November 21, 2008
by Canadian Architect
The prestigious Japanese SANAA architecture studio, founded and run by Kazuyo Sejima
and Ryue Nishizawa, has been selected by the Mies van der Rohe Foundation to create
an installation for the Barcelona Pavilion in the winter of 2008-2009.
The installation, on which the Japanese studio has been working for several months, will
be open to the public from November 26, 2008 until January 18, 2009.
Sejima and Nishizawa are known internationally for their subtle, meticulous architecture and for their ability to address complex projects through a deceptively simple approach. Their built works include the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York (2003-2007) and the Issey Miyake and Christian Dior
stores on Tokyo’s main shopping avenue (2003). In 2004, they were awarded the Golden Lion at the IX Venice Biennale.
Sejima makes the following observations on the Pavilion installation: “We decided to make transparent curtains using acrylic material, since we didn’t want the installation to interfere in any way with the existing space of the Barcelona Pavilion. The acrylic curtains rest lightly on the floor and adopt the form of a sinuous spiral. The curtain adapts smoothly to the Pavilion’s inner space to create a new atmosphere. The view through the acrylic material is rather different from the original one, in that it generates gentle reflections that slightly distort the Pavilion.”
This piece forms part of what has become a firmly established program of installations – conceived as light, short-duration exhibitions or interventions – at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion. The Pavilion provides the opportunity to work with creative formats that may occasionally be supplemented by other activities. The periodical programming of installations at the Pavilion offers the city of Barcelona the chance to host unique works which, thanks to the creativity of both Spanish and international artists and architects, reinterpret and update one of its major cultural assets, the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion.
Other artists and architects who have executed installations for the Pavilion include Iñaki Bonillas, Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Jeff Wall, Jérôme Schlomoff, Ulrich Meister, Panamarenko, Angela Bulloch & Joachim Grommek, Lluís Casals, R.D. Adela, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster & Jens Hoffmann, Kay Fingerle, Philippe Terrier-Hermann, Thomas Ruff, Victor Burgin, Claude Rutault and Dennis Adams.
Kazuyo Sejima (Ibaraki, Japan, 1956) and Ryue Nishizawa (Kanagawa, Japan, 1966) worked independently from each other before founding the SANAA Ltd. studio in 1995. Having studied architecture at the Japan Women’s University, Sejima went on to work for the renowned architect Toyo Ito. She set up her own studio in 1987 and in 1992 was proclaimed Young Architect of the Year in Japan. Nishizawa studied architecture at the Yokohama National University. In addition to his work with Sejima, he has had his own practice since 1997.
The studio has built several extraordinarily successful commercial and institutional buildings, civic centres, homes and museums both in Japan and elsewhere. These include the O Museum in Nagano (1999) and the N Museum in Wakayama (1997), the Day-Care Center in Yokohama (2000), the Prada Beauty Store in Tokyo and Hong Kong (2001), the Issey Miyake and Christian Dior Building in Tokyo (2003), and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa (2004). Sejima also designed the famous Small House in Tokyo (2000), the Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion, Toledo, Ohio (2001-2006), the extension to the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Valencia, Spain (2002 – ), the Zollverein School, Essen, Germany (2003-2006), the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2003-2007) and the Novartis Campus WSJ-157 Office Building, Basel, Switzerland (2003 – ).
In 2004 Sejima and Nishizawa were awarded the Golden Lion at the 9th Venice Architecture Biennale for their distinguished work on the Metamorph exhibition. For more information, please visit www.sanaa.co.jp.
Founded in 1983 by the Barcelona City Council, the Mies van der Rohe Foundation’s initial mission was to reconstruct the German Pavilion designed and built for the 1929 Barcelona International Exhibition by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969). In addition to conserving and promoting the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion, the Foundation fosters debate on contemporary archite
cture and urbanism as well as striving to stimulate interest in and awareness of aspects related to these disciplines. It also encourages study of the work of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and of the Modern Movement in general. The Foundation organizes awards, congresses, conferences, exhibitions, workshops and installations.
So far in 2008, the Foundation has programmed a film cycle under the title of CiudadesAsediadas (Besieged Cities), curated by Le Jeu de Paume; a poetry cycle curated by Antoni Marí; the Coup de Dés architecture seminar, chaired on this occasion by Iñaki Ábalos; and the SANAA installation curated by Xavier Costa. Furthermore, preparations are underway for the 11th edition of the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award, which will be presented in 2009.
For further information, please www.miesbcn.com.