist
individualism and antiquated
nuclear families for richer
conceptions of private, social,
family and professional space,
sharing food, knowledge, skills,
parenting, lives? Or is this just
a sacrifice made to live in city
centres? Would they really
want their lives inhibited by
the retired, the pre-teen or the
plain inimical, with secondary
sleeping spaces as their sole
escape? What will they hanker
after in five years? time?
The likelihood is that cohousing schemes would split
along social, religious, political
and generational lines. And
financial ones. The idea that we
are all empowered to create our
own collective projects from
the bottom up seems, with the
best will in the world, unlikely.
Huge resources of time, money,
contacts and expertise ?
architectural, financial, legal,
administrative ? are needed
to buy land, pursue subsidies,
gain planning permission,
locate investors and projectmanage construction. Many of
the early squatters came from
elites; many of the ?collective
livers? will too: like-minded
friends who create spaces to
inhabit for a few years before
circumstances change, people
September 2017
03-REVIEW-Together-Sept17 NJ.indd 115
?The idea that
we are all
empowered
to create our
own collective
projects from
the bottom up
seems, with the
best will in the
world, unlikely?
above A fictitious city
neighbourhood has
been constructed by
architects EM2N
left Each of its 21
structures is a 1:24
model of an existing
collective project
115
14/07/2017 14:56
REVIEW
?Such projects
risk becoming
hipster
communes
that impose
gentrification
as much as they
resist it?
left Courtyard of the
Sargfabrik (Coffin
Factory) in Vienna by
BKK-2, 1992?99
below The exhibition?s
1:1 prototype of a
cluster apartment
collective housing can help
resolve such urban challenges
as smaller households, social
isolation and land values, as
well as altering our conception
of space in the city. Like
many utopian ideas, real
life may reveal the flaws in
this position, and perhaps
its authoritarian streak. Yet
the situation is critical, and
confronts London as much as
Tokyo, Berlin and Zurich, if not
more so. If there is a chance
that it can contribute to a
solution, co-housing deserves to
be explored seriously, even if its
most important role may be as
a prism to reconsider the wider
urban fabric, rehabilitating it
as a public good. The absence of
contemporary British examples
in this exhibition confirms
our disheartening lack of
proactivity concerning such
issues. One can only hope it
travels here, and that it catches
the right eyes.
Together! The New Architecture
of the Collective
Vitra Design Museum,
Weil am Rhein
3 June ? 19 September 2017
116
03-REVIEW-Together-Sept17 NJ.indd 116
IMAGES: MARK NIEDERMANN; � HERTHA HURNAUS
move on, and survivors seek
replacements who adhere to
their vision. Such projects risk
becoming hipster communes
that impose gentrification as
much as they resist it. Topdown efforts might even be
preferable, catering to specific
groups excluded from cities,
from socially minded youths to
downsizing baby boomers. The
ideal ? a collaborative process
guided by city authorities
? is one that most local
governments have, at present,
neither the political, financial
and legal powers, nor the
sophistication, to achieve.
The exhibition?s final room
digs further into the planning
and operation of five examples,
each with a different financial
model. The information is
extensive but hard-going, with
small plans, sections, renders,
charts, photographs and a short
film spread on each of the five
tables. It feels as if the curators,
after a brave resistance, have
finally succumbed to the
dead hand of the traditional
architecture display.
This is an important show,
with an evangelical belief that
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 14:57
REVIEW
rethink
???
Heading home
Members of the Lyon-based studio Intercouleur have found the perfect
place for their favourite after-work drink. But what if the intoxicating
atmosphere went home with them when they called it a night?
down at the Look Bar in the
old part of town, a few night
birds in residence, sitting on an
art-nouveau balcony, decorated
with abstract patterns. We?ve
just ordered a nuage noir at the
bar, the house cocktail.
This drink feels special
here: its taste, look and name
suit the place. It?s almost as if
the bar was designed for this
particular cocktail ? the 1970s
patterns on the ceiling and
the dusty furniture seem to
emanate from the glass, just
like vapour from a cloud. The
place is the perfect scene for
the drink.
This might be the reason
that we like this bar so much
? what we drink, what we
see and what we hear is so
coherent that it creates an
immersive experience. All of
September 2017
03-REVIEW-Rethink-Sept17.indd 119
119
14/07/2017 17:27
REVIEW
these elements combine to
create a rich environment,
in which the cocktail is the
central燾omponent.
As designers, we pay a lot
of attention to coherence and
harmony. We feel that graphic
design should do what the Look
Bar does for the nuage noir ?
it爏hould wrap up and support
a project in a consistent way,
supplying a place where reality
can be sipped.
But reality can also be seen
as a stage for graphic design to
grow. When we finally exit our
chosen haunt late at night, our
spirits are clouded. Patterns
from the bar seem to rub
off on the city ? its aesthetic
impact softly overflows onto
the streets, turning the most
serious things into playful and
expressive elements. Bare signs
look like unknown alphabets.
And the experience drives
us to rethink the abruptness
of the existing systems that
surround爑s.
So we offer this thought
about the basic elements that
we encounter in our everyday
lives. Having more psychedelic
and organic shapes in our
visual environment sounds
like a pleasing idea. It might
even be a graphic designer?s
fantasy.
intercouleur.fr
120
03-REVIEW-Rethink-Sept17.indd 120
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 17:28
GREAT WAYS TO GET ONOFFICE
Digital
One issue
for only �99
To subscribe visit:
pocketmags.com
and search for OnOffice
Print for 12 issues
Direct Debit: �.99
Credit Card: �.99
Save 57%
Plus get FREE
digital access
To subscribe visit: onofficesubscriptions.com/sepad17
or call 01293 312157 quoting code ?sepad17?
TERMS AND CONDITIONS: Offer valid until midnight on September 10th 2017. Our minimum subscription term is 12 issues and cancellations or refunds are not possible until the end of this initial period,
when you have 30 days to notify us. For full terms and conditions, visit onofficemagazine.com/terms-a-conditions.
August-2017-OnOffice-Subs-Single-ICON.indd 80
14/07/2017 09:14
PRODUCTS
Products
September 2017
The following pages feature a selection
of products that are currently available
across the design market, from large-scale
commercial brands to smaller independent
studios and individual designers
Our Product of the Month is the Lavitta range
by Poiat, found on page 125
All of the items featured
on these pages can also
be found in the Products
section on our website,
iconeye.com
September 2017
04-PRODUCTS-Sept17_JJ.indd 123
? Margot Kasojevi?
?Modulyss
? Wilton Carpets
The Electromagnetic Induction
Seismic LED by Margot
Krasojevi? Architects consists of
a 3D-printed net whose recycled
polymer geometry is elastic yet
strong enough to stretch and
reform when subjected to
tremors and shifting changes in
its immediate environment.
This net is designed to give the
illusion of intensifying the
emitted light thanks to its
dome shape, which channels
the light around the surface of
the semi transparent geometry.
When charged, the LED is a
bright 60 candela white light
visible for three metres in a
dark room.
margotkrasojevic.org
Modulyss has launched
Motion�/// Vision, its latest
carpet-tile collections. Driven
by the fluidity and strength of
human movement, these new
collections change the rhythm
of a space, moving fluidly as
colours flow into dynamic
texture and shifting pattern.
