Wooden wonder: Kengo Kuma’s new Paris pavilion is inspired by the forest

View of a pavilion in Paris
Galerie Philippe Gravier commissioned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma to design a pavilion in Paris, as part of their Small Nomad Houses series
(Image credit: Antoine Baralhe)

Staged in the Tuileries Gardens during FIAC, Kengo Kuma's latest architecture folly 'moves with the wind'; just like its Japanese name, Yure, suggests. Made of hundreds of pieces of wood, all different, the 12-meter tall pavilion rises high, gently responding to the flux of air. 

'The wooden elements symbolically represent a forest: Kengo Kuma drew on the idea of the 'inhabited tree' to compose this structure,' Philippe Gravier, the man who commissioned the piece, explains. A pioneer, Gravier long had in mind to invite architects into the art world. 'I feel some architects have more talent than conceptual artists today: a cross over between art and architecture seemed like the right move,' he adds.

Faced with his gallery's series of small houses - entitled Small Nomad Houses - one can draw parallels with the works of Donald Judd or Sol Lewitt; last year's FIAC pavilion by Fou Sugimoto for Gravier felt, indeed, like a spatial representation of a Sol Lewitt drawing. 

Having in mind to create an exclusive collection of Small Nomad Houses, Gravier sends long hand written letters to some of the world's brightest minds, offering them a carte blanche to design a durable, nomad living structure that can be easily dismantled and doesn't exceed 35 m2 in surface. A structure that is intimate yet remains highly sculptural. As a result, Gravier is working on four different ground-breaking projects with Kengo Kuma this year. No screws, no glue and no bolts were used to create Yure. 

'Architects see the Small Nomad Houses as an opportunity to escape their daily practice, as a project, where they can experiment freely. For collectors, on the other hand, the Small Nomad Houses stand out as unique pieces. They are the very essence of architecture today,' Gravier concludes.

Made of hundreds of pieces of wood

The structure stands tall at 12 metres high and it's made of hundreds of pieces of wood

(Image credit: Antoine Baralhe)

Structure stands tall at 12 metres high

These timber elemends represent a forest; Kuma wanted to create 'an inhabited tree'

(Image credit: Antoine Baralhe)

No screws, no glue and no bolts used

No screws, no glue and no bolts were used to create the pavilion 

(Image credit: Antoine Baralhe)

Inside view of wooden structure

Entitled Yure, the structure litteraly means 'moves with the wind'

(Image credit: Antoine Baralhe)


On view from Oct 15th till Nov 5th inside the Tuileries Gardens, Paris

courtesy Galerie Philippe Gravier