with Kengo Kuma
Kengo Kuma Designs a Dramatically Vaulted Cafe to Evoke Japan’s Sloping Tottori Sand Dunes
Overlooking Japan’s vast Tottori Sand Dunes is a new two-level structure that connects earth and atmosphere. Dubbed a “staircase to the sky,” Takahama Café is one of architect Kengo Kuma’s latest projects that reflects the surrounding environment. The dramatically vaulted building, which totals 199 square meters, is constructed with cross-laminated timber and reinforced concrete and features a balcony topped with a pergola for visitors to view the region. Sand from the dunes textures the Washi paper pendant lights inside, and in honor of local craftspeople and traditions, the studio tasked the Tottori Mingei pottery workshop Nakai-gama with creating the bathroom sinks, which are cloaked in its signature blue-black glaze.
For more from Kuma (previously) and his team, visit the studio’s site. (via designboom)
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Kengo Kuma Hangs Glimmering Sheets of Metallic Chain Inside Gaudí’s Casa Batlló
Renowned architect Kengo Kuma (previously) amplifies the already magical nature of Antoni Gaudí’s Casa Batlló in Barcelona with layers of shimmering curtains. Lining a staircase that stretches from the coal bunkers in the basement up eight flights, the immersive installation suspends 164,000 meters of Kriskadecor’s aluminum chain, positioning the lighter shades on the upper floors and black on the lowest level to emulate the gradient in the Casa Batlló courtyard. The billowing drapes reflect light in kaleidoscopic patterns around the museum and stand in contrast to the otherwise colorfully whimsical architecture, which Kuma describes:
We have imagined this space dressed in aluminum link curtains, which with their meticulous materiality catch the light, as if they were fishing nets, and show it to us in all its forms: brightness, silhouettes, shadows… this way, by omitting the use of any other materials, and erasing the presence of this blind box and its staircase using these chains, we are able to speak of light and light only.
Because of the material, the ceiling of Casa Batlló was outfitted with special acoustic panels to muffle any noise produced by the chains clanking together. The photos shown here were taken by Jordi Anguera, and you can find more of his shots and stay up-to-date with Kuma’s designs on Instagram.
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Tokyo’s Kadokawa Culture Museum Houses an Arresting Kengo Kuma-Designed Bookshelf Theater
Although it boasts more than 50,000 books, the massive library at the heart of the Kadokawa Culture Museum (previously) isn’t just for bibliophiles or curious readers hoping to stumble upon a new title. Designed by renowned architect Kengo Kuma (previously), the towering venue is more accurately billed as a cultural gathering space than a traditional book collection, which Ryosuke Kosuge, who works as RK, recently documented a new series of photographs.
Just months after its opening, the Tokyo-area library already has hosted a variety of music and theater performances, with the staggered shelving and metal walkways serving as a backdrop. Many of the events—which you can see photographs of on Kadokawa’s Instagram—utilized the available projection mapping technology and embedded screens, creating immersive experiences that illuminate the largely wood-lined space with a candy-colored glow.
To see the multi-purpose venue from above, watch this drone tour, and find more of RK’s architectural photographs capturing city life on Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
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A Curved Pavilion Designed by Kengo Kuma Weaves Wooden Slats into a Tessellating Structure
Wrapping a gallery space at the 2020 NGV Triennial is a bowed pavilion of tessellating wood. A collaboration between renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma (previously) and Australian artist Geoff Nees, the large-scale installation is constructed with trees felled at Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens during the millennium drought. The pointed slats interlock without the use of additional supports, a design derived from traditional Japanese joinery, and create a scaly pattern that allows light to stream through.
Titled “Botanical Pavilion,” the curved structure features foraged timber—some of which predates European colonization on the continent—arranged by color rather than species. “By prioritizing natural phenomena over scientific order, the designers call into question the reductive nature of science during the colonial era, a mindset at odds with many Indigenous cultural beliefs and knowledge systems,” a statement about the piece says. At both ends, the walkway opens up to reveal South Korean artist Lee Ufan’s 2017 painting titled “Dialogue.”
“The semi-circular shape of the pavilion invites the visitor into a journey to explore the space and experience the various essences of wood,” Kuma told Dezeen. “The porous structure is assembled like a tridimensional puzzle without the use of metal connections to be able to reassemble it in a different location.”
“Botanical Pavilion” is on view through April 18, 2021. Follow Kuma’s and Nees’s upcoming projects on Instagram.
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Japan’s New Kadokawa Culture Museum is Housed in an Angular, Granite Structure Designed by Kengo Kuma
Slated to open in the next few weeks, the new Kadokawa Culture Museum in Japan is situated within a starkly designed structure by architect Kengo Kuma (previously). Appearing pixelated, the facade is formed with 20,000 individual pieces of granite, and the polyhedron-shaped building is broken up into five floors, including a garden, art gallery, two museums, and a cafe. The most alluring feature is the bookshelf theater, an eight-meter-high library that holds around 50,000 titles. On level four, the multifunctional space can be transformed into a performance venue through projection mapping.
Located west of Tokyo, the museum is part of the larger Tokorozawa Sakura Town complex, which includes an anime hotel, an outdoor space lined with cherry trees, an indoor pavilion, shrine, shops, and restaurants. An exhibition dedicated to Kuma will mark the museum’s launch, although a definitive schedule for public visits hasn’t been released due to concerns about COVID-19. To follow Kuma’s architectural projects and updates on Kadokawa’s full opening, head to Instagram. (via designboom)
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