The graduated, linear Motion
comes in 12 colours, while the
texture of Vision is available in
13 variants. From punk greens
and acid yellows through petrol
blues and chromatics, Motion ///
Vision tiles can be embraced as
soloists, synchronised as duets
or harnessed as collectives,
bringing the impact of your
rhythm to your spaces.
modulyss.com
Bespoke woven carpet from
Wilton Carpets provides a
luxurious floor to welcome
flight crew and passengers at
London Luton Airport?s new
Signature Flight Support
facility. Inspired by the
building?s modernist
architecture, the wool-rich
woven axminster from Wilton
Carpets creates a series of three
coordinated stripe designs. The
carpet ? which features 80 per
cent British wool and 20 per
cent nylon ? can incorporate a
border of corporate blue to
reflect the colour?s use on
high-gloss ceilings and walls, or
can be juxtaposed with hard
flooring to create zones of
luxurious relaxation.
wiltoncarpets.com
123
14/07/2017 15:58
PRODUCTS
Product
of the
Month
?Poiat
?Duravit
?Quadrant
?Granorte
Lavitta by Poiat is a range of
furniture with insightful
structures, a sophisticated
material palette and beautiful
forms. The collection consists of
chairs, different sizes of tables
and a bench. The pieces from
the Lavitta collection are
suitable for every interior from
private homes to public spaces.
Poiat will be presenting Lavitta
at London Design Fair, 21?24
September 2017, at stand S01.
All are welcome.
poiat.com
The new Vero Air collection
from Duravit retains the iconic,
rectangular character of the
Vero washbasins while
introducing new technical
innovations. Through the
recent additions of rimless
toilets, a new range of bathtubs
and various pieces of furniture,
Vero Air has become a complete
bathroom range, retaining a
strong, design-focused identity.
The straight interior surface
and precise edges of the Vero
Air washbasins reflect the
collection?s linear charm. The
use of patented c-bonded
technology sees the washbasin
and vanity unit combined to
form a minimalist masterpiece.
duravit.co.uk
Ntgrate woven vinyl flooring
from Quadrant is now available
with Whisper, an acoustic
backing that can reduce impact
sound by 22dB, making spaces
quieter as well as more
beautiful. Whisper-equipped
floors, whether tile or sheet, are
still just as practical as original
Ntgrate. Standing up to wear,
scratch resistant and needing
simple maintenance to keep
looking its best, Ntgrate
Whisper is a step-up for woven
vinyl flooring in today?s
collaborative working
environments. Whisper has the
additional benefit of improving
underfoot comfort and is
available across the entire
Ntgrate family.
quadmod.com
Recent independent tests
confirm Granorte cork as one of
the leading flooring choices.
EPH, a world-recognised
certification body, confirmed
the product offers up to 19dB of
sound reduction, demonstrating
its suitability for commercial
environments such as
restaurants and bars. In
addition, thermal insulation,
comfort and shock absorption
were put to the test by the IBV,
or Instituto de Biomecanica, in
Valencia. Granorte cork?s
performance in the three areas
was benchmarked against
leading products in laminate,
LVT and ceramic and,
unsurprisingly, stood up
exceptionally well.
granorte.pt
September 2017
04-PRODUCTS-Sept17_JJ.indd 125
125
14/07/2017 18:21
PRODUCTS
?Karcher
? Knightsbridge Furniture ? Antron Carpet Fibre
?Desso
TEPL96 Kent was originally
commissioned for the luxury
apartment complex One Tower
Bridge in London. It was cast in
one piece and remains one of
Karcher?s most elegant and
sophisticated designs ? despite
being quite heavy in
comparison to other models.
The genuine high-quality
cow-leather coating feels soft
and warm, complementing the
cooler stainless-steel lever.
Combined with the thin
Karcher Plan Design roses, the
lever sets are especially suited
for doors meant to represent
the elegance associated with
the爉etropolitan areas of the
21st燾entury.
karcher-design.co.uk
Knightsbridge Furniture has
added new products to its
stunning Bebop Collaborative
Range by David Fox ? these are
a new modular seating and
table system with coordinating
swivel tub chairs and coffee
tables. The Bebop range of
modular seating, tables and
booths is perfect for the modern
office. The simple curves of
sectional seating exude comfort,
while the booth and study bays
are designed to allow for
meetings, giving both privacy
and comfort.
knightsbridge-furniture.co.uk
Desso has launched its Make It
Your Own collection in response
to the growing trend for
individual spaces. Distinct
themes form the collection,
designed to inspire architects
and designers to tell their
unique story across the floor.
Desso?s Combining Textures
theme presents a new carpet
tile range, Carved, that is
inspired by the chiselled
textures of classic woodwork
designs. The second theme,
Colour Layers and Intensity,
offers Stitch, inspired by the
subtle intricacies of handwoven爐extiles.
desso.co.uk
September 2017
04-PRODUCTS-Sept17_JJ.indd 127
INVISTA?s Antron Lumen carpet
fibre brings organic texture to
Forbo Flooring Systems? Tessera
Seagrass carpet planks,
capturing the essence of
biophilic design in a newly
widened palette encompassing
12 nature-inspired colourways.
Solution-dyed for fade- and
stain-resistance, Antron Lumena
comes in a huge array of colours
that allowed Forbo to create
combinations that included
entirely new shades of pewter,
dandelion, meadow and teal.
The collection gives designers
the scope to create a variety
of爈ayouts, all with a
contemporary爐wist.
antron.eu
127
14/07/2017 18:26
PRODUCTS
?Industville
?Vasco
?Fila
?Graff
Industville specialise in the
design and manufacture of
vintage industrial-style lighting
and furniture. At the Covent
Garden store of the historical
tea blenders Whittard of
Chelsea, two such pendants
have been used. The Brooklyn
Vintage Giant Step Pendant in
brass was specifically chosen to
illuminate the tea-tasting bar.
The warm, golden tones of the
hand-finished brass shades cast
a golden glow on the vast
floor-to-ceiling library of exotic
teas, coffees and hot chocolate
that is a trademark of Whittard
of Chelsea, and makes it a
British institution.
industville.co.uk
ONI is the thinnest designer
radiator ever produced by
Vasco, and is made from 8mm
reinforced-aluminium plate.
