Japanese studio Kengo Kuma & Associates completes the Antoni Clavé Archives in Paris at the Catalan artist’s first atelier.
Kengo Kuma shows us once again how versatile his studio can be, passing from projects addressing social inclusion like Casa Umbrella, to the new port of Copenhagen and extraordinary constructions in bamboo.
Unfolding under the slate roof of a classic Parisian manor, the archives are found in rue Boissonade, in the 14th arrondissement, where a luminous space that once acted as a studio for the painter has kept its creative roots.
After passing through the ranks of the Republican Army during the Spanish Civil War, painter Antoni Clavé finally found refuge in Paris, where he came in with famous artists like Pablo Picasso and an effervescent art scene. Known as a versatile artist himself, Clavé was an extraordinary painter, whose abstract pieces were often dominated by a materialistic texture exploding from the canvas.
Inspired by Clavé’s creative repertoire, Kengo Kuma has crafted a subtle and graceful tribute to the artist through unbelievable materials. The 190 square meter structure, reaching up to the mezzanine just underneath the sloping roof, is filled with neutral colors and white paper partitions with grainy surfaces.
Screens with mottled meshes of paper pulp recall fresh canvases and the rich textures of Clavé’s paintings. A simple solution that allowed architects to create harmonious spaces through a layering of levels. Just like the pages of washi (traditional Japanese paper), they are made essentially opaque thanks to the repeated immersion in a starchy liquid made from kozo (mulberry) and aibika (hibiscus). Realized by Yasuo Kobayashi, a master craftsman based in Niigata, the panels help soften up the slightly industrial environments.
Beyond his paintings, the archive also holds some of the pieces from the artist’s vast multi-disciplinary productions, which spanned from lithographs to engravings, sculptures, and costume design.