Nov 9, 2009

a review on [small images] - junya ishigami

[small images] is perhaps the latest book by Junya Ishigami compiling most of his works to date. In the book, paragraphs and images are arranged in a continuous, ambiguous manner. Projects, be it architecture, furniture or installations, are bridged softly and smoothly throughout the whole book. So it feels like it’s about just one project. I think it’s alright to put it this way; Ishigami’s works are a series of separate, yet connected investigations toward a single quest for a concept, a kind of blurriness and ambiguity in space, structure, viewpoints and etc.

It occurs to me very intriguing for how Ishigami is able to produce architectural works of unprecedented quality by deliberately pushing limits of the common constructional dimensions: sizes of glass apertures or walls, thickness and density of columns, and so on. By redefining the scales of these commonly seen elements and details of architecture, it became apparently such an ease to alter altogether human perceptions of interior-exterior, and relationships between man, building and the surrounding. Compared to some architects’ excessive reliance on new devices, new forms, I can’t help but to feel that what’s ordinarily existing holds much more potentiality in impacting on our viewpoints toward (new) architecture.

A change in the common sense is a blow to our mind stronger than an introduction of the new and unfamiliar. From vague urban visions to bolts and nuts, he conceives sophisticated yet refreshingly simple ideas at the extreme ends and avoiding everything in-between that we’re so used to as the sole ‘reality’. His proposals revealed aspects of the environment we’ve not chosen to see, yet so naively natural and delightful that we seem to have emotionally dreamed of.

From the usually extreme transparency in his works, I’d think that Ishigami ultimately isn’t much interested in the resultant enclosures (what we normally see as ‘buildings’) than in designing the intangible relationships between human and his surroundings. It isn’t an issue whether interior or exterior, for he tries to merge the two to a degree never seen before. As long as an area is sufficiently conditioned for living into, it’s alright for it to feel the same as sitting under the sun and rain.

Despite I personally find it an addictive read; it could be a tedious effort for you have to read the whole book to understand whatever big messages it conveys and possibilities it eventually opens up to. But it’s enough fun to just flipping through the pages of gorgeous pictures. After all, they’re nice to look at and it’s easy to get from them the niche and atmosphere of Junya Ishigami’s architecture: a fresh new air.

posted by afterrabbit

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