john pawson: plain space at fondazione bisazza
john pawson: plain space at fondazione bisazza john pawson: plain space at fondazione bisazza
jun 08, 2012

john pawson: plain space at fondazione bisazza

john pawson: plain space at fondazione bisazza portrait of john pawson image © designboom




now on display at the fondazione bisazza in vicenza, italy, the exhibition ‘plain space’ curated by london-based designer john pawson presents a survey of his realized projects which support an ongoing exploration of the inhabition of minimalist spaces defined by light and mass. born in 1949 in halifax, england, his childhood oceanside home overlooked a barren landscape, which became the early source for his fascination with the guiding concept of plain space. after living in tokyo for a period of time, he returned to london  to study at the architectural association. in 1981, his office began with a staff of 25 individuals, beginning the production of refined buildings with effortless spiritual qualities.



his designs merge principles of ritual, structure, landscape, order, containment, repetition and volume to form a minimalist architecture based upon proportion and the fall of light. by restricting the material and color palette, the resulting structure is formed with a clean composition of lines and surfaces. resisting abstract theories throughout a project’s conception, the implemented buildings are life-affirming, placing the dynamic activity which will occur inside as the priority.

john pawson presenting the ideas behind his exhibition at the teatro olimpico in vicenza, italy image © designboom




unveiled with the exhibition, a standalone room designed by pawson has become a permanent part of the foundation’s growing collection of sculptures covered with mosaics comprised of their signature tiles. positioned within a tall room illuminated with overhead skylights, an oval footprint generates curved walls which have been surfaced with gray-scale tiles, producing a seemingly textured exterior from the smooth material. upon passing through two doorless portals, a convex ceiling is revealed overhead. a linear void across the apex  introduces a crisp light while concealed up-lighting within a perimeter reveal projects a soft illumination upon the arced ceiling. ‘I think plain space near the eye gives it a kind of liberty it loves; and then the picture, whether you choose  the grand or beautiful, should be help up at its proper distance. variety is the principle ingredient in beauty;  and simplicity is essential grandeur.’ – william shenstone 1714-1763

installation at findazione bisazza image © designboom

(left) interior features a convex roof with a linear void across the apex (right) entry into the installation image © designboom

the standalone structure has an oval footprint image © designboom

exhibition view image courtesy fondazione bisazza

exhibitionimage courtesy fondazione bisazza

‘abby of our lady of novy dvur’ in bohemia, czech republicimage © hisao suzuki

site model of the ‘abby of our lady of novy dvur’ in bohemia, czech republic 2004 image © designboom

1:20 model of the church at the ‘abby of our lady of novy dvur’ in bohemia, czech republic image © designboom

‘abby of our lady of novy dvur’ in bohemia, czech republic image © designboom

cantilevered barrel vault supported with a glass pane replaces the typical arcade found in monastery cloisters image © designboom

model of the ‘B60 sloop’ image © designboom

deck detail image © designboom

‘sackler crossing’ at the royal botanic gardens in london, 2006 image © richard davies

model of the ‘sackler crossing’ image © designboom

pawson house in london, 1999 image © christoph kicherer

‘baron house’ in skane, sweden, 2005

model of the ‘casa delle bottere’ treviso, italy image © designboom

portrait of piero bisazza, president of fondazione bisazza image © designboom

  • Architectural genius! Space, light, volume.

    Viilis Inde says:

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