Future-facing: a new monograph explores 40 years of Wilmotte & Associates

Future-facing: a new monograph explores 40 years of Wilmotte & Associates

‘Wilmotte feels like architecture is a way of organising light.’ Such are the musings that appear in an epic new tome of works by the Parisian architect, Jean-Michel Wilmotte. As one can imagine, a career that spans 40 years makes a meaty book; but this is a worthwhile publication – a photographic journey spanning museums, stadiums, towers and more.

Delineating by types of building, editor José Alvarez has created an in-depth encyclopaedia of Wilmotte’s projects, showing off a diverse oeuvre; where his museography for the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam boasts striking graphic lines, the skirt of wood wrapped around the entrance of the École de Formation des Barreaux de Paris in Issy-les-Moulineaux evokes femininity.

With a practice that has over 200 employees, the mastery of Wilmotte’s success is often shared; ‘When he begins a new project, he does so without preconceived ideas, without recipes, yet armed with axioms built not only on experience but an almost entomological sense of observation,’ the book’s text states. This wisdom is applied far and wide, from the oxidised copper of the Seoul Auction House, built in 1999, to the renovated boathouse in Venice that Wilmotte restored into his own foundation gallery.

The pages observe the decades of work via interesting perspectives, zooming in where details of the buildings become patterns, or shooting their silhouettes in the shadows of the city in which they are built. Alvarez closes with a timeline of JM Wilmotte’s accomplishments that looks to the future, featuring speculative plans for 2016–2020.

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