Bijoy Jain is the founder of the celebrated architecture practice Studio Mumbai, which has made a name for itself with projects blending both Indian and Western traditions. Drawing upon local resources and Indian craftsmanship Studio Mumbai creates highly contemporary designs that stand out by their attention to detail and a careful consideration of place.
The Fondation Cartier has given Bijoy Jain carte blanche to create an exhibition at its high-tech glass and steel building on Paris’ boulevard Raspail. The result is a space of contemplation in dialogue with Jean Nouvel’s iconic building.
Together with Chinese artist Hu Liu and Danish/Turkish ceramist Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye, Bijoy Jain has created an immersive environment to showcase his and his studio’s thinking. Instead of drawings, models and architectural renderings there are stone and terracotta sculptures, delicate bamboo structures and stone and wooden chairs and benches that visitors are invited to sit on. I wasn’t quite sure what one was allowed to touch and what not, so I may have missed out on part of the intended sensory experience.
It was quite crowded when I visited, which took away from the ambiance and also detracted from my overall experience. This may have been due to the fact that it was a Friday afternoon. If you're looking for a more peaceful and less crowded experience, you might consider visiting on a weekday, either early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
“Breath of an Architect” is not the Bijoy Jain/Studio Mumbai retrospective that I’d been hoping to see, but I’m more than glad I visited the exhibition. If the stage design for one of my future dance performances looks like a Japanese zen garden with blocks of concrete instead of rocks, you know where I got the inspiration from.
The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated book offering an exploration of Bijoy Jain’s aesthetic and philosophy.
Bijoy Jain / Studio Mumbai. Breath of an Architect is at the Fondation Cartier in Paris until 21 April 2024.
If you’re visiting the Fondation Cartier I highly recommend crossing the road to also pay a visit to the nearby Institut Giacometti at 5 Rue Victor Schoelcher.