The hugely impressive Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2013 in Kensington Gardens was designed by multi award-winning Japanese architect, Sou Fujimoto. It is a white lattice structure made up of 20 mm steel poles, occupying some 350 square-metres, and its feeling of lightness and transparency is incredible, based on the idea of a cloud. Fujimoto explains: For the 2013 Pavilion I proposed an architectural landscape: a transparent terrain that encourages people to interact with and explore the site in diverse ways. Within the pastoral context of Kensington Gardens, I envisage the vivid greenery of the surrounding plant life woven together with a constructed geometry. A new form of environment will be created, where the natural and the man-made merge; not solely architectural nor solely natural, but a unique meeting of the two.
Experiencing the Songwon Art Center on a challenging site and topography such as this in Buk-Chon, South Korea must be quite phenomenal. Designed sensitively to the site conditions for pedestrian access and its own parking requirements, Seoul-based architects Mass Studies have completed a minimalist structure that appears relevant to its surrounding context. Its equally contemporary and clean interiors serve to emphasize the pyramid-like volume of gallery spaces that unite through this void. The photos navigate a very concise, clean and sharp experience for the visitor in its architecture, the way light is received and in the materials used. This is so it does not distract from the art work, and the exterior remains respectful to the quiet street it is on. The building’s minimalist apex composes every view so the approach from each road is different. The challenge of the site and steps taken to ‘problem-solve’ in terms of circulation, experience, and program is what I love about this building.
Featuring the freshly updated Muriel Grateau Gallery in Paris, France. Part gallery, part boutique it is place where contrasts play nice next to each other. Simplicity in the most-tested form provides solid background for colorful objects in vivid tones Grateu is famous for. Visitors are welcome to absorb the display of extremely well-curated objects and one can not help to notice the overall sophistication and elegance of the space. White resin, stones covered with white powdered paint, white lacquered steel plate and LED lighting were used to create the ethereal 140 square-meter space. Designed objects are clearly the focal point in Murel Grateau’s vision of the space and yet she managed to intrigue me enough to wish to personally experience the overall essence of the gallery’s environment.
Where once there was an ice cream factory now houses an award winning architectural project, “The Breeder” Gallery. Located in Athens, Greece and originally built in 1970 the building was left empty and abandoned for many years before it was selected by the owners of the gallery to become their new creativity centre. The renovation was undertaken by the famous Greek architect Aris Zambikos and managed to win one of the three awards nominated every four years by the Hellenic Institute of Architecture. The interior space changed a lot in order to become practical to its new function. On the contrary, the old, steel window frames were kept unchangeable contributing to the industrial character of the building. But what I like the most is the new concrete staircase’s design that helps spread the light that comes through the main skylight.
This concept store and atelier for fashion designer Hila Gaon was designed by Karina Tollman and Philipp Thomanek of Israeli studio k1p3 in Tel Aviv. The gallery-like space features 9 dresses from the current collection, hung in prominent display upon store mannequins (which were custom-made by the architects, based on traditional seamstress dolls). The complete collection, for its part, is stored in a translucent and lit closet along the length of one wall, and the main space is completed by a large dressing room and fitting area that are provided for the bride and her entourage. I appreciate this design for its lack of fuss concerning the dresses. Dress-shopping can often become a stressful activity and it’s a good thing to have a clear and minimalist space to cancel out distractions and to aid in this choice! Photography by Ardon Barhama.
Today’s post will be hopefully yet another reminder that minimalism does not always have to consist of black and white. It is actually not the color what defines minimalism. Rather, one might look at strong element, cohesive material, connection, or repetition and see the overall harmony and concept supported by their use. All is hopefully achieved with simplicity and restraint. Now let’s have a look at The Norwegian Wild Reindeer Center in Dovre. Built by the fantastic Snohetta, I can applaud the architects for finding the balance between the focal point of the design and creative solution to the actual structure. The achievement here is the humble, yet absolutely beautiful and innovative execution of the Center while the most prominence was left to the surroundings, panoramic views and really, the existing “architecture” of nature. The site itself is 90 square meters, has comfortable seating area, features a fireplace and a glass facade that is supported by steel fins. The Pavilion was constructed by using Norwegian Shipbuilding techniques. The waving effect was achieved by using 10 inch wooden beams that were milled and assembled by making good use of pegs.
Galeria Leme, a contemporary art gallery in the city of São Paulo, is a small yet poetic building by the Pritzker-winning Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha. Built in 2004, it has a bare concrete structure and the generous height of the main gallery room is open to slanted natural light by vertical openings and 45º-tilted walls. In fact, it’s these simple elements – concrete and light – that inspire pause and quiet appraisal. It appeals to me in a very similar fashion as Tadao Ando’s architecture does.
Collecting is a strange addiction. As collectors, we always find an underlying argument to preserve things we like. Artur Walther wanted to find a way to share his personal art collection with the public. German born, New York based collector and former investment banker, Artur Walther, converted three of his family homes into a private museum to exhibit The Walther Collection. The Walther Collection’s three exhibition buildings—White Box, Green House, and the Black House opened in June 2010, in Burlafingen, near Ulm, Southern Germany. The White Box, designed by German architect Braungerr Wörtz, honors the spirit of minimalism. Severely stripped of details, the space is calm and pale. The concrete material was not intended to remain beyond the construction phase. Artur Walther liked the raw concrete of the ceiling and walls so much that it ultimately remained exposed, as a design element. The Black House stands quietly, in the green pasture like a dark chocolate cake. Undeniably charming. Reaching collector status had once a constructive meaning in my life. Inventory no longer makes my heart flip-flop. That’s a relief. (Thank you, Eili!)
To me, the minimalist aesthetic is the most humanist of all, one that elicits the full power of all our senses, says Richard Meier. The Gagosian Gallery, in Beverly Hills, designed by Richard Meier in 1995, reflects the New York architect’s pure expression of modernism—a blend of pristine, white walls and glass grids creating intersecting volumes. Using just the right Meierisms, the expansion of the Gagosian Gallery maintains its original distinctive qualities of space and light. The new space is designed to take advantage of the Los Angeles’ climate with 3,000 hours of yearly sun and to support its flourishing contemporary art scene. The reuse of a curved wood barrel-vault roof is a great contrast to the lightness of Mr. Meier’s architecture and iconic white aesthetic. The stunning Getty Center, in Los Angeles is one of his most celebrated commissions. Mr. Meier’s ‘white‘ is never just white. White is about color, he insists. The whiteness is also a way of articulating the architectural ideas in the clearest ways: the difference between openness and closure, between transparency and opaqueness. Thank goodness for this Meiericity—a fantasy of an optimistic environment where I feel uplifted. Hello, grids… and whiteness.