Listing 8 blog articles for the tag Japan.
There have been reports that, given the proliferation of digital tools and time-saving software now available, architects no longer draw or sketch as we used to. In this series, I'm hoping to prove otherwise, by delving into the sketchbooks of designers – both famous and otherwise – hopefully revealing some hidden gems of drawing, painting and sketching along the way.
After the vibrant watercolours of Steven Holl and the precisely penciled musings of Le Corbusier, the sketches of Tadao Ando get straight to the point: they are simplistic in the extreme, an epitome of the restrained, minimalist style for which the king of concrete is renowned.
Key gestures – the cross of a chapel, a plain concrete wall, a shaft of light – are emphasized as singular motifs within each drawing, with other details deemed unnecessary in illustrating Ando's distilled concepts. They offer a glimpse of the understated magic found within the Japanese architect's finished buildings, encapsulating his belief that light, shadow and space should be prioritized over our preoccupation with material forms in the design process.
If you have a sketch you would like showcased, send it over via a message on the official Angry Architect Facebook Page, and who knows, maybe you'll be featured next!
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas
Punta Della Dogana Contemporary Arts Centre, Venice
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas
The Pullitzer Foundation, St Louis
Roberto Garza Sada Center for Arts, Architecture and Design, Monterrey, Mexico
Morimoto Restaurant, New York City
Church on the Water, Tomamu, Hokkaido, Japan
In a lengthy statement released to the media, 83-year-old Isozaki – one of Japan's leading architects – said he was "shocked" to see the lack of "dynamism" in Zaha Hadid's newest proposal for the 80,000-seat stadium, which was recently redesigned following protests over the original scheme.
Isozaki likened the new proposal to "a turtle waiting for Japan to sink so that it can swim away".
Ouch. Almost as brutal as me, Arata! Somewhat surprising when you consider that the two architects only recently 'collaborated' on the Citylife luxury complex in Milan, Italy.
Read the full story over on Dezeen, along with a plethora of colourful comments from readers...
Image via: Archdaily
Build... or eat. Build... or eat... what a choice.
Illustrator and designer Akihiro Mizuuchi designed a modular system for creating edible chocolate LEGO bricks. Chocolate is first poured into precisely designed moulds that after cooling can be popped out and used as regular LEGOs. It’s hard to determine exactly how functional they are, but it seems like he had success in building a number of different things. I can only imagine how quickly they might melt in your hands, but I suppose that’s beside the point; this is two of the greatest things in the world fused together. Simples.
If you google around there are numerous attempts at creating various forms of LEGO in chocolate or other food, but this appears to be the most detailed and well-designed of anything out there. (via Legosaurus) Share this scrumptious delight with others by hitting the grey 'f' button above.
Marble’s usual rendition is seen in delicate antique effigies or lifesize sculptural portraits. Japenese-born, Los Angeles-based artist Yutaka Sone uses it to sculpt vast landscapes, natural as well as architectural. The third in a series of models made in marble, Sone exhibited his two-and-a-half-ton sculpture entitled Little Manhattan last week at the Park Avenue Armory art fair.
Almost 20 years in the making, Sone has previously created models of island-cities of Hong Kong and Venice. His work reflects a fascination with the peculiar forms these cities take, and how they have adapted and conquered them. Aided by photographic reproductions, imagery from Google Earth and several helicopter rides, Sone rendered the densely populated borough to scale, showing, for instance, bike paths cutting through Central Park and the arch in Washington Square Park.
That’s the first thing that strikes you about Little Manhattan, how it works at opposite scalar poles—at both the micro and the macro. While the piece is nine feet in length and three feet tall, the Manhattan skyline accounts for just the top few centimeters or so. Step back, and the latter barely registers; instead, one's eye is drawn to the exquisitely sculpted stone, delicately pleated with folds that extrude the city's outline downwards. Closer inspection, however, yields countless beautiful details. One can trace the intricately constructed streets, avenues, parks, bridges and buildings, and scan for recognizable sites like the Empire State Building.
The 48-year-old artist had been originally trained in architecture. Yet his work as an artist comprises a range of media including painting, drawing, photography, video and performance, but predominantly sculpture. Veronique Ansorge, Associate Director of the David Zwirner Gallery, with whom Sone has been working since 1999, gives us an insight into a few of the dichotomies that Sone’s work embodies. “With his background in architecture, there is an inclination to blend the rigidity inherent in architecture with a fluid artistic vision,” says Ansorge.
There are other interesting dualisms at work here. In the use of marble, there emerges a tension between the strength of the stone and its soft texture and frailty; there is a conflict between realism and perfect reproduction that Sone addresses; a masculinity of an infrastructurally-dense city like Manhattan and a feminity in the form of an island and its gracefully poised "bedrock."
Like with most of Sone’s works, Little Manhattan developed over a lengthy period of time, with plans dating back to the late 1990s. He plans to do sculptures of two more cities to complete his series of miniature marble island-cities.
Images and Info via: Metropolis Magazine
Is there a place like heaven on earth? Well, if you are enamoured by modern architecture, minimalist art and the most beautifully finished slabs of concrete on the planet, then there might just be – and its name is Naoshima, off the coast of Honshu, Japan.
