The John Edwards Lecture: Thom Mayne, Morphosis, in dialogue with Frédéric Flamand

Mon 7 December 2009 7.00pm

  • Thom Mayne in conversation with Frédéric Flamand, chaired by Anthony Bowne
  • Thom Mayne, speaking at the Starr Auditorium
  • Thom Mayne in conversation with Frédéric Flamand, chaired by Anthony Bowne

The John Edwards Lecture is a new annual dialogue presenting leading international architects in conversation with influential figures from other disciplines, from artists and filmmakers to writers and philosophers. The inaugural lecture presents Pritzker Prize winning architect Thom Mayne, from Los Angeles practice Morphosis, in discussion with renowned choreographer and Director of Le Ballet National de Marseille, Frédéric Flamand.

Thom Mayne is an architectural provocateur, fearlessly devoted to the present and the future, and the negotiation between concept and reality. His architecture appears as futuristic constructivism, but its jagged forms are loaded with rigorous ecological and social considerations.

As founder and design director of Morphosis, Thom speaks for a practice dedicated to interdisciplinary research and design, and architecture as a collaborative enterprise. Morphosis’ work has been the subject of major solo exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou and the Netherlands Architecture Institute, and has been featured in the past four Venice Architectural Biennales. This year, their new building for Cooper Union in New York opened to widespread international acclaim; major projects for Shanghai, Dallas and Paris are currently underway.

In 2003 Mayne completed a 2,400 square foot stage set for Frédéric Flamand’s production of Silent Collisions.

Frédéric Flamand has staged dance performances in empty swimming pools, abandoned churches and steel mills: anywhere that allows him to investigate the point of intersection between the body and built form. This interest has led him into a number of acclaimed collaborations with some of the most important figures in contemporary architecture, including Zaha Hadid, Jean Nouvel, Elizabeth Diller & Ricardo Scofidio. His choreography freely mixes the traditions of ballet with his own formative grounding in avant-garde theatre and contemporary dance, in a constant dialogue with technology, the city, and other art forms. For his next collaboration in 2010, Flamand will work with Chinese artist and architect, Ai Weiwei.

Mayne and Flamand’s Silent Collisions inaugurated Body ↔ City, the first International Festival of Contemporary Dance at the Venice Biennale, programmed by Flamand as Artistic Director. Freely inspired by Italo Calvino’s book “Invisible Cities”, they collaboratively developed an approach to the city that emphasized urbanity as a place of exchanged words, desires and memories, through the medium of the human body.

The first John Edwards Lecture will investigate the rhythms of urban life; the structuring of space through the built environment and the body; and architecture as a form of urban choreography.

We are delighted to be able to present Thom and Frédéric in London for this special event, and to launch this annual conversation connecting architecture with other disciplines, and extending the dialogue around what architecture is, and can, be.

The conversation will be chaired by Anthony Bowne, Director, Laban.

San Francisco Federal Building © Morphosis Architects. Photograph by Tim Griffith.
Silent Collisions, Frédéric Flamand / Thom Mayne, Ballet National de Marseille. Photograph by Pino Pipitone.

Download press release here

Supported by the Estate of Francis Bacon

With thanks to Eurostar: the greenest and fastest way to London