LONDON, ENGLAND.- The Barbican Art Gallery presents Alvar Aalto - Through the Eyes of Shigeru Ban, on view through May 13, 2007. Finnish architect Alvar Aalto (1898-1976), is one of the masters of modernism, ranking alongside figures such as Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe. In his first UK retrospective, Aalto’s work is presented through the eyes of contemporary Japanese architect Shigeru Ban.
The exhibition examines the development of Aalto’s architectural style, featuring models, drawings, photographs and artefacts from 14 of his key projects, built mainly in Finland, Denmark and across Scandinavia. Spanning six decades, featured projects include Paimio Tuberculosis Sanatorium (1929-33), Villa Mairea (1938-39), AA-System Houses (1937-1945), Experimental House (1952-53), North Jutland Art Museum (1958-72) and the development of the urban centre for Seinäjoki (1952-87).
Aalto was as concerned with the interiors of his buildings as he was with the structure, and the exhibition also showcases his wide-ranging product designs. These include his famous stacking stool and other furniture, as well as glassware, light fittings and textiles, many of which continue to be manufactured today by the renowned Finnish design company Artek, founded in 1935.
Aalto admired the commitment to craftsmanship and sensitivity to natural materials that he found in Japanese architecture, and 60 years later this influence comes full circle in the work of Shigeru Ban. The exhibition showcases many of Ban’s key works which acknowledge a huge debt to Aalto’s organic approach to design.
Ban is famous for his use of natural and recyclable materials such as cardboard, bamboo and wood, and the exhibition features celebrated projects such as his Paper Log House (1995), Japan Pavilion, Hanover Expo (2000) and his recent design for the new Pompidou Centre in Metz.
This fascinating exhibition which explores the themes linking these two influential architects who, despite spanning a generational and geographical divide, share a visionary approach to architecture.
Curated by Shigeru Ban in collaboration with Juhani Pallasmaa and Tomoko Sato. Organised by Barbican Art Gallery in conjunction with the Alvar Aalto Museum, Jyväskylä. Supported by Embassy of Finland and The Japan Foundation.