"SANAA: Works, 1998-2008"
March 28 - June 15 2008
Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA have, in a short time, developed from a relatively little-known Japanese partnership to an internationally esteemed firm responsible for high-profile projects including The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, the Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio, and our museum, the New Museum in New York. Often referred to as an architect’s architect, SANAA has avoided a signature style while embracing qualities of light, transparency, and openness. The show (in the gallery, the café, and lobby) marks SANAA’s first comprehensive exhibition in New York and presents commissions and projects made over a ten-year period, characterized by an alchemy of understatement, lightness, warmth, and respect for human scale.

SANAA’s work is luminous and deceptively simple, sophisticated in its treatment of complex building details and fluid, nonhierarchical space. Their inventive use of exterior façades as permeable membranes establish subtle but provocative relationships between interior and exterior, individual and community, and the realms of public and private experience. Their intricate use of variation, unevenness, and off-centeredness emphasizes the relationship of architectural elements not as discrete entities along a single axis, but rather how they relate to one another. The models and plans in “SANAA: Works 1998-2008” reveal an intense interconnectedness between, for instance, commercial building projects such as the Christian Dior Bulding in Omotesando, Tokyo, Japan (2001-2003) and Vitrashop Factory Hall in Basel, Switzerland (2004—); domestic architecture like the House in a Plum Grove, Tokyo, Japan (2001-2003) and Flower House, Suiza, Switzerland (2006—); and cultural projects including the Zollverein School of Management and Design, Essen, Germany (2003—); EPFL Learning Center, Lausanne, Switzerland (2004—); and the highly anticipated Louvre-Lens, France (2005—).

Smaller, complementary prototypes, furniture, and housewares are presented in visual conversation with SANAA’s building designs. Among the already existing SANAA-designed tables and Rabbit chairs in the New Museum’s café, is a model of SANAA’s Flower chair; a set of Alessi Tea & Coffee Towers; and a hanahana (flowerflower) stand with fresh flowers.
The exhibition is a collaboration between Lisa Phillips, Toby Devan Lewis Director, Karen Wong, Director of External Affairs, and SANAA.
New Museum curator
Staff member
Public Program
Building Initiative
Courtesy the Artist and New Museum