This month id explores the architectural dreams and destinations created by Alejandro Aravena and Mark Foster Gage.
ELEMENTAL by Alejandro Aravena et al. Phaidon
A rare attribute, sincerity is a quality that deserves not only praise but space in which its fruits can flourish. That’s why this exciting new volume, Elemental, ought to be on the reading list of every architect. This first monograph of Chilean Pritzker Prize-winner Alejandro Aravena is a visually honest tome of ideas and inspiration as to how architecture is changing in the 21st century.
Embracing a tone that’s far removed from the glitz of the typical coffee table read, the book’s 256 pages are organised into eight sections (including the foreword and index). It offers a simple, powerful visual story featuring 300 colour photographs and illustrations that establish an honest mood, rather than a hyper-stylised vision of Aravena’s practice or his oeuvre.
His projects are phenomenal, as he chooses to specialise in innovative, humane, public-interest projects on both large and small scales across Chile, the United States, Mexico, Switzerland and China.
A true design hero, Aravena possesses a writing style and a philosophy that are as persuasive and fine-tuned as his architecture. He is both a voice of the people and of his discipline, and this book confirms his powerful sensibility and the necessity of his contributions as we imagine a better world.
MARK FOSTER GAGE, PROJECTS AND PROVOCATIONS By Mark Foster Gage Rizzoli
For two decades NYC-based Mark Foster Gage has grabbed the limelight with star clients that include hospitality and retail giants, and a compulsion to venture into the 21st-century digital playground for inspiration. This captivating new book reveals how he envisions the cultural relevancy and legacy of his work.
Each of the book’s seven main sections aims to create a foundation and platform for reading his architectural projects. From a foreword by Robert A. M. Stern to the author’s admirable evocation of philosophical texts and a dialogue created to honour the late Dame Zaha Hadid, Gage is clearly looking to position his work in the midst of important contemporary cultural discussions.
The 272 pages include more than 300 colour photos of built and unbuilt work from around the globe, from a kaleidoscopic retail store in Hong Kong to a 102-storey tower in New York City. The work shown goes beyond architecture to the realms of fashion, product design and fine art, and includes Gage’s celebrated Valentine sculpture for Times Square, a 3D-printed outfit for Lady Gaga, a digitally interactive store for H&M, solar flowers and robotic tulips.
Fearless and confident, Gage’s book will find admirers among creatives, designers and fellow starchitects.