Tokyo is a major metropolitan area that boasts several worthwhile world-renowned museums such as the Tokyo National Museum or the recent National Art Center. However, my favorite Tokyo museum is the privately owned Nezu Museum, which is nestled in at the end of a road studded with recent commercial architectural marvels in the upscale Omotesando district. The main reasons I love this museum are the impressive bamboo approach by notable contemporary architect Kengo Kuma, and the sprawling, verdant Japanese garden hidden behind the main building.
The problem with writing an article on Kenzō Tange is not what to include but what to leave out. So much has been written on the Pritzker prize-winning architect that the reams of paper upon which they’ve been printed could quite possibly fill every square inch of the dozens of buildings he has designed.
I suppose I could start with a theme of Kenzō and me. I first became familiar with the catchy sound of his name due to his work with one of my favorite Japanese filmmakers, Hiroshi Teshigahara, director of "Woman in the Dunes." In the late 1970s, Teshigahara was on hiatus from filmmaking, dedicating more of his time to helping run the Sōgetsu school of ikebana, which his father, Sōfu, had founded. It was at this time that Tange designed the headquarters of the school, which at first glance appears to be two single sheets of blue glass, mirroring the sky.
The front door is the centrepiece of a home’s exterior design. It is often the first thing people notice about a building, and it serves as the introduction to your house. If you are looking for inspiring entryway ideas, this week’s article should give you plenty to ponder. Our guest blogger, Florentyna Leow is a writer and photographer based in Kyoto, Japan. There she is engaged in an ongoing photography project named “Doors of Asia,” in which she explores an incredible variety of everyday front door designs. In this special article for ZenVita she explains her interest in this essential aspect of the Japanese style house.
Bonsai (“potted planting”) is one of the most recognizable aspects of Nihon-no-Bunka. It is easily transportable and has played a key role in the dissemination of Nihon-no-Bunka worldwide. It has its own section in the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. Many of the samples in that collection are produced by members of the royal families of Southeast Asia, attesting to its prestige as well as its popularity. It identified Pat Noriyuki Morita as “Japanese” in the opening scenes of The Karate Kid.
The beauty of the Japanese aesthetic is increasingly inciting curiosity in the West. One of its most remarkable characteristics and clear to see in Japanese architecture, is its simplicity. Yet despite this simplicity, designs are both profound and retain a sense of mystery. Two aesthetic concepts that help us to better understand these characteristics are the ideals of yugen and shibui.