Lightweight and featuring an
innovative, soft, rounded
design, ONI can be ordered with
one or two rounded cutouts for
hanging towels. The internal
copper heating tubes, with
minimal water content, interact
rapidly with the aluminium to
provide an energy-saving and
efficient source of heat, making
it also suitable for lowtemperature systems.
vasco.eu
Fila worked alongside Stone &
Ceramic to provide maintenance
solutions for tile designs within
the extensive 190 Strand. The
project includes a dramatic
70sq m stone feature wall within
the development?s private spa
and a 5m-long stone feature
desk. A range of treatments,
including Fila Deterdek, a
concentrated acid detergent,
which has a safe, buffered
formulation; degreasing and
stain removing FILAPS87;
universal, pH-neutral Fila
Cleaner; organic stain remover,
FILASR95, and water-based gel
cleaner, FILANOPAINT STAR ?
were applied, providing high
performance while safeguarding
surface characteristics.
filasolutions.com
Unique vision, international
design, selected materials and
manufacturing tradition are the
key elements of Graff?s new
Finezza faucet and shower
collection of deck-mounted,
wall-mounted and floormounted installations. The
shape of the faucet, designed
in-house by G+ Design studio,
embraces the past and
reinterprets it with modern
details. The polished chrome
and polished nickel models can
be adapted for a transitional
environment, while the olive
bronze and brushed nickel fit
seamlessly into traditional
bathrooms. Finezza is available
also in polished gold and in the
new luxury brushed-gold finish.
graff-faucets.com
128
04-PRODUCTS-Sept17_JJ.indd 128
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 18:22
OBSESSION
Polycarbonate
it?s not fashionable to
proclaim one?s love for plastic
nowadays. Its artificial sheen
? so alluring in the 1950s
and 1960s ? has worn off.
Back then, it wasn?t just the
architectural avant-garde and
metropolitan elite that loved
the stuff. Small-C, middlebrow
conservatives at the Daily
Mail and Disney endorsed it
quite wholeheartedly ? the
former during its 1956 Ideal
Home Exhibition, when the
Smithsons designed a plywood
mock-up of a fully plastic
House of The Future; the
latter with its fully functional
plastic house in the 1957
Tomorrowland theme park.
Since then, we?ve come to
know better: plastic doesn?t
decompose, birds and tortoises
choke on bits of it, all sorts of
toxins leach from it into water,
and it degrades and discolours
under UV light. What were
we爐hinking?!
But damn it all, do I love
polycarbonate sheeting! I?m
not the only one ? apparently
the material is having a bit of
a revival. And why wouldn?t
it? It?s probably the most
versatile material out there:
polycarbonate sheeting can
be as mundane and everyday,
or as sensual and luxurious as
you need it to be. Does your
nan need a temporary fix for
her glasshouse, because the
neighbour?s boys smashed one
of the panes? Polycarbonate.
Do you need a pretentious
partition in your hipster loftstyle flat? Polycarbonate. Are
you an oligarch?s wife looking
to preserve a Soviet-era relic,
all the while creating a space
that would be suitable for
displaying contemporary art?
Polycarbonate!
It can be plain or it can be
translucent; its texture can
130
03-REVIEW-Obsession-Polycarbonate-Sept17_NJ.indd 130
be glossy or matt; it can hide
objects without erasing their
tantalising presence; and when
backlit, the effects are as subtle
or as vulgar as required.
Above all, polycarbonate
sheets are absolument
moderne. Unlike the currently
trendy marble, brass or copper,
it does not hark back to the
imagined creature comforts
of previous eras, and unlike
concrete, it does not pretend
to stand in for stone. Nostalgia
has yet to find a way to co-opt
it. It is but a thin membrane,
onto which we can project our
contemporary desires.
IMAGE: VVOEVALE / ISTOCK / GETTY IMAGES
It?s been a long time since plastic was the future, but nor has
it been ruined by the nostalgia industry. It can still be anything
you want it to be, writes Peter Smisek
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 15:54
w-cost materials,
such as timber slats and chipboard sheets
with liberal application of bright colours.
Combined with well-chosen architectural
motifs ? a large, bright red supergraphic
in the shape of a smile on the building?s
frontage and similarly concave green
space dividers inside ? the architects?
intervention enlivens the spaces and
attracts people to the new co-working
offices. Crucially, a jobseekers? centre that
caters to people from the neighbouring
boroughs was able to remain on the site.
St Theresa?s sixthform centre in Surrey
above Thomas Bryans
began working on the
Dulwich project over
Skype from Australia
September 2017
02-ARCH-Icon-IF_DO-Sept17 NJ.indd 79
?The way we approach these projects
is to make the most out of the smaller
things, it?s about seeing these tiny gaps
and opportunities,? explains Castle. ?That?s
how we can apply bigger ambitions to
smaller budgets.? There is hope that young
practitioners might be able to get more
involved in shaping policy and decisions.
As Scott points out, London mayor Sadiq
Khan has approved a policy proposal that
would give young architects a chance to
work in their local planning department
and have their salary matched. Bryans
says: ?It comes back
to enabling actual
collaboration between
designers and
policymakers to create
a level of strategic
design and awareness
of implications of
design policy.?
Seeing policy as
high-level design is
a position shared
by many, and even
architecture students
? who a few years
ago might have been
pursuing form for
form?s sake ? are
now becoming
increasingly political,
as evidenced by
this summer?s
graduation shows
across the capital.
It is perhaps telling
that IF_DO?s Castle
and Scott both hold
teaching positions at
the newly founded
London School of
Architecture. The
institution opened
to students in 2015
and has just seen
off its first cohort of
graduates. LSA aims
to be cost-neutral,
meaning that the
course is largely
financed through donations and students
working in their tutors? practices. ?The
school is very much embedded in real
political issues, such as the housing crisis
that is currently changing our models of
domesticity,? explains Castle. ?Students
construct design in relation to these
realities, but they also produce plans for
beautiful spaces.? In the end, that?s what it
ultimately comes down to ? architecture
of good intentions is not always good
architecture. Luckily, IF_DO seems to have
mastered both early on.
79
14/07/2017 18:10
ISLAND
02-ARCH-NJJB-Sept17_NJ_2.indd 80
17/07/2017 15:12
KING
NBBJ?s exhibition centre is the flagship project for an urban ?eco? island in Nanjing.
So how does sustainability work in a Chinese mega-city?
By Harry den Hartog
Photography by Terrence Zhang
02-ARCH-NJJB-Sept17_NJ_2.indd 81
17/07/2017 15:12
ARCHITECTURE / PUBLIC
above The centre is
situated by the bridge
linking the island to
the business district
82
02-ARCH-NJJB-Sept17_NJ_2.indd 82
iconeye.com
17/07/2017 15:12
ARCHITECTURE / PUBLIC
O
ver the last two
decades, China has
seen the greatest wave
of urbanisation in the
world?s history. The
collateral damage has
been equally dramatic,
from the destruction of cultural and
ecological landscapes to unprecedented
pollution. However, awareness of these
issues is now widespread ? one answer
being touted is ?eco-friendly architecture?,
which promises to prioritise the needs of
inhabitants as well as those of nature. Such
terms as ?eco-cities? or ?smart cities? are
now common ? Nanjing EcoTech Island is
the latest example, and its flagship is the
Nanjing Eco Island Exhibition Center.
Nanjing, located on the Yangtze River,
was China?s capital during the early years
of the Ming dynasty, from 1368 to 1441.
Over the last 20 years it has expanded at
pace ? its population is now over eight
million ? and the river island on which
the Exhibition Center sits is the last
remaining agricultural land near the
downtown area. In 2010, an international
design competition was held to develop
it as EcoTech Island (or Zhongxin Nanjing
Ecological Science and Technology
Island, to give its full title) ? a model for
sustainable development and a lure for
international eco-technology businesses.
NBBJ, a multidisciplinary design firm
founded in 1943, won the commission
for designing the Nanjing Eco Island
Exhibition Center, working out of its New
York office. The firm?s stated intention
is to design buildings that reduce fossil
fuel consumption, with the ambition of
achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.
