John Pawson

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John Pawson
Born (1949-05-06) May 6, 1949 (age 65)
Halifax, England
Occupation author, architectural designer[1]
Subject architecture, simplicity
Spouse Catherine Pawson

John Pawson (born 6 May 1949) is a British architect associated with the minimalist aesthetic.[2]


John Pawson was born in 1949 in Halifax, Yorkshire. After a period in the family textile business he left for Japan, spending several years teaching English at the business university of Nagoya. Towards the end of his time there he moved to Tokyo, where he visited the studio of Japanese architect and designer Shiro Kuramata. Following his return to England, he enrolled at the Architecture Association in London, leaving to establish his own practice in 1981.

From the outset the work has focused on ways of approaching fundamental problems of space, proportion, light and materials, rather than on developing a set of stylistic mannerisms — themes he also explored in his book Minimum, first published in 1996, which examines the notion of simplicity in art, architecture and design across a variety of historical and cultural contexts.

Early commissions included homes for the writer Bruce Chatwin, opera director Pierre Audi and collector Doris Lockhart Saatchi, together with art galleries in London, Dublin and New York. Whilst private houses have remained a consistent strand of the work, subsequent projects have spanned a wide range of scales and building typologies, ranging from Calvin Klein Collection’s flagship store in Manhattan and airport lounges for Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong, to a condominium for Ian Schrager on New York’s Gramercy Park, the interior of a 50-metre yacht and sets for new ballets at London’s Royal Opera House and the Opéra Bastille in Paris.

Over the years John Pawson has accrued extensive experience of the particular challenges of working within environments of historic, landscape and ecological significance, key examples including the Sackler Crossing — a walkway over the lake at London’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew — the Cistercian monastery of Our Lady of Nový Dvůr in Bohemia and the former Commonwealth Institute in London, scheduled to open as a new permanent home for the Design Museum in 2016.

Selected projects[edit]

London's Cannelle Cake Shop, several Calvin Klein stores; such as the ice palace on Madison Avenue,[2] work for Jigsaw (clothing retailer), New Wardour Castle apartments (2001), the Nový Dvůr Monastery,[3] Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sept-Fons, Czech Republic (2004), Hotel Puerta America, Madrid (2005), Medina House in Tunis, and the Sackler Crossing, a walkway over the lake at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (2006).

An exhibition of Pawson's work was held at the Design Museum in September 2010.[4]


  1. Minimum (Phaidon Press, 1996)
  2. Architecture of Truth (Phaidon Press, 2001)
  3. Leçons du Thoronet (Images En Manoeuvres Editions 2006)
  4. El Croquis 127 (Pause for Thought, John Pawson 1995/2005)
  5. John Pawson Works (Phaidon Press, Original edition 2000)
  6. John Pawson, Themes and Projects (IVAM/Phaidon Press, 2002)
  7. Living and Eating (Ebury Press/Clarkson Potter, 2001)
  8. "Barn" (Booth-Clibborn Editions, 1999)
  9. "John Pawson" (Gustavo Gili 1992, 1998)
  10. "Critic Volume 3: John Pawson" (Daishinsha Inc. 1995)


  1. ^ ""Pathetic" architecture watchdog gives Dezeen ultimatum over Pawson story". Dezeen. 1 August 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Chevalier, Michel (2012). Luxury Brand Management. Singapore: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-17176-9. 
  3. ^ John Pawson: Plain Space, Rowan Moore, The Observer, 19 September 2010
  4. ^ Kieran Long "John Pawson shows aspiration without arrogance", Evening Standard (thisislondon website), 21 September 2010

External links[edit]