Iwan Baan: Architectural Narratives at VITRA Museum

VITRA Museum Celebrates Iwan Baan’s Architectural Insight
VITRA Museum Celebrates Iwan Baan’s Architectural Insight

The VITRA Design Museum in Germany presents the first comprehensive retrospective of Iwan Baan’s internationally acclaimed work, from October 21, 2023, to March 3, 2024. The exhibition, titled Iwan Baan: Moments in Architecture, showcases the photographer’s wide-ranging vision by offering a sweeping view of global architecture in the early twenty-first century, revealing its urban and social realities and the people who inhabit it. Iwan Baan Exhibition’s images capture the expansion of global megacities, investigate traditional and informal housing patterns, and depict buildings by eminent contemporary architects, such as Rem Koolhaas, Herzog & de Meuron, Kazuyo Sejima, and Tatiana Bilbao.

1. Portrait Iwan Baan © Vitra Design Museum - ph. Mark Niedermann

Humanity & Architecture: The Iwan Baan Perspective

Digital media has transformed the fields of photography and architecture in the last thirty years. Iwan Baan is the photographer who has influenced these changes the most. His photography is fast, accurate, and sharp – and it can also be profoundly human and poetic. He has the skill to make a building look stunning, but he also records the moments when architecture comes alive, when projects are created, when workers relax, when people settle in or leave. 

2. Iwan Baan, National Taichung Theatre, Taiwan, 2016, Architecture: Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects © Iwan Baan

The Iwan Baan Exhibition at the VITRA Design Museum highlights precisely this quality of the work of the Dutch photographer: the ability to immortalize the beauty and grandeur of architectural works through the intersections with human life. Cities and buildings become living organisms that interact with man in a relationship of mutual influence.

3. Iwan Baan, House H, Tokyo, Japan, 2009, Architecture: Sou Fujimoto Architects © Iwan Baan

A Journey in Baan’s Vision and Portfolio

The exhibition showcases a range of Baan’s emblematic works, many of which are well-known from publications and books, as well as photographs of traditional and informal architecture from various parts of the world, from the circular Tulou of southern China to the rock-carved churches of Ethiopia. 

4. Installation view »Iwan Baan: Moments in Architecture« © Vitra Design Museum Photo: Mark Niedermann

The exhibition, in its multimedia presentation with print and digital formats, takes visitors on a journey through Iwan Baan’s extensive portfolio of work from the past two decades, illustrating his insights into the diverse expressions of human creativity around the world. 

5. Exterior view Vitra Design Museum »Iwan Baan: Moments in Architecture« © Vitra Design Museum Photo: Mark Niedermann
«What’s important is the story, which is very intuitive and fluid. I am not so interested in the timeless architectural image as much as the specific moment in time, the place, and the people there – all the unexpected, unplanned moments in and around the space, how people interact with that space, and the stories that are unfolding there» said Iwan Baan about the exhibition.

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