Time for a trip to Japan?

If you want natural beauty as well as an exciting built environment we have an idea for your 2016 break
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A rising sun, constructed from red and green cornus flowers, Daniel Ost's in the Tokyo Ginza Shiseido Building, 2005. From Daniel Ost
A rising sun, constructed from red and green cornus flowers, Daniel Ost's in the Tokyo Ginza Shiseido Building, 2005. From Daniel Ost

As we all know, when you've had a great break, the first few week of January can be pretty tough. Which is why plenty us of us raise our moods by looking ahead and . . .booking another holiday! If you’re among that number, then this year you might want to consider a spring break to a place renowned both for its natural beauty and its striking architecture.

The Belgian floral artist and designer Daniel Ost, has taken a strong interest Japanese culture for decades. Though he learnt his craft in Europe, he has staged numerous highly acclaimed displays in Japan, combining his Western sensibilities with a deep understanding of Asian Pacific floral sensibilities.

 

Ohara Residence & Museum, Kurashiki, Japan, 2015. From Daniel Ost
Ohara Residence & Museum, Kurashiki, Japan, 2015. From Daniel Ost

In the spring of 2015, Ost was invited for The Most Beautiful Flower Story, an event at Miyazaki, a popular holiday destination on the subtropical eastern coast of the island of Kyushu, towards the southern extremities of the Japanese archipelago.

 

The Most Beautiful Flower Exhibition, Miyazaki, Japan, 2015. From Daniel Ost
The Most Beautiful Flower Exhibition, Miyazaki, Japan, 2015. From Daniel Ost

He also put on a stunning display last spring at the beautiful Ōhara Residence, with its former imperial rooms, and at the Ōhara Museum of Art, in Okayama, on the western side of Honshū. Ost has also staged spring flower shows at the beautifully preserved Sugimoto Residence, and the Tō-ji temple, both in Kyoto, as well as the Imperial Hotel Plaza, and the Seibu Ikebukuro department store, both in Tokyo.

 

Izumo-Taisha Shrine, Izumo, Japan, 2013. From Daniel Ost
Izumo-Taisha Shrine, Izumo, Japan, 2013. From Daniel Ost

What makes Ost so well suited to the Far East? Well, as Kengo Kuma writes in the introduction to our Daniel Ost monograph, the floral artist “is more aware of Japan’s inherent potential than many native Japanese. He understands how modern society might be salvaged from the standstill that has resulted from compartmentalization. That may be why his creations blend so uncannily with traditional Japanese architecture. I have repeatedly witnessed the way that his works have revitalized ancient buildings.”

 

Crescent House, Shigeru Ban, 2008, Takata, Shizuoka Prefecture. From Jutaku
Crescent House, Shigeru Ban, 2008, Takata, Shizuoka Prefecture. From Jutaku
 

And if you take an interest in Japanese buildings of a later vintage, then Japan is worth a trip for its domestic architecture alone. Our new book Jutaku is a survey of the world’s wildest domestic environment. Across 512 compact pages, the book shows how varied, innovative and beautiful Japanese housing stock has become.

 

House NA, Sou Fujimoto, 2011, Tokyo, Tokyo Prefecture. From Jutaku
House NA, Sou Fujimoto, 2011, Tokyo, Tokyo Prefecture. From Jutaku
 

Consider the spindly, glass-skinned House NA, created by Sou Fujimoto in 2011, in Tokyo, or the curved, pavilion-like Crescent House, designed by Shigeru Ban in 2008, in Takata, Shizuoka Prefecture; or the arboreal retreat, Pilotis in a Forest, by Go Hasegawa, built in 2010 in Tsumagoi, Gunma Prefecture. Take a look at these homes, and you’ll why houses in Japan are not limited to four walls and a roof.

 

Pilotis in a Forest, Go Hasegawa, 2010, Tsumagoi, Gunma Prefecture. From Jutaku
Pilotis in a Forest, Go Hasegawa, 2010, Tsumagoi, Gunma Prefecture. From Jutaku

And if you’re going to Japan, don’t forget to take a Wallpaper* City Guide. These pocket-sized, highly cultured guides feature three Japanese cities among their number: Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. And you can browse the full range here.


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