We were thrilled when Julian Cross, Design Lead Europe from Woods Bagot, took up our challenge of curating an architectural Paris landmark tour. You might have seen some of these iconic buildings when you visited Maison et Objet or Paris Deco Off last week!
Which Paris landmark do you find most architecturally exciting?
Centre Pompidou – I never tire of a building which represents the zenith of the Rogers Piano collaboration. It is a superb example of contrast to context. The building was hated and is now a much loved focal point. It has a programmable framework that continuously changes, that commands a neighbourhood and engages its context in an unexpected way. A joyous confection that hides its bulk using a complex colourful skin that is constantly activated by the movement of people. I believe it is a true piece of people architecture.
Which Paris building is hidden/undiscovered/underappreciated?
Arab institute de monde. This was completed in 1996 and was Jean Nouvels’ break through project. I was a young architecture student and was inspired by the first use of a kinetic building fabric in a commercial building, the oculus of the kinetic skin varies light into the building and is an arabesque.
Which Paris outside space do you most like to spend time in?
Parc Andre Citren. It represents a dynamic reinvention of an industrial site which remembers the spirit of the belle époque of French car design, yet creates an contemporary public park.
Which historic Paris building do you find inspirational?
Villa Jeanneret and Le Roche. A pair of houses designed in a Paris suburb by Le Corbusier for his brother Albert Jeanneret and a friend Raoul Le Roche who was a collector of contemporary art. It sits in a quiet suburb in the 16th Arrondisment and is in contrast to its traditional neighbours. They’re still used as homes and it shows the domestic and liveable side of Modernism.
Which contemporary building or extension have you been excited to see unveiled?
Tadao Ando meditation garden at the UNESCO headquarters – it is a master work of the modernist era by Marcel Breuer. The Tadao Extension was added in 1995, I visited it in 1996 when it was recently opened. Seeing two great masters of concert from differ eras in harmony is electric.
Which Paris interior do you most enjoy being in?
11 rue d’aboukir cabinet Alberto Pinto – the office of a very avant-garde interior design practice. Based in an 18th century townhouse, the practice combines its day-to-day design work in perfect harmony with the history of the building – truly Parisienne.
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