shigeru ban (interview)

shigeru ban (interview)


atelier for a glass arrtist, setagaya, japan, 2006
courtesy shigeru ban architects


in 2007 you designed the paper pavillion for
artek / UPS in finland, are you going to continue
to experiment with new materials?

I don’t develop many new materials. I usually use existing
material differently. in this instance it was unusual as artek
came to me and asked me to work with this particular
material created from industrial waste of paper and plastic.
this year I have made a seating system with that recycled
composite. the’10-unit system’ is based on the ‘L-unit system’
I did back in 1993. L-shaped units which can be combined
to make chairs, benches, seating lines.

what other objects have you created?
most recently a prototype of a light-weight chair that uses
carbon fiber TENAX®, in these days on show at the
tokyo fiber senseware exhibition and a bowl for the small
danish company ‘when objects work’..
I have never designed tableware before,
so it was challenging. I think its interesting to use an idea from
my architecture and convert it into a small object.
the bowls take their shape from the metz centre pompidou –
the geometry is the same. well, actually this is a prototype.
I’ve tried to make this in wood but we are still in the
developing process. its very difficult to construct due to all
the bending that is required.
its really a new kind of experimentation.

and what else?
some lighting fixtures in the eighties and a few cardboard
chairs for cappellini in 1998. …and a ball point pencil for
a company in hawaii in 2004.

design is an art form – in the field of design ‘form’
is also used as expression, where do you collocate
your approach?

my main concern is that the product should be functional.

but sometimes you have the choice
between two or more solutions ?

in that instance I would consider what is more functional,
and more economical. I try to be very pragmatic.

is there any designer and/or architect from the past,
you appreciate a lot?

mies van der rohe, my professor john hejduk
from cooper union school of architecture and alvar aalto.

and those still working / contemporary?

I particularly like otto frei otto as I worked with him and
he was very influential to me, emilio ambasz … many.

what advice would you give to the young?
actually I miss teaching (I quit university last year)
advice? travel!
then you can understand different cultures of the world
and don’t depend on the computer.

what are you afraid of regarding the future?



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