Self and Shelf: Foster House Project and Furniture for New Office


Between the completion of the Sainsbury Centre and the start of the Hong Kong project, Foster benefited from the relaxation of commitments to undertake a personal project, a house for himself in Hampstead. The design, of which full size mockups were executed, was finally never built, but perhaps in this case it did not matter. Understood as a generic experiment, the house was in fact the ultimate construction kit to assemble a clear-span box detailed with aluminium panels and perforated plates. Clearly inspired by Eames and Fuller, Foster has also mentioned his debt to Chareau; however, the architectural logic of the container springs directly from the Sainsbury Centre, although here the double skin has not been used throughout, prompting the expressive use of the structure that was to appear later in Hong Kong. When the complexity of this commission forced the practice to move, Foster profited from the opportunity to undertake another personal project, a system of furniture and fittings for the new office, which carries the structural expressionism of the period to an almost parodic manifesto. Produced experimentally for the Great Portland Street premises, and in a small run for Renault Centre, this furniture was the basis of the 1985 Nomos System for Tecno...[+]

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