John Pawson

John Pawson

John Pawson, British architect and designer, was born in 1949 in Halifax, Yorkshire. He attended school at Eton and after spending some time at the family textile business Pawson set on his way to Japan in his mid-twenties. In Tokyo he visited the studios of Japanese architect and designer Shiro Kuramata and collected a lot of inspiration.

On his return to England Pawson got enrolled at the Architecture Association in London and commenced his own practice in 1981. Instead of commercializing personal styles and signature work, Pawson has always focused on basic problems related to space, proportion, light and materials and explored innovative ways to find their solutions. He is a firm believer of simplicity and promotes it for all fields whether it’s art, design or architecture with reference to a variety of historical and cultural contexts.

Pawson has worked on a vast variety of projects ranging from all scale sizes and covering almost all building typologies including ballet sets and yacht interiors but private residences have always been given the prime importance. The key element associated with Pawson’s works is his minimalist aesthetics in the designs. Notable projects done by John Pawson are:

  • The Sackler Crossing across the lake at the Royal Botanic Gardens
  • Kew, a flagship store for Calvin Klein
  • The new Cistercian monastery in Bohemia
  • London’s Cannelle Cake Shop
  • Several Calvin Klein stores; such as the ice palace on Madison Avenue
  • Jigsaw (clothing retailer)
  • New Wardour Castle apartments (2001)
  • The Nový Dvůr Monastery
  • Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sept-Fons, Czech Republic (2004)
  • Hotel Puerta America, Madrid (2005)
  • Medina House in Tunis
  • The Sackler Crossing, a walkway over the lake at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (2006)
  • Set for new ballets at London’s Royal Opera House
  • Set for the Opéra Bastille in Paris
  • Airport lounges for Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong
  • Homes for the writer Bruce Chatwin, opera director Pierre Audi and collector Doris Lockhart Saatchi
  • Art galleries in London, Dublin and New York
  • A condominium for Ian Schrager on New York’s Gramercy Park

With the course of time John Pawson has achieved boundless experiences that have enabled him to face all sorts of environments of historic, landscape and ecological importance. His work has won him different awards including RIBA awards for the Sackler Crossing at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and the Frate Sole International Prize for Sacred Architecture for the new Cistercian monastery of Lady of Novy Dvur in Bohemia.


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