As well as providing a meeting place
for investors, the project has an obvious
symbolic value for the entire development.
Positioned by the main bridge connecting
the island to the new central business
district, the exhibition centre is a
landmark: its 24,000sq m volume is raised
on a podium yet sits well in the carefully
manicured landscape. The main entrance
is placed just off the main road to indicate
the pedestrian-friendly principles of the
project, further emphasised by the green
plaza in front of the building. An existing
line of trees has been preserved in the plaza
design, forming a walkway to the metro.
Inside are an exhibition hall, a
conference centre and two construction
management offices, currently supervising
the redevelopment of the island and
also hosting potential investors. The
interior finishes have been designed and
implemented by local firms, with some
diminution in levels of refinement as a
result. At present, only a small part of
September 2017
02-ARCH-NJJB-Sept17_NJ_2.indd 83
83
17/07/2017 15:12
ARCHITECTURE / PUBLIC
the building is in use, but developments
are progressing rapidly on adjacent plots.
As well as its role as a landmark, the
building is intended as a standard bearer
for low-carbon development for Nanjing
and the wider region. The most visible
element of this is the overarching roof
structure, which shades the entire facade,
alleviating the heat of Nanjing ? one
of China?s so-called ?Three Furnaces?,
alongside Wuhan and Chongqing, famed
for their hot, humid summers. Natural
light is brought into the building via eight
dramatic ?light canyons? ? holes in the
roof that reduce the need for artificial
lighting and enhance the atmosphere. It is
claimed that energy use is at least 30 per
cent lower than comparable conventional
buildings. ?A big part of our strategy was
to maximise the cantilevered overhang to
shade the building throughout most of the
September 2017
02-ARCH-NJJB-Sept17_NJ_2.indd 85
day, thus cooling loads are lower,? says Jay
Siebenmorgen, design principal at NBBJ.
The shape of the angular roof also
refers to the horizontal lines in the roofs
of Nanjing?s Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum
and Jiming Temple. Siebenmorgen
explains: ?This idea of horizons can
symbolise a dialogue between past and
future, tradition and technology, natural
and manmade.? Intimate roof gardens
are secreted amid the roof?s contours,
although views over the surrounding
landscape are limited.
Unfortunately, the ambition to include
natural ventilation was dropped during
implementation, so air-conditioning is
hidden inside the double-layered roofs.
The client required office space on at least
two large floor plates, but with a total
maximum building height of 25m, thus
the density of the plot needed to be
?Its 24,000sq m
volume is raised
on a podium
yet sits well in
the carefully
manicured
landscape?
above The building?s
form creates natural
shading, thereby
reducing cooling loads
85
14/07/2017 15:40
ARCHITECTURE / PUBLIC
?The masterplan
has four-lane
and six-lane
roads ? some of
those already
built are even
wider?
above Overhanging
eaves and vivid light
wells add to the centre?s
landmark status
maximised and passive ventilation proved
impossible. The inclusion of light canyons
helps to mitigate the limited sunlight
and fresh air that reach the heart of each
floor. The centre also uses a geothermal
heat pump, as well as rainwater
harvesting, and its permeable ground
surface reduces run-off.
With the help of investors from
Singapore, the island is intended to
become an ?eco hi-tech city?, with a cluster
of research and residential buildings to
act as an incubator for technology and
environmental companies. Pedestrian
spaces are planned, as well as integrated
water retention and distribution, natural
ventilation, responsive facades and
geothermal conditioning for all buildings.
There are downsides: almost 70 per cent
of agricultural land is to be urbanised and
the masterplan is car-oriented with four-
86
02-ARCH-NJJB-Sept17_NJ_2.indd 86
lane and six-lane roads ? some of those
already built are even wider.
Since the exhibition centre is the first
building completed, it is an important
flagship for the island?s eco-credentials.
Unfortunately, other projects in the
pipeline seem to be showing a tendency
to slippage. Renderings are showcased
on large billboards on site ? the projects,
from international firms including
AAUPC, Nikken, Pinhole, Surbana and
Sweco, do not at first sight offer significant
low-carbon or energy-saving elements.
Hopefully, the wind and photovoltaic
power and other environmental measures
promised by the development company
and local government will soon be
installed, so that EcoTech Island can act
as a sustainable urban district as much as
investment opportunity. Certainly NBBJ?s
exhibition centre is a striking first step.
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 15:40
02-ARCH-V&A-Sept17 NJ2.indd 88
17/07/2017 15:14
Instant relic
AL_A succeeds in bringing the V&A into the age of the powerhouse
exhibition, but its showpiece courtyard feels strangely out of time
By John Jervis
Photography by Hufton + Crow
02-ARCH-V&A-Sept17 NJ2.indd 89
17/07/2017 15:15
ARCHITECTURE / PUBLIC
T
right The courtyard
is covered in 11,000
parallelogram-shaped
porcelain tiles
he task facing AL_A at the
V&A was far from easy. The
institution, long hampered
by inflexible spaces and
ancient facilities when
hosting the blockbusters
necessary for budget
sheets, wanted exhibition
infrastructure befitting
its status. It also wanted a
new west-facing entrance
to entice visitors from the bustling ?shared
space? of Exhibition Road, which has proved
so advantageous to Albertopolis rivals.
Major construction above grade was not on
the cards, given the painful saga of Daniel
Libeskind?s Spiral, which was abandoned
in 2004 after eight exhausting years of
fundraising and fights, external and internal.
A new competition using the same
courtyard site ? originally home to the
museum?s boilers and, until recently,
cluttered with staff prefabs ? was
launched in 2010. AL_A?s entry shared
many of its fundamentals with other
shortlisted designs, but given past strife its
comparative reticence was an enticement.
Another major point in its favour was the
permeability AL_A?s scheme achieved.
In 1909, the 1,200sq m courtyard had
been hidden from prying eyes with an
imposing screen by Aston Webb ? the
architect of the final, dominant phase
of the V&A labyrinth. AL_A proposed
removing the balustrade and stonework
under the screen?s colonnade, creating
eight extended columns, thus maximising
access from Exhibition Road. It?s hard not
to regret the loss of this original fabric,
as much for its historic resonance ? the
stone bore scars from a bombing raid
in 1940 ? as for its aesthetic import. An
unsatisfactory palimpsest of these wounds
has been created using perforations in the
aggressively modern aluminium gates that
replace the original masonry. However,
fears voiced by the Victorian Society about
the potentially spindly appearance of the
newly elongated columns have proved
overblown. This aspect of the scheme must
be considered a significant success, and
prospects appear highly favourable for
luring in passers-by, if only for a coffee.
And the exhibition infrastructure?
