John Pawson has been designing buildings and objects for more than twenty-five years, with work realised on four continents for a wide range of clients and covering a breadth of scales and programmes. From the beginning his approach to making architecture has drawn comparisons with the art movement known as Minimalism. More helpful, perhaps, is its characterisation as an attitude to space, light and proportion.
Pawson grew up in Yorkshire in the north of England, with four older sisters. On finishing school he worked in the family textile business, before moving to Japan where he spent four years teaching English and traveling around the country, ending up in Tokyo where he visited the studio of the Japanese designer, Shiro Kuramata. He enrolled at the Architecture Association shortly after his return to London, but left following only a brief period of study to take up the commissions which were already coming in.
Although his work has been described as having an abstract quality, it is rigorously grounded in a precise understanding of the grain of everyday life. Whether a house, store, gallery, bridge, monastery or cookpot, for Pawson the fundamental challenge is always the same: how people, space and objects may be brought into harmony with one another.