John Pawson began his career in the textile industry and eventually designed Calvin Klein’s boutique on NYC’s 5th Avenue. Meanwhile, with a long stay in Japan, he had met designer Shiro Kurumata and on his return to England joined the Architectural Association. He designed the interior of London’s Design Museum and as well the home of writer Bruce Chatwin.
For him, minimalism is obviously not a tocade inspired by Carl André or Eastern aesthetic values.
The medieval Cistercian abbey of Thoronet is a paragon of minimalism inspired by the Novy Dvur monastery in the Czech Republic.
John Pawson is not minimalist, he is ultra-minimalist. An ascetic who refused for 20 years the comfort of a sofa on the pretext that he would have corrupted the perfectly pure lines of his interior.
Still, he has consented to create furniture and items essential to domestic life such as kitchens equipped for Obumex or everyday objects of exceptional minimal beauty such as those proposed by When Objects Works …
Pawson thinks like William Morris in that any object whose presence in the house has neither utility nor beauty has nothing to do there, and as the Belgian brand of Béatrice Delafontaine publishes only useful and beautiful objects designed according to modes of artisanal production, nothing was opposed to what he applies to their creation the same process with a building: Everything is reduced to the essential, “mass, volume, surface, proportion, junction, geometry, repetition, light and ritual “.
According to him, the absolute minimum is the perfection that an object attains when it is no longer possible to improve it by subtraction. Its architecture and interior design rely on a plethora of right angles and vanishing lines, exceptional materials, oak, stone, concrete and lots of white paint …
Nevertheless, he cultivates a certain taste for the accident affecting the perfection of the materials which he calls “strange crack” because it integrates
the idea of a moving modification of their state as a minimal expression of time …