Vicenza show salutes David Chipperfield Architects’ four studios

Vicenza show salutes David Chipperfield Architects’ four studios

The newly opened ‘David Chipperfield Architects Works 2018’ show in Vicenza is neither a retrospective nor an architect’s vanity project. It is rather a multi-leveled and carefully orchestrated exhibition that celebrates the genius and talent of a single architect – David Chipperfield – through select works from the practice’s four different studios in London, Berlin, Milan and Shanghai; and through those studios’ individual interpretations of the principal architect’s vision.

The show is made up of 17 projects that are either recently completed, or currently in progress, and subtly outline the practice’s methods and approach, as well as the range of possibilities these create. The work is not anchored in a particular, obvious style, but instead embodies a language that is able to rethink the ordinary and push the boundaries of what is possible.

It is evident through his work that for Chipperfield, it is important to restore public interest in architecture. Through the show we also see the return of that ‘common ground’ that the architect talked about in his statement as curator of the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennial. This is an exhibition that highlights the importance of teamwork – it is a sort of manifesto, signed by all the members of all the Chipperfield studios. 

Delicate lighting creates focal points exploring models, photographs, documents and technical drawings. Each of the studios has interpreted the architect’s design concepts using the tools and nuances that distinguishes them from their counterparts.

The Milanese studio presents the flagship stores for Maison Valentino complete with models and a selection of materials, while the Shanghai studio offers the Zhejang Museum of Natural History in Anji through large-scale drawings and video documentary. The Berlin studio shows studies and models of the extension of Zurich’s Kunsthaus on a shelving installation with large compartments to clearly demonstrate each separate phase in the creative process. Finally, to illustrate the Hoxton Press Headquarters, the London office works with models of the scheme’s two towers and the technical and photographic descriptions of how the project was translated from drawings to reality. 

Another key qualities of the show is the dialogue it opens up with the building in which it is hosted, Vicenza’s Basilica Palladiana. Using both vertical and horizontal space, the displays honour and complement their surroundings. Video projections that highlight the scale of the buildings represented make the most of the basilica’s full height, while the entire width of the large hall is used in an installation that forms three aisles, punctuated by displays of individual architectural projects. §

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