Arts and design

Exhibition review: Breath of Design Studio Mumbai

Look at any social media account and you will see accusations of architects being ‘in their bubble’, divorced from the interests of those who use buildings and spaces which they plan. It is clear that the way we talk about architecture and who we talk to must change in order to overcome this gap. Although there is a sea change in the profession away from the worship of the ‘hero builder’ and the building of images, the love of the monographic exhibition still rumbles forward, more formal than practical. For the general public, the roles and responsibilities of an architect can still be hidden.

Source: Marc Domage

Kalyani Abstract Water Drawing, cadmium pigment drawn with thread overlaid on chalk form from Île de France.

Studio Mumbai’s exhibition Breath of an Architect marks a transition into a different area of ​​communication, and attempts to open up the process of building to a new audience as it takes over the galleries and gardens of Paris’s Fondation Cartier. In many ways, this appears to have been successful. The audience drawn to the exhibition was multi-generational, some with construction skills and some without, all of whom seemed to find themselves have their own sense of intrigue and enjoyment of work – although this may be partly due to culture. the context of Paris, and of the long-term program of the fondation.

Source: Marc Domage

Prima Materia, a hut made of reeds woven with silk thread, is painted with dyed thread. The Karvi piece is made of woven bamboo cloth coated with cow dung, lime cement and pigment.

However, when the views begin, the curatorial message is more clear, a proposal that goes against everything we can expect from an exhibition about the construction process. Various materials and processes have been distributed around the interior and exterior spaces, including plaster, bamboo structures, stone carvings that look like ruins, paintings, furniture (presented in and sculptures until, with joy you realize you are allowed to sit on it), paintings and ceramics. As the accompanying film Beka & Lemoine shows, this seamless flow mimics what it’s like to enter the workshops at Studio Mumbai, where studio founder Bijoy Jain keeps the doors open to the street. His home life, artistic production, administrative duties and numerous dogs merge into one space, completely destroying any traditional sense of authority or distinction.

Source: Marc Domage

Inside the Prima Materia, there is a ball made of reeds made of cow dung, fibers and turmeric.

There are no text leaflets on display or floor plan guides or frame introduction texts; just the job itself. This can make you feel a little confused about what you are looking at and why it is there. The goal is to encourage you to see jobs using physical filters rather than mental ones. Definitions, after all, tend to converge in a certain framework, while the spatial relationships between tools and experts are very different. Such a strategy seems to give greater organization and respect to the audience to find their way in the space, and to quickly interact with the work. In doing so, the exhibition succeeded in reframing design as a craft. The main idea is that of a craftsman who transforms materials into space looking for a more physical rather than intellectual connection with his audience.

For me, as an architect, this feels closer to the ways I want users to understand my work, rather than reading through metaconceptual archibabble. The accompanying article is presented as a factual explanation in the form of a guide that you are invited to collect on your way out. Reading the text when you leave the show, it becomes even more clear how important some of the information provided is to enhance your experience, and reveals how the context really helps – even if this is not I’m not like everyone else.

Source: Marc Domage

On the brick tables of Studio Mumbai are ceramics by Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye specially designed for the exhibition. On the wall is a Tazia study, a frame made of hand-cut bamboo strips, tied with silk threads and partially covered with gold leaf.

The works on display were created by the studio, accompanied by some created in collaboration with artists Hu Liu and Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye, and others by unnamed artisans. These objects are presented without scale, leaving them open to interpretation as furniture, objects or fragments of scale models. Some are well known as buildings; others refer indirectly to the characteristics that make up building projects, such as their construction or materials. The lack of direction for their interpretation is at first confusing, then liberating as it leads to a visible change in what is considered to be background and background. The most familiar elements of the architecture – the grid, the stage, the room itself – become a frame for the other objects presented, creating an environment in which they can be experienced.

Source: Marc Domage

Sun Tower, a woven bamboo mat coated with cow dung, lime cement and pigment. Threaded lines removed with ferrous oxide pigment and Sculptural stone elements coated with lime.

Collaboration is a key part of the curatorial strategy, ensuring that the works are not seen as idiosyncratic or invisible, but as something to be built upon. Visitors are invited to find their way around and around the space in a way that Jain likens to the study of the execution of architectural projects, of discussions and spatial interactions with others in order to complete the work. There is an invitation to strike a suspended alarm, creating a collective experience that unites all visitors at some point. This willingness to present other experiences is far different from spoon-feeding or a lot of information that can often be placed in a strict order in architectural displays, trying to explain to the public what they should understand by looking at these parts.

Source: Marc Domage

The frame structure is made of hand-cut bamboo slats, tied with silk threads and partially covered with gold leaf.

Instead, such looseness opens up space for the relationship between the architect and the audience to express their interpretation, and to imagine what aspects they feel are the most important. Often, this enables elements of texture, material and shadow play to be visible in a way that would not be visible when we use these elements to view. with the goal of finding a deeper meaning. This exhibition finds new ways of communication, since it is a physical, spatial experience – which sounds perverse, since this is certainly true for every architectural exhibition. Yet the way this is structured raises awareness of your senses, your body and your breath – just like Jain himself.

It’s not so much a show about what we produce as architects but about what brings us to life.

Breath of the Architect by Bijoy Jain of Studio Mumbai continues at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, until 21 April.

#Exhibition #review #Breath #Design #Studio #Mumbai

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