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Jean Nouvel: The Architect Designer

Jean Nouvel describes himself as an architect designer, rather than a ‘designer’ designer, as Alice Blackwood and Mandi Keighran find out when they meet with him on the Pallucco stand in Milan.

Jean Nouvel: The Architect Designer


May 19th, 2011

“When I design, I do the design of an architect, not a designer,” says Nouvel, his voice carrying across the throng of people at the Pallucco lighting stand at the Milan Furniture Fair.

“It’s not the same attitude. I think the design of architects is more linked in to the evolution of techniques, and to a sober attitude.”


Photo by Sue Stubbs

His ’Micro Telescopic’ light for Pallucco, launched in Milan this year, is the result of extensive research into lighting effects.


Here the ’Telescopic’ offers a series of illuminative situations, from spotlight intensity (the long structure extended to its full 2.2 metre length), to a wide cone of light (when collapsed to its shortest length).

The adaptability of this light is an important feature; its ability to adjust to the height of a space, its flexibility in length.


“What I like is always the idea of a very elementary object. Very sober, simple,” says Nouvel. And with the ’Telescopic’, “always the adaptation of this object to different situations”.


Design aside, Nouvel is first and foremost an architect, and currently working on his first Australian project: One Central Park in Sydney.

The project will boast the world’s tallest Vertical Garden (designed by French botanist Patrick Blanc).


“I was surprised to discover that in Sydney it had never [been done],” says Nouvel.

“It’s not the tradition [in Australia]; but it could be better in some situations to have vegetation linking to apartments and terraces.

“So I proposed we do it,” says Nouvel. “It was a bit difficult and a little bit of an adventure for my client.


“But I think it’s important for us to give the desire to people to go in this way.”


Photo by Peter Bennetts. Top image of Jean Nouvel by Gaston Bergeret

Read more about the Vertical Garden at One Central Park here.

Visit the One Central Park website here.

Pallucco lighting is available in Australia through Lighting Partners Australia.

Ateliers Jean Nouvel

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