Works at TAIZA Studio

Diary of the renovation of TAIZA Studio is here.

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photo: Noboru Morikawa

Wood Eaves  

Shuji Nakagawa  

Sawara cypress from Kiso, Gifu Prefecture, 2021  

Supervised by: Atsushi Torii of Atelier Kokonoma  

 

The eaves are a work of art using only quarter-sawn lumber. When we rented a house that had been uninhabited for twenty years, the eaves were made of plastic corrugated sheets supported by rusty iron poles. We thought that wood would be a better choice, and more sustainable, and that it would fit in better with the environment. The wood eaves have the power to create conversations: locals admire them and the eaves offer shelter when it suddenly starts to rain. The rough expression of the wood is not a deviation for Shuji Nakagawa, a wood barrel craftsman, whose skill is evaluated by the smooth appearance of his products, but a sign of his desire to evolve his practice.  

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Table  

Shuji Nakagawa  

Cypress from Yoshino, Nara, 2021  

 

By joining two desks together, the total length of this cypress table reached thirteen feet. It is thirteen inches high, and it sits in a twelve-mat tatami room (198 square feet). Nakagawa says that he made this table by picturing the faces of the studio’s founding members, imagining the growing number of friends and local children, and envisioning ten people gathering together to talk, eat, and interact. Nakagawa, who attracted attention overseas for his Konoha champagne cooler for Dom Pérignon, was commissioned by us to make furniture for a project five years ago. This is the latest site-specific work by Nakagawa, who is now also active as a furniture maker.   

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Soil Wall  

Akio Niisato  

Soil from Taiza, straw, and water, 2021  

Assisted by: Nakasu Sakanten  

 

Akio Niisato is a ceramist known for his luminescent wares using hotarude, a technique that features openwork filled with transparent glaze that is said to have existed since the Jomon period and produced during the Qing dynasty. Niisato’s brief was to build a wall using the same process that farmers use to build their own houses in fishing villages.   He was given the soil from a local rice field and was taught on site by a plasterer who is highly skilled in sukiya (the traditional Japanese residential style for the upper class). It is also a wall of prayer, hoping that over the years, as the color of the clay adjusts to the wind, temperature, and humidity of the land, TAIZA Studio will blend into our daily lives.   

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Glass Door  

Satoshi Sato  

blown glass (colors of light, sky, sea, and soil), 2021  

Assisted by: Koji Aono / Glass Studio Blue  

 

This entryway receives gentle light from the north, where the sea is located, and the door is glazed with hundred-year-old glass. The quality of glass that old could not be reproduced today, as the glass-making process has become so advanced. Glass artist Satoshi Sato created a work using the stained-glass technique for a partially missing plate in the door. Sato had initially envisioned changing the existing transparent glass into modern transparent glass, then showed us two rondels (blown-glass discs common in the Middle Ages)—one the color of the earth and the other the color of the sky. We asked Sato's friend, Koji Aono, a stained-glass artist in Nara, to fit the glass into the door.   

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Paper Wall  

Koh Kado

Kozo paper, 2021 

Mounted by Yukio Fujita (Fujita Gasodo)  

 

On the first floor of the TAIZA Studio, there is a large dirt floor that was once used as a storehouse. There are two six-mat rooms (ninety-nine-square-feet each) and three glass doors on the north side, and on the west side, there are three sliding doors, a Buddhist altar, and a tokonoma (an alcove where hanging scrolls and/or flowers are displayed). Koh Kado used paper for these walls and is collaborating with artist Yoshihisa Tanaka on sliding door paintings (karakami) that record the Taiza’s history. The gentle texture of handmade Korean paper pasted on the walls of the houses of the tombkeepers of the Yi Dynasty and hanoks (traditional Korean houses) reminds us of the various cultural exchanges that took place across the Sea of Japan as seen from Taiza. We asked Mr. Kado, who worked as a graphic designer in New York, to take on the challenge of expressing a contemporary paper wall using a technique other than the use of woodblocks to make up patterns on paper. The result is a wall of "time" interwoven with the memory of paper.   

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Kitchen  

Supervised by: Ken Sakamoto, Designed by: Shunya Hashizume  

Cherry, cypress, and brass, 2021  

Created by: Makoto Yasohara (Jurin-sha)  

We have dreamed of cooking rice in an earthen stove like those found in Zen temples or living with a fireplace to get through the cold winters. However, the reality is that smoke and other obstacles are keeping the project from being realized for now. Still, hoping for the occasional visit from a professional chef to serve the latest dishes made with local ingredients, we said goodbye to an obsolete bathroom and plan to build a kitchen (and someday an earthen stove) here.   For this kitchen, which is typically used for cooking for only one person, to become a place to host a lively dinner party with friends, we asked Ken Sakamoto, the chef, to create a proper cooking space, and with Makoto Yasohara, the furniture maker, to create a place for dishes and cooking utensils. The result was a kitchen that was as functional as possible, but also extremely simple in terms of planning and budget.  

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A tatami room

Takamuro Tatami Industrial Factory  

 

The igusa (rush grass) tatami had grown old and was about to disintegrate in some places, so Takamuro Tatami Industrial Factory, with whom we have had worked for art projects in the past, came all the way from Kyoto to replace it with twelve tatami mats. Takamuro decided to make the edges black to create a comfortable tension in the space after we expressed interest in this being a place for children to gather and learn about beauty. The twelve-mat tatami room calls to mind a family gathering in the Showa era (1926–89), and it is likely to play a role in creating a space that reflects the richness that gathering brings to the current Reiwa era.   

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TAIZA Studio nameplate, poster “TOMORROW FIELD”  

Koji Kakinuma  

Title material: ink on cedar (check the type of ink)  Materials for poster: ink on paper, 2021

 

When we learned about the art industry’s lack of sustainability due to excessive packaging and the mass-printing of announcements, we canceled the printing of posters and flyers for this exhibition and asked the calligrapher Koji Kakinuma to handwrite forty cards with the words “TOMORROW FIELD" to which we stamped a QR code in red.  

Drawing from the Taiza region’s history, and, in particular, its interaction with the Yamato dynasty in China and with the Korean Peninsula at that time when kanji was introduced to Japan, Mr. Kakinuma expressed Japanese characters with a modern sense of cool. The nameplate “TAIZA Studio" was also written by Mr. Kakinuma on a cedar plank prepared by Shuji Nakagawa, a woodworker, which also included a prayer for peace.