This tiny isle – known as Art Island to many – is a hidden gem of epic proportions, located some way from the well-trodden tourist trail between Hiroshima and Osaka on the south coast of Japan’s mainland. It is the result of a long-running collaboration between the rich and politically influential Benesse Corporation, local councils, a number of extraordinary artists, and the unrivalled, all-conquering King of Concrete himself – Tadao Ando.
Sanaa's Ocean Terminal
Upon disembarking the boat at Miyanoura Port on the western edge of the island, one is greeted immediately by cutting edge, big-name Japanese architecture: SANAA designed the crisp, super-minimal Marine Station and visitor centre, and its uncompromising simplicity is a sign of things to come. Naoshima’s unique brand of quirkiness is also apparent from the outset – a curvaceous, poker-dotted pumpkin sits at the end of the quay, the first in a series of joyful outdoor sculptures dotted around the island by the superb octogenarian artist, Yayoi Kusama.
'Haisha' House by Shinro Ohtake
A half-hour stroll to the northeast of the island brings you to Honmura, the largest village on the island. Even this quiet residential area has been infiltrated by the threads of contemporary art weaving throughout the island: The Art House Project has seen half a dozen traditional Japanese houses transformed into modern art installations, many hidden down tiny side-streets and behind noren (Japanese entrance curtains). The architectural treasure hunt that began at the port recommences here as well, with James Turrell’s surreal ‘Back Side Of The Moon’ – a pitch-black space within a timber-clad cuboid (painstakingly detailed by Ando) that warps every sense imaginable.
The Ando Museum
As if this weren’t enough, Honmura is now home to The Ando Museum, designed by the man himself and dedicated to his series of projects on Naoshima and further works in Japan, including a stunning model of a much-celebrated ode to modernism: The Church of the Light. As with the Art House Project, the subtleties of this site are notable: Ando’s signature concrete plains dissect and frame the internal spaces of the museum, yet all signs of modernity are hidden within a traditional Japanese house of timber and tiles. This concealment is symptomatic of Naoshima, a curiously understated location whose primary visitor demographic remains dominated by those who tend to know what they are looking for – namely artists, designers and, of course, architects.
The biggest surprise at this stage is that the main attractions of the island are still to come, in the form of Ando’s trio of hillside galleries. If ever there was a physical embodiment of perfect minimalist concrete construction, this is it: each gallery is full of the gray stuff, finished with Ando’s typical attention to detail and a perfect foil for the contemporary artworks adorning each space.
Inside the main atrium of Benesse House
First, the Benesse House Museum comprises a dramatic cylindrical volume with further galleries radiating outwards, and installations that overflow from the museum and down the hillside to the rocky peninsula below.
Outdoor galleries, Benesse House
The boundaries between guesthouses, galleries and open parkland are continuously blurred across Naoshima, with the whole island acting as a huge, incredibly scenic exhibition hall – all as a result of the incredibly close relationship between the artists, the architect and the Benesse Corporation itself.
The Lee Ufan Museum
Another unusually close collaboration led to the creation of the second gallery along the southern coast, where Ando worked with Korean über minimalist Lee Ufan to create a museum in the artist’s name. The two men have similar philosophies in their respective fields – ‘less is more’ could only be described as a massive understatement here – and an alleged argument about the colour of a wall within one of the gallery spaces sums up the overriding aesthetic rather well. Ando wanted the wall left gray, while Ufan demanded that it should be painted… pure white, naturally.
Overlooking the courtyards of the Chichu Art Museum, carved into the hillside
Finally, the coastal route arrives at Ando’s pièce de résistance – The Chichu Art Museum is Naoshima’s crowning highlight, an enormous, sunken sculpture of a building that defies a host of architectural conventions to provide the perfect environment for displaying the works of three extraordinary artists. Ando set himself a seemingly impossible task during the concept stage of the museum’s design: the architect insisted that the entire building should be buried within the hillside, but that every piece of art would be lit by natural light sources.
The Monet Room
Walter De Maria - Time/Timeless/No Time
The resulting gallery comprises a series of chambers lit by meticulously positioned roof lights, with a series of beautifully simple, geometric courtyards carved in between. Each space was designed with specific artworks in mind, and it shows: thousands of tiny, pearlescent tiles cover the floor of the Monet Room, creating a hallowed atmosphere fitting of the French Impressionist’s masterpieces, whilst a soaring, cathedral-like cavern contains Walter De Maria’s eerie granite sphere and gold-leafed timber mahogany forms. Finally, James Turrell’s ‘Open Field’ and ‘Open Sky’ – architectural installations that frame voids as artworks in their own right – are an exhibition of both artist and architect’s simple mastery of light and shade.
James Turell's Open Sky
Wandering back along the waterfront to SANAA’s Marine Station, one would be forgiven for wondering if the whole experience was some kind of wonderful architectural dream, but no: Naoshima is a very real mecca for fans of Tadao Ando’s brand of modernism. Heaven on earth? Maybe, just maybe.
The Angry Architect
Images via: Architizer
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