During our visit to awaji-shi, we had two goals in mind, and both had to do with tadao ando. the first was shingonshu honpukuji.
in 1991 japanese architect tadao ando designed this space, a place where nature and contemporary architecture could coincide with one another. the temple is situated in the island of awaji, japan and is the residence of ninnaji shingon, the oldest sect of tantric buddhism in japan.
while the exterior is cold and concrete, (but in the most positive way i can say possible), the interior below is warm and vermillion wood, allowing natural light to p*******e and acting as the sole source of illumination of the shrine. pictured here, me basking in the natural light refracted from the water above.
Yesterday we visited the biggest work of tarō okamoto, japanese painter, sculptor, and ultimate art phenomenon. this is the tower of the sun, created for the world expo ‘70, the first world’s fair held in asia. okamoto-san is a huge inspiration of ours and his ideas and gestural work feel other-worldly. his contribution to the japanese artistic landscape is bizarre but beautiful, and because of that, @wadejeffree & i had to visit his most grandiose work.
the 1970 osaka world exposition marked an important time in japan’s history, one of optimism for the future of the country and its role in the progression of technology. it featured the premiere of the first imax film, mobile phone prototypes, and introduced the first shinkansen (bullet trains). it also showcased futuristic architecture conceived by the several countries that participated including giant inflatable buildings and neo-modern (yeah maybe i made that term up) towers, but sadly the tower of the sun is all that remains today.
the theme of the expo was “progress and harmony for mankind.” in his interpretation of this idea, okamoto wished to represent the past, present and future all in one piece of art and did so by placing three distinct faces on his tower of the sun. the golden “face” represents the future. the concrete “face” on the stomach represents the present. the black sun on its back represents the past.
we spent the day at the expo park observing the tower (the only prominent element that remains from the actual expo) and trekking the grounds. now, there are gardens, parks, and a lake that comprise the inspirational landscape, as well as a museum devoted to remembering the expo ‘70 as well as a museum of ethnography. it’s such a fun place to visit and consumed our entire day, but we left with wide smiles and full hearts after drinking highballs in the shade of okamoto-san’s gargantuan tower.
Thank you to everyone who came out to say hello and hang out with us during vogue fashion’s night out last weekend at @omotesandohills_official! @wadejeffree and i had such a fun time taking photos and meeting you all. thank you for participating! we could not have done this without our dear collaborators @yoshiko_kurata@gas_as_interface and nochi masataka. you guys made it happen! together we built this installation which served as a photospot for the event. we modeled the idea off of ryoan-ji, the famous rock garden in kyoto, but focused more on abstraction and the graphic nature of the curves that exist in the garden. we called it “utopian zen” 🏁
this night made me extra happy to meet you all and laugh and pose because i woke up with a very undesirable skin situation which i’m still recovering from, and i was really self conscious about being in such a public place with so many people that day. though it may not be evident in the photos, my face and eyelids were twice their normal size. thanks to everyone who made me feel great! #fnojp
The edo-tokyo open air architectural museum (江戸東京たてもの園, edo tōkyō tatemono-en) is an open air museum which exhibits a range of historic buildings from the tokyo area. the buildings were relocated/reconstructed here in order to preserve a chapter of architectural history which has been almost completely lost in fires, earthquakes, wars and city redevelopment.
originally, @wadejeffree and i set out to visit a different open air museum but hey, a wrong turn turned into a delightful day and yesterday’s detour became a beautiful and wonderfully informative experience.
this bathhouse called “kodakara-yu” was relocated from senju-motomachi and built in 1929. inside it is split into two sides, distinguishing male and female. each side includes one half of a miraculous hand-painted mural of mt. fuji and it’s surrounding landscape, as well as many small hand-painted advertisements ranging from hat and shoe sellers to food and grocery, which you can see behind me.
Excited to share that next week on 9/15, we will be unveiling our installation for vogue fashion’s night out tokyo 2018 at omotesando hills. it’s been a blast working with such wonderful people and it’s going to be such a fun event! if you are in tokyo next saturday 9/15, please swing by and say hi! that’s why i’m smiling so widely 😄
thank you omotesando hills for the lovely interview! some really great questions were asked involving the crossover between fashion and design and i hope that those of you who read japanese will enjoy it! you can check it out on their website under their features section.
photos by @tgwman, writing by @yoshiko_kurata, and the opportunity given by @omotesandohills_official
“architectural body hypothesis or sited awareness hypothesis: what stems from the body, by way of awareness, should be held to be of it. any site at which a person deems an x to exist should be considered a contributing segment of her awareness.”
extremely imbalanced, greatfully challenged, and off guard, just as arakawa and gins would have hopefully liked, but i’m extending my body to reach sited awareness (i hope i got that right?). .
standing inside the reversible destiny office, which was actually the last building to be added to the reversible destiny park in april 1997. it houses information about the site, arakawa's drawings and other works, and screens a documentary about the site's construction.
The most perfect room where you can sit down and practice calligraphy at okochi-sanso villa, a little hidden gem in arashiyama, kyoto. @wadejeffree and i visited this villa when we came to kyoto a few years ago but i think we bypassed this room with its open doors which allow the delicious forest air to waft through the space while you enjoy the space. i believe that this space was built to commemorate the caretaker of the villa but i am not positive.
the villa was owned by the famous silent film era actor, okochi denjiro. it is famous for its gardens and boasts a perfectly framed view no matter where you stand when you’re exploring the grounds, whether with pine trees, cherry trees, or maple trees. ironic that i didn’t photograph that though! i’m a sucker for symmetry, as you can tell here.
