John Pawson – Plain Space

Lecture date: 2010-12-10

The phrase ‘plain space’, taken from the words of the eighteenth century landscape gardener and poet, William Shenstone, captures something of the essence of what John Pawson has been trying to achieve over the past 30 years. In this lecture he reflects on the thinking which has consistently lain behind projects as diverse as a small flat for the writer Bruce Chatwin created at the beginning of his career and a new Cistercian monastery in Bohemia, where work has been ongoing for a decade.

John Pawson was born in 1949 in Halifax, Yorkshire. Following a period in the family textile business, he spent a number of years living and working in Japan. Following his return to England, he enrolled at the AA, leaving to establish his own practice in 1981. From the outset Pawson’s work has focused on ways of approaching fundamental problems of space, proportion, light and materials. Projects have spanned a wide range of scales and typologies, including a new Cistercian monastery in Bohemia and a lake crossing at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

A major exhibition, John Pawson Plain Space, runs at the Design Museum, London, until 30 January 2011.

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