Plain space: inside John Pawson’s gracefully reductivist world

Plain space: inside John Pawson’s gracefully reductivist world

British architect John Pawson’s name has been synonymous with quiet, chic minimalism ever since his celebrated career kicked off in the early 1980s.

Marking a busy and successful year for the architect - his new Design Museum space commission at the former Commonwealth Institute building was only announced a few months ago - the Design Museum exhibition, ’John Pawson - Plain Space’ opens today and promises to offer the visitor the full Pawson experience. Not only has the museum’s third floor exhibition space been transformed into a calm room of minimal white boards and simple wood pedestals, but a life-size model of a site-specific installation has been constructed at the show’s heart, allowing design-lovers to fully immerse themselves in Pawson’s gracefully reductivist world.

From his landmark works, like Our Lady of Novy Dvur and the Baron House, to his numerous ongoing projects, such as the house and chapel for the Casa delle Bottere complex in Veneto, Italy (presented in Wallpaper*139)), as well as a thumbnail-style full project list, everything is included in this detailed display.

Long-term Pawson collaborator, Danish wood company Dinesen, has added its elegant touch to the show’s final result; all the wood used in it has been sourced from the company’s rich product selection. Dinesen first collaborated with Pawson almost 20 years ago on his own house - their shared passion for perfection and beauty meant that the architect was the first to use Dinesen to create furniture and special architectural fittings, and he has since worked with them on many commissions, carefully selecting his raw wood materials with them.

For those who won’t be able to make it to the Design Museum in London (the show ends on 30 January 2011), a well-informed publication by Phaidon - written by Alison Morris - is out now, presenting Pawson’s ’Plain Space’ architecture.

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