John Pawson's World of Colour: Yellow
See everything from the Buddhas of Myanmar to the cornfields of England via Pawson’s Spectrum
It is fortunate that John Pawson is perhaps not the world’s greatest draughtsman - he recently said “I take photographs because I don’t really sketch fluidly".
A perceived lack of penmanship would be a hindrance for most architects and designers. However, Pawson – Britain’s most celebrated minimalist architect - makes up for any perceived insufficiencies on paper by shooting the most exquisite photographs, using his camera as a stand-in for a sketchpad.
Our latest John Pawson book, Spectrum, is a multi-coloured photo essay, featuring 320 of John’s shots arranged in colour order. Today we're reproducing some of Spectrum’s yellow imagery. Some pictures, such as the Saint-Tropez photo below, can be seen as the direct result of an architectural project: Pawson created a series of houses in the French resort town in 2006-2013.
Others seem to form a more basic, everyday visual record; consider the light on the fluted, neoclassical stone columns of the Belgravia area of London; or the simple landscape of clouds and corn that forms the basis for his photograph of a wheat field in Eastleach, Gloucestershire.
Others still, such as his 2013 photo of one of the Buddha statues of Bagan, in the Mandalay region of Myanmar, seem to shake up Pawson’s minimalist viewpoint, with unexpected, oriental design features.
Not every shot offers insight into the architectural process, yet viewed together they afford insight into the kind of visual sensibility that sets Pawson apart from lesser architects, no matter how handy they are with pen or pencil.