'I like art that's against the mainstream, slightly off, with a twist' says UNStudio's Caroline Bos

by Andrew Manns | 16 Apr 2019
Bernini was a role model, someone who was incredibly successful as both a sculptor and as an architect.
– Caroline Bos, co-founder of UNStudio

Speaking exclusively with CLAD, Caroline Bos, co-founder of architecture practice UNStudio, reveals her creative influences and explains why she sees the Baroque sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini as a role model.

Born in the Netherlands, Bos studied art history at Birkbeck College, University of London and urban and regional planning at the University of Utrecht. In 1988 she teamed up with Ben van Berkel to create the interdisciplinary atelier that would later become the award-winning UNStudio.

Many of the firm's projects, such as Raffles City in Hangzhou, China and The Green Spine in Melbourne, Australia are distinguished by their twisting, dramatic structural elements – aspects that bring to mind the aesthetics of the Baroque movement.

"In the 1980s, the Baroque architects were seminal," Bos told CLAD.

"There were interesting studies done by theoreticians about the Italian Baroque architect Guarino Guarini at that time," she continued, "but Gian Lorenzo Bernini was even more inspiring.

Bernini – widely regarded as one of the most consequential artists of the 17th century – is perhaps best known for his life-like statues, the most notable being Apollo and Daphne and the Ecstasy of Teresa Avila.

Bos said: "He was considered by architects then as over-the-top, but to us, Bernini was a role model; someone who was incredibly successful as both a sculptor and an architect."

Another one of her early influences was the Renaissance architect and engineer Filippo Brunelleschi – the man who designed the dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence.

"His use of proportion is beautiful," Bos said.

Despite her appreciation for the Baroque, Bos also acknowledges she has a taste for non-traditional, avant-garde forms, saying: "I always try to find new fascinations I can return to. That's consistent with what I like in art. It has to be against the mainstream, slightly off, with a twist."

Read the full interview with Caroline Bos in CLADmag here.

Caroline Bos 
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'I like art that's against the mainstream, slightly off, with a twist' says UNStudio's Caroline Bos
Speaking exclusively with CLAD, Caroline Bos, co-founder of Dutch architecture practice UNStudio, described her artistic influences and explained why she saw the Baroque-era sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini as a "role model".