Our studio is honored to share the inspirational words by Arjan Janssen, regarding a project we designed for him.

Pavilion A . Breda, Netherlands

If my visual work is brought closer in relation to architecture than the emphasis is often on the expansive, monumental qualities. The paintings, drawings and installations are placed to conquer space. To expand. One in a brutal way and out of the room. To make the experience more meaningful. The collaboration with Brito.Rodriguez has other intentions. Here, the focus is just on the intimacy. The gentle forces are addressed. It is directed inward. Intrinsic qualities are sought for.

Inês Martins de Brito and Gilberto Rodriguez are sensitive architects who make careful decisions to come to a high quality architecture. They are not impressed by grand gestures, but with the nuances of interventions. For me, this is a breath of fresh air compared to the known power architecture. I have the honor that Brito.Rodriguez has designed a studio where I could work. The location is in a wooded area nearby where I live and where I have taken many walks. It is a typical Dutch landscape in which nature, living and working intertwine. We Dutch have little space to use.

Pavilion A is a wonderful design in which I would come fully to my right as an artist. My art moves between being withdrawn into myself and being outwardly directed. A tension that requires a delicate balance. Pavilion A has features of a monastery and is aimed at me with a moral imperative: take your time and dare to isolate yourself. It is a place of profound concentration where works are developed without compromises.

Although my work is always vertically oriented, it is important it is grounded. I try to achieve this by the way I work with the material. You can see and feel the working process in the lines and in the paint. In the composition there are always elements which pull the work downwards. This is important because I think that a human being is willing to transcend, but doomed to fail. It is an ongoing process. Rising up and falling down. Pavilion A underlines this because it gives me a position beneath the surface.

The best way to experience the Dutch landscape is from above. Out of an airplane for instance. From this perspective you can see the urge to planning. And effective dealing with the limited space. You feel that the straight lines from Mondrian could only have been developed over here. I don’t see this happening in Austria... Another characteristic is the strong presence of the horizon and the abundance of open space above. Considering a human being as being vertical, you have the two basic elements from my work present everywhere. 

Pavilion A is developed from out of this view, from above. Brito.Rodriguez did not mess with the characteristic features from the Dutch landscape, but instead used the power of it. It is great that the architects have managed to create a design that focuses both on the landscape and on the artist, without denying themselves but rather coming to a strong work in which all their ambitions and abilities have come into its own.

Arjan Janssen . artist