Wednesday, 29 October 2008
In December 2006, I contacted the office of the renowned architect Tadao Ando in connection with an article I was writing on the new Tokyo Midtown project – a mixed-use high-rise building set in parkland, in which Ando had designed a small, free-standing exhibition facility, called 21_21 Design Site. After a few calls and emails, I got the following answers from the architect.
CBL: Tell me about your architectural brief for this project?
TA: This is a building providing exhibition spaces for “design” that will be built in the open space of the large redevelopment district in midtown Tokyo. The concept is that we should have an insight into the power of “design” that enriches our daily life and I thus aimed to create a new place of culture for the new century in Japan. Here “design” means the activities that discover new sights and thoughts and express surprise and emotion, in an effort to convey them to the general people. This building is required to house an impressive space for these activities as well as for new encounters and dialogue.
CBL: Where did you get the inspiration for the building’s design?
TA: The design of this building is based on Issei Miyake's idea of 'a piece of cloth': it is 'a sheet of steel'. One single sheet of steel measuring over 50 meters in length was used for the roof. This required a high level of technical skill and the spirit of the people working on the project and the strength of their desire for making things was the secret to our success.
CBL: What is the concept of the opening exhibition?
TA: For the special opening program, I wish not only express my own ideas, but also to show the high level of technical expertise and spirit of the Japanese people. I aim this building to become a place where visitors can find their own potential.