Bijoy Jain creates bamboo hut and stone furniture for Paris exhibition

Breath of an Architect exhibition by Bijoy Jain

Breath of an Architect exhibition by Bijoy Jain

Bijoy Jain, founder of Indian architecture practice Studio Mumbai, has created a series of structures and furniture made from natural materials for the Breath of an Architect exhibition at Paris’s Fondation Cartier gallery.

Most of the pieces on display in the Jean Nouvel-designed building were designed by Jain specifically for the exhibition and made in his studio in Mumbai.

Bamboo hut at Bijoy Jain's exhibition at Fondation Cartier
Bijoy Jain designed a bamboo hut for the exhibition

Uniting them is a use of natural materials, including graphite, basalt, lime, sandstone, bamboo and fired clay.

“No material was bought,” Jain told Dezeen. “It’s all been harvested from whatever was needed to be available.”

Bamboo hut at the Breath of an Architect exhibition
Pieces in the exhibition were made from natural materials

On display until 21 April, Breath of an Architect was spread across two exhibition spaces at ground floor level – with views of the Fondation Cartier gardens through the building’s glass facade – and two rooms in the basement.

A bamboo hut with silk thread woven into the walls forms the centrepiece of one of the ground floor spaces.

Breath of an Architect exhibition in Paris by Bijoy Jain
Jain created a large chalk floor slab painted with cadmium pigment

Architectural models and furniture made from stone, asphalt and tar surround the hut. Inside, more furniture was displayed with a bamboo sphere coated in cow dung, string and turmeric.

A large chalk floor slab decorated with stripes of cadmium pigment was placed at the centre of the adjacent ground floor space.

On the level below, stone animal sculptures were lined up in the middle of the room, and decorative woven bamboo mats coated with cow dung, lime, and pigments were displayed on the walls.

Turkish-Danish ceramicist Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye created ceramic bowls for the exhibition, displayed on brick tables by Studio Mumbai.

Breath of an Architect exhibition at Fondation Cartier
Stone animal statues were displayed in the basement

In the other basement room were graphite drawings by artist Hu Liu, and small stone sculptures by Jain were placed around the room’s edges.

Jain told Dezeen that he expects different visitors to come to the exhibition with different perspectives, ultimately leading to different interpretations of the work.

Breath of an Architect exhibition by Bijoy Jain
Many of the pieces were made by Jain in his Mumbai studio

“[The purpose] is to evoke different viewpoints, so everyone will have a different response to the work,” Jain said.

“There’s no singularity here. This is not about being exclusive to an idea, it’s about being inclusive to the possibility of many viewpoints, many different ideas.”

Graphite drawings on a brown exhibition wall
The exhibition also includes works by ceramicist Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye and artist Hu Liu

Many of the pieces in the Breath of an Architect exhibition were designed to evoke Jain’s memories or hold a personal connection for him.

“I have a relationship with every piece in the exhibition,” he said. “My creations are about transmitting ideas. Architecture has the capacity to embed sentiment.”

Previous exhibitions at Fondation Cartier include a collection of architectural models by Japanese architect Junya Ishigami and an installation on the impact of climate change on nature by Dutch artist Thijs Biersteker and scientist Stefano Mancuso.

The photography is by Marc Domage.

The Breath of an Architect exhibition is on display at Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris, France, from 9 December 2023 to 21 April 2024. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

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