The entirety of the courtyard has been
excavated to a depth of 20m, making
space for a 1,100sq m underground gallery,
with a further level below for storage
and set-up (with its own pleasing aesthetic
of well-finished concrete). The new
Sainsbury Gallery is an empty box,
90
02-ARCH-V&A-Sept17 NJ2.indd 90
iconeye.com
17/07/2017 15:15
ARCHITECTURE / PUBLIC
September 2017
02-ARCH-V&A-Sept17 NJ2.indd 91
91
17/07/2017 15:15
ARCHITECTURE / PUBLIC
a flexible container ideal for the demands
of temporary exhibitions. Only one column
intrudes, cleverly incorporated into an
entrance screen conveniently positioned
to carry introductory texts. Assisted by
14 massive trusses, this beam bears the
entire weight of the courtyard above ? a
huge engineering achievement, crucial
to the project?s success. The trusses have
also been exploited for aesthetic effect ?
the high ceiling is tightly wrapped round
their triangular forms, creating intriguing
jagged folds that conceal changes in level
above, while seamlessly incorporating
multiple services and the glass of an oculus.
To enter both the main galleries and
this new exhibition space from the
courtyard, an entrance has been created
in the existing facade opposite the screen,
punching through more Aston Webb
brickwork. Three interior walls have then
been removed, creating the Blavatnik Hall,
where visitors can get their bearings and
their tickets. Such curios as ticketing and
information desks are deemed superfluous;
instead, a bank of self-service screens will
perform these tasks. Attractive terrazzo
tiles have been laid, compensating for the
loss of the originals, and a long-desired
link across to the earlier Henry Cole Wing
has now been achieved. A lacqueredtulipwood staircase folds tightly round
four orange-red girders, leading visitors
?Assisted by 14 massive trusses, a single beam bears the
entire weight of the courtyard above?
right A tulipwood
staircase leads visitors
down to the gallery
space
September 2017
02-ARCH-V&A-Sept17 NJ2.indd 93
93
14/07/2017 15:50
ARCHITECTURE / PUBLIC
?Whether the new circulation will prove sufficient for Pink
Floyd fans picking up audio guides remains to be seen?
above An oculus
brings natural light in
through the jagged
roof to the exhibition
space below
September 2017
02-ARCH-V&A-Sept17 NJ2.indd 95
down to the gallery space, then encounters
its pair, which returns satisfied customers
back up to the new shop. Glowing a warm
black, and cleverly lit from above to
provide a sense of space, these staircases
are undeniably glamorous and, in many
ways, are the centrepiece of the entire
scheme. Whether the new circulation will
prove sufficient for Pink Floyd fans picking
up audio guides remains to be seen but,
again, AL_A has done an impressive job in
inserting effective, attractive infrastructure
without major upheaval.
Inevitably, however, the project will
be judged in large part on the Sackler
Courtyard. Here, it is hard to be so
complacent. A difficult shift in level from
the street down to the new entrance is
elegantly achieved with a simple staircase,
and the relative lack of major construction
above ground ensures that the restored
heritage facades are displayed to good
effect. Two protrusions were, however,
necessary. One houses a cafe and shop, the
other, less prominent, shields the oculus
bringing light to the gallery below. Their
aesthetic is reminiscent of mid-period
Hadid, with less formal refinement,
although with a somewhat better finish.
The jutting cafe, with its unbroken
wall of glass and shimmering roof of
glazed tiles, is striking but overbearing:
it is hard to escape the feeling that an
outsized Serpentine pavilion from years
past has taken up temporary home. And
the interior is cramped, a reminder of the
unenviable challenges of accommodating
the project?s over-full programme. Perhaps
it might have succeeded as a freestanding
object; here it confronts rather than
complements the rich textures of its
all-too-immediate surroundings ? this is
not some subtle juxtaposition of old and
new. The problem is most evident as the
angular structure twists 90 degrees at the
rear, sacrificing elegance as it struggles
to squeeze a sizeable shop, and an extra
storey with service entrance, into a narrow
gap between existing wings of the museum.
The feeling that a quest for
contemporaneity has left the V&A with
an instantaneous relic is, unfortunately,
exacerbated by the much-heralded
porcelain tiles ? all 11,000 of them ?
that cover the courtyard. Intended
to be燾ontextual, these shining
95
14/07/2017 15:51
ARCHITECTURE / PUBLIC
right A cafe and shop
occupies one side of
the courtyard
?It is hard to escape the feeling that an outsized Serpentine
pavilion from years past has taken up temporary home?
parellelograms, patterned with thin,
glossy lines, appear rather to have been
extracted from sketches for a 1990s film
set conjuring up some future utopia.
Inevitably, the quality of the finish
cannot match the immaculate surfaces
of the renders, and the tiles are already
gathering some real-world dirt. The noble
architectural tradition of embracing
London?s grime clearly has its benefits: one
fears for the institution?s cleaning staff.
The V&A has been frayed for four
decades or more, an idiosyncratic,
shambling beast that an unconvincing
succession of directors has found all but
unmanageable. A gallery revamp has
been underway since 1996, but its real
glories remain the collections and the
old-fashioned expertise of its exhibition
programme, the latter edging to glitz as
government grants diminish. There is,
we?re assured, a new positivity emerging,
96
02-ARCH-V&A-Sept17 NJ2.indd 96
aided by the successful completion of the
most substantial upgrade since Aston Webb.
After 20 years of struggle, all the boxes have
finally been ticked. The V&A now possesses
(in spades) the exhibition infrastructure it
needs, as well as a vital new entrance and
a money-spinning cafe situated in a major
new public space, all with minimal damage
to existing fabric. Sadly, when standing in
the middle of the Sackler Courtyard, it still
feels like a mistake has been made.
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 15:51
98
02-ARCH-NewLondonVernacular-Sept17_NJ.indd 98
14/07/2017 18:11
ARCHITECTURE / FEATURE
A machine
for speculating
The New London Vernacular has brought a much-praised sobriety to
the capital?s housing. But its restrained style expresses nothing so
strongly as the quest for profit
By Will Wiles
Photography by Phil Sharp
?we?re very clear about what business we?re in,? a property
industry executive told me in 2015. ?We?re in a business of selling
? and if we can manage to do that, then we can run a business
of building, we can buy land [and so on]. At the end of the day
everything?s all about selling.? He was justifying his company?s
extensive marketing activities, making them ? and the handshake
deals they initiated ? the core of the company?s whole approach,
rather than an afterthought. It was foolish to consider marketing
as something that only mattered once a building was nearing
completion: it had to be considered from the start. Everything
else, especially architecture, followed.
Take the ?New London Vernacular? (NLV). In the past eight
years, this has become the dominant housing idiom in the capital,
and is now spreading across the rest of the country. And it is not
what you would expect marketing-led housing to look like. Sober,
brick-clad and rigidly orthogonal, it?s a dramatic contrast to the
swooping roofs and anodised zing of the preceding era. And it
has been met with widespread critical endorsement, even from
unlikely quarters. Owen Hatherley, never quick to praise the
fruits of the housebuilding industry, has called it ?flatly superior?
to the slack flashiness and bathroom-y cladding of the Blair
years. The NLV?s most skilled practitioners, such as Peter Barber
and Sergison Bates, have shown that its inherent restraint is no
obstacle to creativity, experimentation and charm.
