Bijoy Jain, founder of architectural practice Studio Mumbai, designed the third MPavilion—open in Melbourne, Australia from October 4 2016 - February 18, 2017.
Bijoy Jain was born in 1965 and grew up in Juhu on the coast near Mumbai. As a child was obsessed with water. He was a member of the Indian swimming team, and at the age of 18 swam the English Channel.
He studied architecture in the United States, receiving his M.Arch from Washington University in St Louis, USA in 1990. He worked in Los Angeles on the Getty Centre amongst other things, and in London, before returning to India in 1995 to establish Studio Mumbai.
Studio Mumbai is unlike any other modern architecture practice. The studio works collaboratively with local artisans, craftspeople and draftsmen to design and build projects through an explorative creative process. This includes large scale mock-ups, models big–and–small, material studies, sketches and drawings. The studio’s projects are developed with care and consideration of place and practise while drawing from traditional skills, local building techniques and materials, and the ingenuity that arises from limited resources. The studio’s expression in built form—and Bijoy Jain’s practice—is deeply informed by the concept of ‘lore’, defined as “a body of traditional knowledge passed on by word of mouth”.
Studio Mumbai’s distinct creative process and ethos from conception to built form has received wide-reaching admiration. The studio presented at the XII Venice Biennale and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. It has received awards including the Global Award in Sustainable Architecture 2009; Finland’s Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award 2012; the BSI Swiss Architecture Award 2012; and the Grande Medaille d’Or 2014 from the Academie D’Architecture in Paris. Bijoy Jain has taught in Copenhagen, at the Yale School of Architecture and the Mendrisio Academy of Architecture.
MPavilion commissioner Naomi Milgrom explaining her decision to commission Bijoy Jain of Studio Mumbai to design the 2016 MPavilion.
Architect Bijoy Jain speaking about his commission for MPavilion 2016.
Jain is interested in the concept of ‘lore’ – the body of traditions and knowledge of a subject held by a particular group, typically passed from person to person by word of mouth.
This concept was integral to the 2016 build, which Bijoy elaborated on in the lead up the opening of the pavilion.
Prior to construction, Studio Mumbai worked on several handmade prototypes in their workshop outside of Mumbai.
Bijoy Jain leads a team of skilled artisans and craftspeople to create buildings based on human competences, local building techniques, materials and an ingenuity arising from limited resources. Projects are realised through an extensive process of model making, material studies and sketches, and careful consideration of the surrounding environment.
A timelapse of the prototyping process from Studio Mumbai's workshop.
Watch the whole construction process in less than a minute.
MPavilion 2016 architect, Bijoy Jain:
Having been commissioned to do the MPavilion I’m now enjoying the open expansiveness to what this pavilion can be – the idea for me is that its central to the idea of a pavilion – in fact the intention of the endeavour. This idea to explore possibilities that are not necessarily limited to place, objects and things or more importantly be more inclusive - that MPavilion shares fundamental cultural values that are not necessarily Australian, Indian or American but that is something we all universally share. For me these are the things that are crucial to the idea of MPavilion.
MPavilion 2016 architect, Bijoy Jain:
Materials, proportions, the bespoke nature of the MPavilion project – for me the interest is in everyday things that we often dismiss/ become familiar with - it’s the idea of moving between the familiar and unfamiliar. Its about work calibration and how work is calibrated amongst a team of architects, craftsmen engineers – I am more like a conductor of an orchestra where I think what’s important, is to draw the strength or see the talent and draw that out – I’m calling that material too - not just a physical tangible material but the cross-pollination of the physical object. The physical material itself but also the hand and the body that makes it. Not necessarily what’s made by hand but that culture transfer that makes what we do and how we make things.
MPavilion 2016 architect, Bijoy Jain (continued):
The idea of “caring” in architecture – whatever we do - whether its architecture, write music, or write literature, mathematics – for me what’s important is that there is thoughtfulness and attentiveness. It’s that moment of being attentive and inattentive - this idea of ebb and flow - working within that realm of understanding our own body in relationship to what’s around us. This idea of what makes space and of its relationship between two points or multiple points and this is how I translate this idea of care. The actions that I do or the things that I make in some ways is inclusive of what’s around me and thoughtful.
MPavilion 2016 architect, Bijoy Jain of Studio Mumbai, speaking about his philosophy behind his build during opening week.