Initially Jean Nouvel dreamed of becoming a painter, but in the end he chose architecture, for him “visual art, production and imagination”. Jean Nouvel is the last of the existentialists, black is his colour, cinema his inspiration. He is an architect of the present moment.
Jean Nouvel opened his studio after graduating from the National School of Fine Art in Paris in 1972. His turning point arrived in 1981, when he won the competition for the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. Since then he has received a number of awards, such as the Grand Prix National d’Architecture, the Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects, and the Leone d’oro from the Venice Biennial. In 2008 he won the prestigious Pritzker Award, the ‘Nobel prize’ in the field of architecture.
The aim of the Atelier Jean Nouvel is to develop an “architecture of design”, to design objects which are suited to the spirit of the age. Nouvel’s first approach to design stemmed from the necessity of creating objects for his own architecture: the Less tables for example, produced by Molteni & C., were created for the Paris headquarters of the Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain. At times it is the furniture which takes on the lines of an architectural structure, becoming almost a miniature building, like the Graduate bookcase, a system of shelves in wood and aluminium supported by a complex system of invisible hooks. The house becomes an urban landscape, defined by simple, linear, minimal architectonic structures.
But Jean Nouvel has never forgotten his passion for art, still visible in his design: the sofa SKiN is a “sculpted” furnishing, where decoration becomes structure. Like his latest Parisian creation, the Quai Branly Museum