Sotheby’s to Offer Artek Pavilion by Shigeru Ban at Sale

Wood Plastic Composites as Important 20th Century Design.

Sotheby’s offers the Artek Pavilion by internationally recognized architect Shigeru Ban in collaboration with UPM, one of the world’s leading forest products groups, as part of the June 14, 2008 sale of Important 20th Century Design. Made primarily from recycled wood plastic composites (WPC), this prefabricated pavilion, which has been exhibited in Milan, Helsinki, and Miami, demonstrates the ingenuity of design in offering alternative environmentally friendly spaces in the 20th century. The Artek Pavilion is estimated to sell for $800,000/1.2 million* and is being offered on behalf of Proventus, the majority owner of Artek, with the proceeds being donated to arts and culture affiliated charities.

James Zematis, Senior Vice President and Head of the 20th Century Design Department at Sotheby’s, said, “Shigeru Ban’s Artek Pavilion is a timely symbol of sustainability. Highly acclaimed when it was exhibited in Milan, Helsinki and Miami, it will be sold during a summer season in New York that will include the much-anticipated exhibition on domestic prefabrication at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. How many collectors have wondered, ‘What if Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion had been saved?’ We are proud to be offering a masterwork that will be studied in future classes of 21st century architecture.”

Internationally renowned architect Shigeru Ban designed the Artek Pavilion, “the Space of Silence,” in collaboration with forest products group UPM using mainly one material: extruded profile out of wood plastic composite, made primarily from recycled materials. The principle raw material for this recycled material is self-adhesive label materials made of paper and plastic. The architecture of the pavilion was designed around a structural-unit concept, repeated multiple times in forming an elongated shed-like building.

The pavilion was also designed to be re-assembled, and the elements were pre-built and assembled in Finland. One module of the pavilion, which consists of a roof, wall and structural elements, is approximately 2 meters wide; this module is repeated 21 times. The entire pavilion is 40 meters long and 5 meters wide and can be taken down and re-assembled easily. This nomadic construction, an unconventional piece of ecological innovation with elegant beauty, stands for Artek’s attitude to sustainable development, amplifying the dialogue between design, architecture and art.

Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has been a remarkable trailblazer in applying ecological thinking and the principles of sustainable development to architectural design. Ban’s architecture emphasizes refinement and innovation,
especially in his choice of material technologies. His original and bold approaches to the use of paper, cardboard and bamboo as construction materials, combined with a cleanlined and contemporary architectural aesthetic, have made him one of the most important architects of our time. In 1995, he started Voluntary Architects’ Network (VAN), sharing his awareness of housing shortages and deplorable living conditions in various parts of the world. Ban’s work reflects the influences of both American architectural training and the traditions of his native Japan.

The Artek Pavilion was first presented by Artek and the forest products group UPM in April of 2007, in Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, Italy, in the triennial garden, a legendary platform in international design. In September of 2007, the Pavilion was erected in Helsinki, Finland in the area between the Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Design Museum. In December of 2007, the nomadic pavilion was reconstructed and placed on exhibition for the third time at Design Miami, Florida.

Pavilions as architectural manifestations and exhibition spaces for furniture and lighting have had a significant role throughout Artek’s history. They have had global influence in the fields of architecture and design as tangible representations of an era – and materialize the on-going Artek ideology of promoting humane and innovative design in the present. The most well known examples of these pavilions go back to the 1930s, to the Paris (1936-37) and New York (1939) World Fairs. These pavilions were designed by the Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto and furnished by Artek, the company he founded in 1935.

Photo of the pavillon at Artdaily


Artdaily, 2008-04-29.