Art market Magazine June 2016

 
ARCHITECTURE 
 
Jean-François Miloun at Singapore…
ARCHITECTURE

Jean-François Miloun at Singapore
ean-François Milou receives us in his Paris studio in the Marais district. The man is tall – very tall. Asia? He knows it well. With
expertise assignments for UNESCO in Nepal and India and various projects carried out in Vietnam and Georgia (the Caucasus), the French architect has spent a considerable time exploring the continent and its architectural treasures, including Bagan (Myanmar) and Angkor (Cambodia). A family characteristic he undoubtedly inherited from his father, a philosophy lecturer at the University of Nanterre, and a great specialist in Eastern thought systems. But what he wants to talk to us about is the National Museum of Singapore. "We should let the monument speak for itself," he tells us in a confidential tone of voice. This is a complex task, because the museum arose from the symbolic reunification of two buildings: the Supreme Court and the City Hall. Genuine icons of identity, the former witnessed Japan's surrender in 1945, while the latter saw Lee Kwan Yew declare the independence of Singapore a few years later. It was to this

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leader, who died in 2015, that the city state owed its rapid rise after breaking away from the Federation of Malaya. With a South-east Asian population made up of Chinese (75%), Malayans (its native people, 15%) and Indians (8%), together with the Westerners who settled during the British colonisation, Singapore has an important strategic position. Halfway between India and China, this small state – which can be compared with Monaco – lies at the mouth of the Straits of Malacca. The majority of the world's freight transits beneath its skyscrapers and hotels, designed by I.M Pei, Moshe Safdie and Philippe Starck. The opening of the National Museum took place during the festivities for the 50th anniversary of the state's creation, simultaneously marking its determination to move into a new era. Its success is exemplary, because although it has no resources of its own, Singapore now ranks third in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) after Qatar and Luxembourg. Today, becoming a global cultural and academic hub – considerable assets for financial marketplaces – is a political priority for the Singapore authorities.

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Jean François Milou on the terrace of the former Supreme Court, Singapore.

© Fernando Javier Urquijo/studioMilou

Art Market Magazine June 2016
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