But marketing is baked into the NLV. The style has its origins
in the housing design guide published by then-mayor of London,
Boris Johnson. It was given its name in A New London Housing
Vernacular, a pamphlet published to coincide with the 2012
Housing Design Awards, once the design guide had begun to filter
through into completed projects. This detailed the characteristics
of the NLV: geometric brick facades, as many homes as possible
given their own front doors onto the street, recessed windows
and expressed parapets. The stated precedent for the style was the
Victorian London terrace, and this was central to its appeal. By
adopting this familiar idiom, housing would be more attractive to
buyers. The pamphlet lists the advantages of the NLV: at the head
of the list is ?reducing sales risk?.
September 2017
02-ARCH-NewLondonVernacular-Sept17_NJ.indd 99
However, dig into the marketing literature for new London
housing and it?s clear that other forces are at work. The
increasingly lavish marketing materials of London?s developers
are a popular focus of online scorn, which is understandable
but denies us the benefit of examining them in good faith. A
property brochure, for all its cliches and conformist aspiration,
is a document entrusted with the successful completion of
immense capital projects. Its language has an effect on the
city and its architecture ? it matters. Consider it speculative
literature. You are invited, for a moment, to imagine a new life
for yourself, one immeasurably improved by a product or service
? or, perhaps, a bleaker, more difficult existence, in which you
shunned the charms of this product or service, and must suffer
the consequences. This is particularly the case for the advertising
of new homes, as our living environment shapes our life in
innumerable ways. Having space to entertain, having a balcony,
being close to our workplace: these can make vast contributions
to our wellbeing. This is precisely what property advertising plays
up, and always has done. It is also precisely what annoys people
about it, for it is a reminder of the ways in which life is worsened
by the city?s hugely inadequate housing stock.
Naturally enough, there?s a great deal of aspirational lifestylemongering in property brochures. Jo Malone candles on the
coffee table and a woman in a ballgown on the balcony. You will
be fitter, happier, more productive; in the future you will cook
more, and/or better, and have friends round, and have a better
commute. The book spines are the names of architects and
fashion brands that will drop from your more cultured lips. The
table is set for six and there?s a sleek gadget casually laid on the
coffee table next to the vintage camera. Perhaps you have been
using one to take pictures of the other. All this is to be expected,
and as you?d expect it gets thicker and more taupe towards
the top end of the market. But today developers want to draw
attention to some more subtle lifestyle associations.
It has become common, for instance, to stress the quirkiness
of neighbourhoods, their concentration and variety of indie
businesses. A brochure for Discovery Tower in Canning Town,
99
14/07/2017 18:11
ARCHITECTURE / FEATURE
?Who could have imagined that simply choosing a place to live
could mark you out as innovative, creative and progressive?
east London, contains a profile of a jellied eel shop handed down
through three generations. Powerhouse, a magazine published to
promote the Battersea Power Station redevelopment, does similar,
carrying interviews with flower sellers and bike-shop owners.
Authenticity is stressed, and would-be property buyers praised
as discerning trend-setters. London N1, in the words of one,
?continues to attract some of the world?s most innovative, creative
and progressive occupiers?. Who could have imagined that simply
choosing a place to live could mark you out as innovative, creative
and progressive ? assuming you get to choose. Your exploits could
even be seen as pioneering or heroic, as in a series of posters for
the Greenwich Peninsula development, which had hipsterish
models striking poses, raising flags and riding settler wagons,
under the slogans ?claim your plot? or ?join the land rush?.
In this pursuit of authenticity and quirk, artists and creatives
become selling points. ?With the biggest concentration of artists
in Europe,? says the brochure for Ballymore?s immense City Island
development on the River Lea, ?East London?s streets are an everchanging kaleidoscope of colour.? This is illustrated with a doublepage photograph of a riotous wall of street art in Shoreditch.
Street art and graffiti have been thoroughly rehabilitated as a
visual shorthand for vibrancy and edginess. Bow Garden Square,
a Telford development that is replacing part of the Burdett
Estate in east London, has glossy black hoardings decorated
with a collage of images, including splashes of graffiti. There is
also a little picture of young people lounging at Boxpark, the
shipping-container ?pop-up mall? beside Shoreditch station ? itself
occupying a site destined to become a vast complex of apartment
towers. Boxpark appears in the City Island brochure too, and that
for Discovery Tower, and elsewhere. It, and Shoreditch in general,
clearly mean something. They mean regeneration.
This isn?t an inference on my part. The word regeneration
is inescapable in brochures and on hoardings, and where
developments are on reclaimed industrial land, the association
is often heavily laboured. ?In the heart of London?s regenerated
Vauxhall, a new future is rising,? says the brochure for the
Keybridge tower. ?The Docklands sets the standard for London?s
most powerful regenerations,? says another. A tower on Bow
Roundabout, now completed, was for a long time surrounded by
hoardings reading ?Regeneration: Exclusive Living Coming Soon?,
which makes it clear that we have drifted from the original 1990s
meaning of urban revival and mixed communities.
100
02-ARCH-NewLondonVernacular-Sept17_NJ.indd 100
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 18:11
101
02-ARCH-NewLondonVernacular-Sept17_NJ.indd 101
14/07/2017 18:12
102
02-ARCH-NewLondonVernacular-Sept17_NJ.indd 102
14/07/2017 18:12
ARCHITECTURE / FEATURE
?Industrial heritage is polished up and
fetishised as a totem of profit-friendly neglect?
Punters are not being invited to selflessly participate in the
revitalisation of depressed areas. In this context, regeneration
and its associated imagery means profit; any secondary meaning
has dwindled to invisibility. It means that your flat will increase
in value. It is an invitation to speculate in the property market?s
ability to find undervalued pockets of the city and squeeze
value from them. This is often put in surprisingly blunt terms.
Recommending a development called Lillie Square East in Earl?s
Court to readers of the Financial Times in 2014, Mark Wilkinson,
a partner at the estate agent Knight Frank, said: ?Now is a great
time to buy, as the regeneration has only just started. We expect
that capital growth will outperform the wider London market.?
This is where architecture comes back into the frame. If
shards of industrial heritage can be found on a site, they are
polished up and fetishised as emblems of regeneration ? totems
of profit-friendly neglect. The largest example of this is, of course,
Battersea Power Station, where an immense ruin has been turned
into a brand. A ?Placebook? several hundred pages long sets
out the developer?s design and market aspirations. ?Industrial
Magic,? it says. ?Battersea Power Station is London?s quintessential
industrial landmark, built to last on a heroic scale. Its rawness
September 2017
02-ARCH-NewLondonVernacular-Sept17_NJ.indd 103
and atmosphere are its authenticity and must drive aesthetic
decisions throughout the design process ? from the word go.?
Even where industrial relics are not available for reclamation,
an ?industrial? feel is often evoked. Shoreditch?s City Island and
Embassy Gardens, a very large development near Battersea, both
adopt the lofty ?warehouse aesthetic? of New York?s Meatpacking
District, meaning high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Others go a step further. Chiswick Gate?s ?modern twist on
warehouse inspired architecture? is all-out pastiche, a newbuild pretending to be an industrial conversion. Keybridge, a
Fabrica/Mount Anvil development in Vauxhall that includes the
UK?s tallest brick tower, expresses its ?signature industrial feel
with heritage references? inside and out. Its interiors draw on
?the utilitarian feel of warehouse living?, which is ?edgy? and
?quintessentially urban?. Its central mid-rise block has a sawtooth
roof resembling an industrial building; Manhattan is again
invoked in its literature. The Meatpacking District is an extremely
widespread reference in property marketing, bizarrely so given
its distance from London ? like Shoreditch, it is simply a synonym
for a neighbourhood that was once dilapidated but is now hugely
in demand. Concentrations of artists and indie businesses; street
103
14/07/2017 18:12
ARCHITECTURE / FEATURE
?The NLV pleases the eye trained to
associate dereliction with delight?
art. All these associations are pointed in one direction: profit.
