Imagine, for a moment, a Japanese style home. What materials spring to mind? What are the essential elements? Typically we would expect soft, muted tones; wood, bamboo, and paper finishings; with green tatami matting, sliding screens, and paper lamps casting a gentle meditative light. There in the corner of the main room is a focal point, an alcove, called a tokonoma, where our gaze is attracted by a piece of art. Perhaps a kakejiku, a hanging scroll, is hanging from the wall, and beneath it there is placed something that represents an idealized vision of the natural world. It might be an ancient bonsai tree, or perhaps within a beautiful ceramic vase there is a skillfull arrangement of flowers, leaves and branches. In his latest piece for the ZenVita blog, garden expert Mark Hovane takes a closer look at Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement, and celebrates its role bringing nature, art, and harmony into the home.
Working through his firm Mega, Nagasaka specializes in the design of private homes, aiming to “adopt an inclusive and holistic approach to the process of design and development.” “Cozy” may not necessarily be a frequently used term in the lexicon of architecture, but it probably should be, particularly if used to refer to someone’s personal residence. It is certainly in the vocabulary of Dai Nagasaka, having appeared as the name of a number of his works.
This summer our editor, Michael Lambe, sat down in a Kyoto cafe with Kaz Shigemitsu the founder of ZenVita. They talked about his background, about his company's mission to promote Japanese architects and designers overseas, and about his future plans for ZenVita.
The Temple of the Heavenly Dragon, Tenryu-ji, is a Rinzai Zen Buddhist temple nestled in the western mountains of the Arashiyama district in Kyoto. Constructed before the thirteenth century, the temple’s pond garden is one of the first in recorded Japanese history to use “borrowed scenery” (shakkei). “Borrowed scenery” incorporates distant landscape elements into the design in a way that visually enlarges the space. At Tenryu-ji this primarily takes the form of two mountains: Kameyama (Turtle Mountain) and Arashiyama (Storm Mountain), appropriated and integrated into the mix of vegetation, rocks and water.