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Parent’s Buildings

Claude Parent’s new Paris-based exhibition re-establishes him as a pivotal force in European architecture after decades of neglect, writes The New York Times. The show, which takes place at the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, Paris’s architecture museum, is full of concrete forms with curved edges, jutting shelves, glass reflections and corroded metals. “Mr. Parent’s work, most of which was designed in the 1960s and 1970s, appears to point a finger at our own world. Its concrete forms, full of ramped spaces and oblique angles, come across as acts of defiance, against both the excesses of global consumer culture and the architects who are hired to dress it up. Its confidence would be impossible to summon today. Parent began his career as France was just emerging from its postwar misery, and like others of his generation — Serge Gainsbourg and Boris Vian were contemporaries — he cultivated a theatrical persona and an open distaste for bourgeois uptightness. He was often seen zipping around Paris in an Army jeep or a Bentley convertible. His dream, he said recently, was that architecture would one day share a place in the popular consciousness with soft drinks.”
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