08 September 2001
A new exhibition of the work of Foster and Partners has opened at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebaek, just outside Copenhagen. It is the third in the series of exhibitions entitled "The Architect's Studio" which examine the design process and working environment of contemporary architects. The previous subjects were the American architect Frank Gehry and the Danish architect Henning Larsen.
The exhibition gives an insight into the working methods of the Foster studio located on the Thames riverside at Battersea. Everyone - whatever their job-description - has a place at one of the long workbenches; the arrangement is very fluid with no division between design and production. The average age of the 600 staff is about 30 and as many languages are spoken in the studio. The building is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Most offices keep visitors at arm's length. The Foster studio, in contrast, is completely open. Visitors can enjoy the bar - the social focus of the studio - and meetings, whether formal or informal, occur in the midst of the creative process itself. The story of this unique studio and the very special way it works, is the theme of this exhibition: the working process - the path from idea to realisation.
The design process is explored through two buildings that are currently under construction. The Swiss Re tower is a skyscraper in the City of London and the Chesa Futura is a small apartment building in St Moritz in Switzerland. In terms of scale they are of opposite extremes, however, the two projects occupy much conceptual common ground. They share an interest in ecology, from site context to energy consumption; and both are concerned with increasing density in existing urban centres while improving the quality of public and private space. Each in a way is a built manifesto, a demonstration of how our towns and cities can be developed for the future, thus allowing our precious, unspoiled countryside to be preserved. Alongside the Swiss Re tower and the Chesa Futura the exhibition examines the development of the Nomos table, whose design explores in miniature many of the themes that challenge architects at a larger scale.
The exhibition graphics have been designed by Thomas Manss and Company and the Danish artist Per Arnoldi, who for several years has been the Foster studio's colour and graphics consultant on projects such as the Commerzbank Headquarters in Frankfurt and the Reichstag in Berlin. Arnoldi has also designed the posters for the exhibition.
An illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition with an article on the Swiss Re tower by Charles Jencks and an article on the Foster studio by Jonathan Glancey.
Lecture by Per Arnoldi
Wednesday, 7 November, at 19.30: Lecture (in Danish) by Per Arnoldi, entitled "Working with Norman Foster".
DONG is the main sponsor of Louisiana's exhibitions 2001 - 2003.
For press photos or further details on The Architect's Studio: Norman Foster, please contact curator Kjeld Kjeldsen or Susanne Hartz.
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