Kengo Kuma recently had an exhibition in his honour at the Royal Academy, where he explored his influences further for Japanese A-list designs. He likes to salvage age-old styles and all of this is there for lovers of architecture to discover in the French photographer Jérémie Souteyrat’s latest book “Tokyo no le” (loosely translated as Tokyo Houses).
He speaks about how determined families in the city have become to own lands of their own. This is easier said than done in a city already known for it’s aging population and it’s growing problems with overcrowding. But that is just how it is as far as aspirations of the Japanese are concerned – they try to justify it but stating that all they need are tiny, miniscule homes for their families, even it means that urban planning has gone awry and there is no plan involved on how to craft a better structurally designed town.
Kuma is not the only one who talks about his inspirations in the 144-page design novel – you also have Pritzker Prize winners Shigeru Ban and Kazuyo Sejima, as well as various architectural firms Atelier Bow-Bow and Sou Fujmoto representing their work. Jérémie likes to discover the latest architectural treasures in the city amongst all the tall buildings, such as the jewels implanted amongst all the fast-moving peoples.
The Japanese aren’t very intrigued about residing in ancient mansions or homes, which is a shame because their culture and history is so vibrant and rich. They like to trade in the old with a new, a dangerous game some modern-minded Europeans have been warming towards too. 40-years it seems makes for too old of an house, a home, it has to be absoutely cutting-edge and absolute nouveau. Their senses will only go far as to settle for a re-painting – the skyline is certainly changing in random/strange ways here!