The NLV undoubtedly draws on the Victorian and Georgian
terraces of the city. And in doing so it draws on the astonishing
investment value of those terraces, which have made fortunes
for their owners in the past quarter-century. They are financially
solid as well as structurally dependable. But there is another
precedent lurking within the NLV: it clearly owes just as much to
industrial architecture. It bears the unmistakeable style of 19thcentury warehouses and factories, stripped of soot and pleasantly
landscaped. It is not so much pseudomodern as protomodern:
expressing the plain, utilitarian, well-proportioned working
buildings that inspired the original modernists.
In this it shares something with the first Georgian terrace built
in London: the Adam brothers? Adelphi estate on the banks of the
Thames, completed in 1772, a milestone in the history of property
speculation. Individual houses were expressed as a single classical
palace, reassuring and flattering prospective tenants, and
easing the transition to a new mode of habitation. The promise
was that its riverside site would become a source of profit and
social improvement (although the reverse was initially true,
and the Adams were almost ruined). Today, London residential
development has, less consciously, again taken on the garb of
social advancement: it apes the reused industrial and warehouse
buildings that made fortunes for buyers in the ?loft living? boom
of the 1980 and 90s. The NLV is rooted in a promise of profit.
It爉ay lack the swank of the Blair years, but it is in many respects
a purer expression of London housing as investment asset.
Lacking a ready supply of disused buildings from which to turn
a profit, the city has taken to building them afresh. And perhaps
more. Among the characteristics of the NLV is a tendency towards
elevated parapets with large square cut-outs, forming open
grids at the summit of blocks. This can be seen at City Island, at
Keybridge and many places beside ? expressed frames, through
which the sky shows. This is not quite the language of industry:
it is the language of the industrial ruin, which has become the
language of social and material advancement, the way you can
rise a station in life if you buy the right place. Consciously or not,
the NLV spells out what has happened to housing in London and
elsewhere over the past 30 years: it pleases the roving eye trained
to associate dereliction with delight. Speculation, and the private
fortunes made in the name of regeneration, have been written
into the very brick of the city.
104
02-ARCH-NewLondonVernacular-Sept17_NJ.indd 104
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 18:12
105
02-ARCH-NewLondonVernacular-Sept17_NJ.indd 105
14/07/2017 18:13
IMAGE: RICHARD BRYANT / ARCAID IMAGES / ALAMY
106
02-ARCH-Icon-PoMoPumpingStation-Sept17_JJ_NJ.indd 106
14/07/2017 17:43
ARCHITECTURE / ICON
Isle of Dogs
Pumping Station
John Outram?s newly listed ?Temple
of Storms? is a defiantly singular fusion of
the ancient and the hyper-new
By Adam Nathaniel Furman
IMAGE: RICHARD BRYANT / ARCAID IMAGES / ALAMY
Architecture is more than plumbing, just as
eating is more than an excuse to make turds.
? John Outram
if you look to your left as you come
around the Thames on a clipper along
the curve of the Isle of Dogs from central
London, the fat skyscrapers of Canary
Wharf congeal into an impressively
featureless mound in the near distance. In
the foreground, teeming encrustations of
apartment buildings ? an array of mostly
1980s variations on brick vernacular ?
elbow each other out of the way to get
glimpses of the river.
Joyously popping out from the middle
of this mountainous architectural compost
heap, staring at you as you pass with the
gaping intensity of a cyclopean eye, is what
looks like the front of a jet engine that has
been lodged in the centre of an industrial
shed?s roof, both of which have been
dropped on a pair of partially submerged,
super-giant brick columns. The latter are
topped by capitals so brightly coloured
and fanciful that, if extracted, they could
quite happily make two very successful,
gloriously exuberant carnival floats.
This is how most Londoners have
their first glimpse of John Outram?s
defiantly singular Isle of Dogs Pumping
Station from 1986?88. At a time when
most of architecture was polarised in
the popular imagination between the
neo-traditionalists, who wanted to recast
Britain in the image of an idealised,
suspiciously monarchical-looking past,
and the high-tech architects who saw
themselves as inheritors of another
September 2017
02-ARCH-Icon-PoMoPumpingStation-Sept17_JJ_NJ.indd 107
equally idealised past, but this time of
great machinery and pure engineering
bravura, Outram?s staunchly complex little
manifesto of a building seemed to speak of
a much richer relationship both to the past
and to the present.
Unlike the neo-traditionalists, Outram
vocally and vigorously utilised the latest
technology, engineering and mechanical
services, intimately incorporating them in
his design language. Unlike the high techs,
he used it as a generative device around
which he developed a rich, evocative
language of ornament and architectural
forms, rather than leaving it to speak only
of the functional purposes it served.
Unlike the neo-traditionalist
enslavement to stories already told a
thousand times over, and high tech?s
refusal to say anything at all, Outram
was a master of creating new narratives,
stories and myths with his architecture
by designing buildings as eloquent overall
compositions, and by using material
techniques invented with the express
purpose of making his designs ultraexpressive, or as he put it, to allow them
to燽e always ?saying without speaking?.
His ?Robot Order? (described by one
arch-modernist as ?sheer terrorism?) was
a super-large column type wide enough
to contain all the modern electronics
and services required by buildings of the
time in the most economical and efficient
manner. Neither clinging to the past nor
purely technological, Outram imagined a
fusion of the ancient and the hyper-new,
for example asking, ?what if these big
stone columns were now reamed out by
some gigantic boring machine and filled
with all the electro-mechanical viscera
essential to a contemporary building??
Outram?s ?blitzcrete?, a rich, almost
luxuriously polychromatic concrete
filled with large fragments of multicoloured brick, was adopted from makedo techniques using bombing debris
developed during the Second World War,
while ?doodlecrete?, a form of ?iconic
writing?, was a manner of casting concrete
with bold, graphical pattern inlays. The
wonderfully named ?video masonry? was
a technique he developed of transferring
inkjet colour prints onto precast plaster
panels, often shaped like masonry,
producing wildly embellished surfaces
that attained the kind of ?iconic density?
he aimed for in his projects.
The Pumping Station doesn?t deploy all
of these methods, but it is an exceptional
paragon of architectural communication
and evocation, a building which
speaks of far, far more than its prosaic
infrastructural function. It is clearly a
temple, but it is no piece of reactionary
classical revival: it is a temple of the now,
still after 30 years a fiercely contemporary
masterpiece that manages to be
simultaneously ancient and futuristic,
camp and weighty, sophisticated and
accessible, and overall a visual delight of
the kind very few architects ever manage
(or, strangely, want) to achieve, but which
Outram managed to attain again and
again in his career. Which is why, as the
Sunday Times put it in 1991, ?When people
see an Outram Building, their immediate
response is to wave and cheer.?