I’m pretty behind on sharing my travels and discoveries in japan but honestly it feels nice to not report every single day! that said, something needs to be said about this architectural beauty.
mosaic tile museum tajimi is a museum in kasahara town, tajimi city opened in 2016. i thought it would have been a lot older but it’s brand spanking new! following years of preparation led by organizations representing the local mosaic tile industry, which boasts the country’s largest production volume of mosaic tiles, the museum project is at long last beginning to take concrete shape. the architect commissioned with designing the museum building is terunobu fujimori, internationally acclaimed for his highly original creations informed by architectural history. the building is expected to assume a wonderfully unorthodox external appearance inspired by clay quarries where clay and silica sand are extracted for use in tile production. .
the museum houses over 10,000 artifacts and other materials. most have been collected over the years by local volunteers and kept at a facility.
this was essentially a three hour side trip from my quest to get to yōrō but it was all worth it. plus, bringing a bento and picnicking outside after the visit was a pleasant way to take in the scenery, though i will say that this building was quite difficult to photograph without the right lens! note to self, invest in extreme wide angle lens...
A thought: sometimes, you don’t need to take a lot of pictures to remember your experience, and sometimes, you don’t need to feel obligated to share them with the world. i spent most of my time in yōrō and at the site of reversible destiny exploring and absorbing and thinking. sometimes less is more. sometimes it feels better to not interrupt your time with a smartphone (or a tripod and a remote, in my case). i like documenting my time here and i hope it can inspire you to follow your own personal journeys one day. but, i also want to make sure that i fully embrace these special moments and not keep my head down in my phone or with a finger permanently on a shutter button. this was the last photo i took before i spent the remainder of my time this day exploring every nook and cranny and digging through books and eating local food and drinking yōrō beer, soaking in onsen, and hiking a waterfall. ❤️
New image (shot in our studio in june) for our dearest duo @dsanddurga’s new fragrance and enhancer, “i don’t know what,” an english spin on the french term, je ne sais quoi. you can wear it alone or later it on top of another smell. find it now in the windows of liberty london!
I came back. spending two days in gifu has rejuvenated me so much, even if part of my time has been to return to things i’ve seen before. yōrō is famous for its water and their claims to have healing properties and honestly, my skin has gotten a lot better since i’ve been here!
here...this is a place i love, and it’s a place that i consider one of my favorites in the world. visiting here for the first time with @wadejeffree in 2016, we were overwhelmed by the beauty and the thinking of arakawa and gins and our work and our method of thinking was forever changed. if you are familiar with @reversibledestinyloftsmitaka, they designed those too.
two and a half years ago, we traveled to gifu to visit the site of reversible destiny, managed by @reversibledestinyfoundation. this building is the reversible destiny office. it’s not just a cool photo that you’ll find on pinterest moodboards (the photo i originally took in 2016 has been shared and reshared and i’m so happy that people now are *hopefully* aware of a+g’s legacy), but it’s a building that challenges your human perception and forces you to push your limits and exercise not only your body but also your brain (just like all of arakawa and gins’s work). inside this building contains an uneven pastel colored maze and a ceiling that mirrors the design of the floor.
arakawa and gins believed that changes in b****y perception would lead to changes in consciousness. consequently, they developed architecture and constructed environments that challenge the body as a way to "reverse our destinies." arakawa and gins wished for visitors to explore the site like children and to reorient perceptions and discover the unlimited possibilities of the body.
based on these experiences, @wadejeffree and i have tried to incorporate these ideas as much as possible into the work we do. we use our bodies to their fullest potential and include them extensively in our work. we are forever changed, and we also have decided not to die.
Yesterday i had the absolute pleasure of staying with @shikijuraku at their newly founded hotel, consisting of 10 different and newly renovated (and innovated!) machiya townhouses each with a 100 year history. shiki juraku’s concept is highly emphasized through its hospitality, which consists of services including taste, flower, space, reading, graphics, design, garden, body, equipment, and beauty, directed by 10 different talents. staying here gave me an entirely different perspective of kyoto and i was really sad to leave.
to enter, experience sho-raku, the delight of design. this gate is designed by tsuyoshi tane and features a lock system that was really satisfying. the door is extremely heavy and requires time and care to open and close it, causing me to be even more considerate of its beautiful structure.
through the gate is the tei-raku, the delight of garden. this garden is designed by seijun nishihata. the trees have been imported from australia and play a very prevalent role in the framing of each special space of shiki juraku, acting as a centerpiece in a window or a garden. i don’t think i’ve ever seen these before!
i stayed in roku-go (room 6), a room adorned with cozy antique furniture selected by kazuto kobayashi. this delight of space is shitsu-raku. when i first entered the space, i was overwhelmed by the fragrant aroma of seasoned wood, a familiar and comforting smell.
the space is divided into two floors, with the downstairs being the living space and the upstairs as the sleeping space.
thank you @yukaribb@shitsujuraku for an amazing stay. my heart is so full of happiness!! and thank you @joannakawecki and @champ_magazine for your dear recommendation!