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Architecture As Art: Shigeru Ban Under the Hammer

Yesterday saw an auction of Japanese art and design in London, held by Phillips de Pury & Company. Among the 195 lots sold was this Paper Tea...

Amanda Gore (PSFK London)
Amanda Gore (PSFK London) on April 4, 2008.

Yesterday saw an auction of Japanese art and design in London, held by Phillips de Pury & Company. Among the 195 lots sold was this Paper Tea House by Shigeru Ban, the master of architectural creations in paper. A stand-out piece among the paintings and figurines, and a surprising choice by the architect himself; forsaking his use of tubular cardboard construction for an interlocking square structure, it’s not often you can buy an starchitect-designed building- and take it away with you! This one however is only for indoor use, making it an art investment rather than a practical piece, as reflected in the closing price of £31,700.

From the auctioneer:

Phillips de Pury & Company is pleased to announce that it will be offering a important piece of architecture by one of the most celebrated architects working today, Shigeru Ban, in its forthcoming London sale, Kyobai: The Art and Culture of Japan.

A tea house, constructed of square paper tubes, is a structure designed for indoor use measuring just over 5 meters long. Housing a table and four stools, the house also features a waiting area with a bench in keeping with tea ceremony practice.

The architect’s ‘paper architecture’ comprises an ongoing series of structures using paper tubes as the main building material. Spanning a number of uses from multiple refugee housing solutions for disaster zones in Rwanda, Japan, India and Turkey to a collaboration with Frei Otto for the Japan Pavilion at the Hanover Expo in 2000 to his current satellite office that that sits on the roof of the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the use of paper by Shigeru Ban has been a pivotal design solution with firm ethical footing.

Low-tech, adaptable and recyclable, the paper constructions address the current trend of high-tech, high-impact and unattainable design that has been so prevalent in the contemporary architecture. In addition, the use of the material presents, in each application, an engineering challenge that Shigeru Ban continually masters. His paper tube buildings have been admired for the ultimate breakaway from the confines of traditional materials to create light-filled, stimulating buildings with unsurpassed sophistication.

Paper tea house by Shigeru Ban will offered with pre-sale estimate of £20,000 – 30,000.

via Dezeen

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