107
14/07/2017 15:17
REVIEW
exhibition
???
Frank Lloyd Wright
at 150: Unpacking
the Archive
MoMA?s blockbuster birthday retrospective prompts
Fran鏾is-Luc Giraldeau (with encouragement from
Wesley Goodrich) to write a concerned letter ?
above The exhibition
is split into 12 sections,
themed around a key
object or objects from
the Wright archives
September 2017
03-REVIEW-FrankLloydWright-Sept17_NJ.indd 109
dear mr barry bergdoll,
Just a week ago I stepped out
of my door and onto the High
Street C train with my socks
pulled up high and my shirt
tucked to perfection, in a state
of high anticipation about
your Frank Lloyd Wright at
150: Unpacking the Archive
exhibition, which I was to
have the honour of reviewing.
On the train, memories of my
past as an inexperienced yet
overly confident architecture
whippersnapper, ready to dive
into a professional relationship
with MoMA, washed over me.
You should know that the
museum has long been the
focal point of my professional
trajectory ? Do you check your
emails? Have you received my
r閟um� The opportunity to
indulge in your momentous
milestone in unleashing
cherished items from the
Frank Lloyd Wright vault is
the closest I have yet come to
your touch.
My hands were left sweaty
and my breath short as I
fantasised about producing
a modest piece that would
somehow measure up to all
that MoMA embodies. This
state of unease had, however,
very little to do with engaging
with the work of ?one of the
most prolific and renowned
architects of the 21st century?,
as you have lauded him. As a
matter of fact, although I have
now dedicated many years
to studying architecture and
immersed within the inherent
dialogues of the discipline,
I爃ave never managed to
fall for the charm of Frank
Lloyd Wright. As a viewer of
this exhibition, I put on the
glasses of the open-minded
general audience. It was on
you to colour them rose and
enlighten爉e.
Giving you my full trust, I
held on to each word presented
in the opening statement. I
found myself captivated by
109
14/07/2017 14:51
REVIEW
?It seemed as
though you were
mesmerised by
the splendour
of an American
hero?
above The exhibition
contains about 450
works from the 1890s
to the 1950s
you my unconditional faith
and attention, I found myself
once again confused by the
overwhelming amount of
work, but also dispirited by the
staggering lack of the promised
critical engagement. With
such a grand platform, this
seemed like an opportunity
to at least call into question
Wright?s relationship with
environmental concerns,
industry, race, class and
social democracy. As you
presented pieces that hinted
at each of these topics, it
became apparent that a
critical dialogue about his
practices was imperative. As
a viewer, I am curious as to
what excuses the wide range
of ?experimentations? by this
entitled, oblivious erector from
this爑ndertaking.
Look, I could be to blame.
Maybe I?m being overly
sensitive or maybe I put on the
wrong glasses to begin with.
However, those who choose
to consume and consequently
reflect on museum shows are
now in a state of constant
scepticism, causing them
110
03-REVIEW-FrankLloydWright-Sept17_NJ.indd 110
to crave an increasingly
intellectually inquisitive yet
accessible experience. Still,
given the reverence in which
MoMA is now held, and the
prodigious visitor numbers,
it is to be hoped that displays
will uphold the merited
integrity and reputation of
the institution.
My delusional professional
relationship with the museum
is now underway and, although
it appears a bit rocky to date,
my confidence in your ability to
produce shows of great quality,
that exercise an expertise in
their subject matter, remains
unshaken. I still maintain
an unwavering affection for
MoMA that leaves me unable
to feel disappointed. I am
blinded by my reverence just
as you seem to be by Frank
Lloyd Wright.
Yours truly ?
IMAGE: � 2017 MOMA, NY
the promised breadth that
the exhibition would address.
Such claims as ?Each scholarly
inquiry offers insights at once
historical and contemporary
in resonance, touching on
issues including landscape and
environmental concerns, the
relationship of industry to daily
life, questions of race, class,
and social democracy, and
the expanding power of mass
media in forming reputations
and opinions?, seemed initially
tantalising, offering hope of
stimulating depth.
Not only did you affirm that
you would tackle a wealth
of topics and issues, but you
undertook to critically inquire
about the architect?s work
in these contexts. I wanted
to believe ? However, it
seemed unlikely that so many
matters could be responsibly
contextualised, synthesised
and interpreted for a general
audience. Upon entering the
first gallery space, my concern
proved to be warranted.
With so much material at
hand, the first room read as
a monotone thesis statement,
which rambled instead of
highlighting the intentions of
the show. The selected exhibits
in the central space lacked the
ability to convey overarching
themes that could both help
the viewer understand who
the architect really was and
prepare for the lengthy ? dare I
say tedious ? journey on which
they were about to embark.
While I sympathised with
the curatorial task at hand,
as Wright has contributed
to the field of architecture a
particularly fruitful amount
of爓ork to ?unpack?, it
seemed as though you were
mesmerised by the splendour
of an American hero and
failed爐o objectively choose
work that was of irrefutable
importance. Although you
attempted to combat the
overflow of material by
dividing the space into rooms
that reflected on specific
aspects of his portfolio, these
felt at times unnecessarily
dense and爐angential.
After rolling up my sleeves
and untucking my shirt, giving
Frank Lloyd Wright at 150:
Unpacking the Archive
The Museum of Modern Art,
New York
Until 1 October 2017
iconeye.com
14/07/2017 14:52
REVIEW
exhibition
???
Together! The New
Architecture of the Collective
Vitra Design Museum presents a timely manifesto for a communal
urban model ? but John Jervis wonders whether he, or indeed the
curators, would ever really want to live like this
together! the new
Architecture of the Collective
at Vitra Design Museum
explores new modes of
communal living, and wears
the collective heart of its four
curators firmly on its sleeve
? perhaps a little too firmly.
Stepping into the exhibition,
the visitor is surrounded by
full-height photographs of
1980s street protests in Zurich,
Hamburg and Berlin ? activists
build barricades out of television
sets, flee riot police, stand naked
in the street, challenging a
failed social contract.
Placards about 43 seminal
projects weave through the
initial space, leading one from
Robert Owen?s New Harmony,
Indiana (1825?27), via garden
cities, kibbutzim and hippie
communes, right through to
McCamant & Durrett?s Muir
Commons in California (1991).
Documentaries loop, exploring
postwar examples such as
the squatter communities of
Torre David in Caracas and
Christiania in Copenhagen,
as well as London?s Barbican
(surely the Death Star to the
rebel spaceship of co-housing?).
A compilation of early videos
recording the youth protests
that swept Switzerland after
the Zurich ?Opera House Riot?
of 1980 is captivating.
The combination is rich ?
moving even ? but the meat of
the show is next door, where a
fictitious city neighbourhood has
been conceived and constructed
by architects EM2N. Each of its
21 structures is a 1:24 model of
September 2017
03-REVIEW-Together-Sept17 NJ.indd 113
left The opening room
contains placards o
Документ
Категория
Журналы и газеты
Просмотров
43
Размер файла
37 654 Кб
Теги
journal, icon
1/--страниц
Пожаловаться на содержимое документа