John Pawson’s visual inventory provides a rich glimpse into his creative world

John Pawson’s visual inventory provides a rich glimpse into his creative world

If you have ever wondered what inspires leading British architect John Pawson in his work, then this book will offer an insight into the minimalist’s mind. Published by Phaidon and aptly entitled A Visual Inventory, the 320-page tome provides a rich glimpse into Pawson’s creative world.

A journey through the details, textures, spatial qualities and even coincidental arrangements that have informed his designs through the years, this book presents a selection of the some 200,000 beautiful photographs Pawson has taken during his 30 year-long career. What could be described as a visual diary is indeed a genuine library of forms, volumes, materials and patterns, as seen through the architect’s eye.

Each allocated their own page for suitable ’breathing space’, the images are accompanied by Pawson’s personal notes and appear in their original state (uncropped and untreated). These photographs explore the architectural elements and fascinations Pawson investigates with his work, such as light, proportion and material.

A Visual Inventory also spans different countries and periods - from Pawson’s visit to Peter Zumthor’s St Benedict’s Chapel in Switzerland, to when he was designing key works like the new Cistercian monastery in Bohemia, and more recent work trips to Japan, Seoul, New York and Paris. The compositions, like his architecture, are serene but powerful.

The book is now on sale and is the latest addition to Phaidon’s Pawson offerings - three monographs are already out, as well as a book the architect himself wrote in 1996. And if this is not enough for an in-depth look into John Pawson’s sensibility and approach, then a visit to the Architekturmuseum in Munich for his first major show in Germany is a must, running until 20 May 2012.

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