Shigeru Ban - Design London Wednesday, October 14, 2009 | Phillips

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  • Exhibited

    'Size + Matter', London Design Festival, SouthBank Centre, London, until 18 October 2009

  • Catalogue Essay

    Language and buildings are held together by joints. Beams, like clauses, need support. Japanese architect Shigeru Ban speaks clearly: his ‘Paper Tower’ pavilion, a single cone-shaped frame, comprises compressed cardboard tubes articulated by steel nodes. Like an exclamation, it voices his intent to build ambitious projects using recycled and sustainable materials. A pioneer of cardboard structures, Ban has constructed paper tube houses, domes, churches, bridges, and notably, emergency shelters for disaster victims. In 1998 he persuaded the United Nations to deploy his paper tents to refugees displaced by Rwanda’s civil war. Cardboard tubes, manufactured on site with simple machinery, offered a low-cost alternative to plastic and aluminium poles, which were being sold as contraband. In Sri Lanka, he devised mud brick houses to replace those destroyed by the tsunami in 2004. Ban’s humble efforts stand in contrast to the clamour of much contemporary architecture, which can feel like braggadocio. For a quarter century, he has experimented with alternative materials in an attempt to adhere to minimum waste, his golden rule. In a Washington Post interview on the occasion of his Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture (Linda Hales, “Paper Heavyweight,” April 13, 2005), Ban summed up: “Mottainai.” The interjection, a Japanese expression of shame or regret in the face of wastefulness, aptly conveys Ban’s motivations and method: keep it simple; speak economically; punctuate the conversation with feeling.



‘Paper Tower’ pavilion

Paper tubes, steel, concrete.
2300 cm. (905 1/2 in.) high, 900 cm. (354 3/8 in.) diameter
For the Size + Matter Project, part of the London Design Festival.

£50,000 - 70,000 


15 Oct 2009