The drawings, models, and materials included in the exhibition illustrate the respective forms of authorship that emerge from the processes Riva and Jain put into place.
While Riva designs everything himself, devoting attention to all scales of a project from schematic and construction drawings to furniture details, Jain engages the specialized knowledge of traditional craftsmen and sources local methods and materials to shape the distinct character of each project.
Umberto Riva dismantles traditional ideas of spatial organization based on distinct rooms by designing sequences of interconnected spaces to accommodate inhabitants and their activities. The renovated plan of the one-person apartment Casa Insinga (Milan, Italy, 1987), for example, directs the occupant’s progression toward a large living room at the apartment’s centre through the careful placement of oak partition walls set at different angles.
Custom furniture, such as a wooden dining table attached to the wall marking the beginning of the living area, organizes the space according to a careful consideration of its potential use.
Working within the existing Indian construction system, Bijoy Jain collaborates with locally trained craftsmen and uses regional materials and methods that arise from each project’s specific constraints. The courtyard plays the role of a versatile room and is a recurring component in Jain’s designs in the Ahmedabad House (Ahmedabad, India, 2012–14), for example, courtyards serve as semipublic “interior” zones that provide shade in a hot and dry climate and are regularly used for large family and business gatherings.
The title “Rooms You May Have Missed” reflects the exhibition’s exploration of interior spaces shaped by the user’s habits, but also suggests the need to look beyond common North American references. In that vein, the exhibition points to other models that are based on considerations of climate, social customs, the role of artisans as collaborators, and a targeted and sophisticated integration with local resources and traditions.
The installation is designed by the architects for the CCA in a way that extends the curatorial interest in “rooms.” Riva and Jain alter the character of the museum space by reshaping the galleries as spaces that both present and embody their approaches to architecture.
Each design displays a large variety of drawings and plans, archival and recent photographs, working models, material studies and color samples, sketches and notes by collaborators, furniture, and lamps.
The accompanying graphic design is by the New York-based firm Common Name. In addition to creating the installations, Jain and Riva have generously donated a large part of their work from the exhibition to the CCA. The acquisition of these projects further enriches the contemporary European and Indian holdings of the CCA’s international research collection.
from November 4, 2014 until April 19, 2015
Rooms You May Have Missed
Umberto Riva, Bijoy Jain
curated by Mirko Zardini
Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA)
1920, rue Baile