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Nigel Coates Drawings 奈傑爾.高斯繪圖

[1986–circa 1990]
This fonds captures two of Nigel Coates most significant architectural project from his early years working in Tokyo, Japan: Caffé Bongo (1986) and The Wall (1990). It consists of 20 physical drawings, and9 digitised sketches that came in as an Adobe Acrobat document. Selected and acquired by the M Plus Museum, this fonds provides a perspective into design and architecture from the late 1980s postmodern period and, specifically, the bubble years in Japan.

Nigel Coates is a British architect trained in the University of Nottingham and Architectural Association in London. He founded the Narrative Architecture Today (NATO) group and magazine, advocating the notion of ‘narrative architecture’, by which he believes that ideas need to be translated into sensual experience, whereas architecture is a complete language of its own right to create such experience. This period in Coates’s career coincided with bubble years in Japan when unrestrained consumerism and frenetic embrace of Western fashions emerged. Responding to the Japanese capital’s “chaos and contradictions,” Coates saw parallels between the sometimes-jarring cosmopolitanism of 1980s Tokyo and the juxtaposition of 1960s celebrity glamour – an opportunity for his ambitious ideology.

Thus in 1985, Coates began receiving commissions from Japan, and he joined hands with Doug Branson, forming the Branson Coates Architecture agency. Shortly after, Coates received a commission from Parco, a cutting-edge department store looking at building a restaurant that catered for the store’s young, style-savvy clientele and their infatuation with the latest trends from abroad. Inspired by the scene in which the actress Anita Ekberg, playing a movie star, is greeted by a mob of paparazzi as she descends from a DC-8 airplane, Coates suspended a massive airplane wing above Caffè Bongo’s entrance, alongside a balcony topped by Roman statues, set among twisting, post-industrial I-beams. This, besides being Coates’s first-ever realised project, also gave himself a reputation in Tokyo.

Riding on this success, Coates was soon commissioned to design The Wall (1990), a restaurant, bar, and retail complex in the Nishi-Azabu section of Tokyo. Coates was briefed by the client to design a building that "represents the 20th century but looks as though it's been there forever." Coates fictionalised the arrival of ancient Romans to Tokyo in history and designed The Wall as if it were the only remnants of their legacy. The Wall stood as a seven-storey high building of visual and historical contradictions.

These drawings had been owned and maintained by Nigel Coates in Britain until the acquisition and shipment to M Plus Museum in 2019. The digitised sketches were scans provided by Nigel Coates himself. Relevant materials about Nigel Coates’s work, notably The Wall, exist in the Victoria and Albert Museum and FRAC Centre.
The Nigel Coates Drawings were donated to M+ in 2019 from the architect, with a selection of projects made in consultation with the architect.
Arranged chronologically by project, and by format and chronologically within each project.
The Nigel Coates archives include Architectural Drawing and Design Drawing.

There are 21 objects by Nigel Coates in the M+ Collection Archives.


Object Number
Archive Creator
Archival Level
[1986–circa 1990]
29 items
Credit Line
M+, Hong Kong

Drawings, Caffè Bongo (1986), Tokyo, Japan

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Drawings, The Wall (1990), Tokyo, Japan

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