Thursday, June 9, 2011


An observation:
Here is an interesting (and strangely straightforward) approach to impede the affects of aging and transience: these natural "wooden" forms are made of not wood, but concrete. The aesthetic of natural wood is imitated in an (arguably) more permanent material. The problem is, real wood left outside can age naturally, and when it has reached the end of it's useful life, can be recycled and replaced easily. It also is honest to the context. A wooden bridge in a park makes sense conceptually. Concrete, obviously artificial, seems to be a bit of an overkill in this context and completely out of place.
There have been some pretty unusual and unnecessary applications I have seen in Japan employing the use of concrete. According to Alex Kerr in his book, Dogs and Demons: in a year, Japan pours 30 times more concrete than the world average.
Looking through the lens of these few examples, as characteristic to a larger trend in modern Japanese design, the celebration of transience that has permeated traditional japanese art, culture, and philosophy so vividly in the past can, in the present day, be seen in a new light: as a complete rejection of transience, a constant struggle to curtail its affects and come to terms with change. The symbolic Cherry Blossom can also be seen in this way. Originally as a melancholy celebration and appreciation of the passage of time, to now: a dire fear of missing the fleeting spectacle before it passes. 

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