Nigel Coates
Body as a metaphor of architecture...
Fl. Z., May 29, 2015
Nigel Coates/Mixtacity_Global cities
Nigel Coates/Mixtacity_Global cities
Fl.Z: Considering that many of your works have fluid and organic forms, I guess materials are quite important in the design process. Do you find it challenging to experiment with new materials?

Nigel Coates: Always, but I think there are also materials that are the right ones for a particular expression, so in the case of the Body Zone the actual structure was steel with a shell of concrete, but very thin, and then we wanted to find a material which expressed a kind of silky sensuality to the surface. What we chose was a tile, a plastic tile, which changed colour according to the angle that you looked at it; although one wouldn't necessarily think that plastic could create this skin-like effect the net result was to make an extraordinary skin, a kind of hyper skin that was derived from that material, but then, in other cases, I in furniture or objects, whether it's plastic or wood or some techno-material depends very much on the project.

Nigel Coates/Mixtacity_Global cities
Nigel Coates/Mixtacity_Global cities
Fl.Z: Why did you choose to build an ancient Roman wall for "The Wall" in Tokyo? What was the meaning behind building something which belongs to a totally different culture?

Nigel Coates:
Well it was partly to do with what they were asking me to do and why I was brought to Japan in the first place and it was because I came from "Old Europe" and yet I had a contemporary way of doing things. The client in that case asked for a building which looked as though it had been there forever but was a symbol of the 21st century, so I thought, "We can play a bit here," and I decided to come up with a piece of Roman wall because of the absurdity of the idea that the Romans have been in Japan, which of course they haven't. It sort of fitted the mood of what people in Tokyo were looking for in terms of being kind of...not just given build Western kind of architecture but they were fascinated by the heritage of European buildings so it was an artistic response to what I had been asked to do and then it had very practical resonances because I knew a couple of builders from a village in Italy and I thought it would be fantastic and increase the authenticity of this wall if I took these guys from here and took them to Tokyo, which is what I did, so these two muratori, came to Tokyo and built the façade in the way they know how to do, whereas the Japanese builders had no idea on how to make this kind of combination of stone and brick, that is normal in Italy, at least in the countryside. Well, the Japanese words for brick and tile are the same, so the concept of tile of course is totally different is "stuck on" whereas the concept of bricks is to make something structural, with substance. 

Nigel Coates/Mixtacity_Global cities
Nigel Coates/Mixtacity_Global cities
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