Nigel Coates

Nigel Coates, Caffe Bongo, 1988 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Nigel Coates (*), Caffè Bongo, Tokyo, 1988. Graphite, acrylic and oil pastel on paper, 420 × 590 mm. © The architect.

Executed after it opened, this drawing captures the intended vibrancy of one of my first built projects, a café tacked onto the front of a department store in downtown Shibuya. The architectural bricolage of the built space translated well into the mixed media technique of splurged acrylic paint, caked-on oil pastel and heavy pencil. At the time these techniques were more akin to fine art practice than to the orthogonal geometrics of conventional architectural drawing. The project itself freely mixes classical references like the giant column and the aircraft wing with accumulated waste that was built into the rear walls. The space was Piranesian but the storytelling and detail was more Mad Max.

– Nigel Coates

Nigel Coates will be speaking on ‘Narrative Architecture’ as part of Design Directions, at the Design Museum, London, on Monday 13th March


On the confluence of thinking as it manifested itself through drawing in the late 1980s and other works coming out of the AA, coincident with those of Nigel Coates and Bernard Tschumi on narrative – OMA and Zaha Hadid's Expansion of the Dutch Parliament and OMA's Rotterdam Boompjes Tower; on another gravity-defying tower in Japan, Nobuo Sekine; on the expressionist hand, though early in the 20C, Hans Poelzig; and for narrative as it enters the storyboards of Superstudio or the sketchbooks of Peter Wilson.