Saturday, September 13, 2014

BEAUTY: Architecture--Glass Tea House Mondrian

This past July 2014 at the Venice Biennale Architettura, artist Hiroshi Sugimoto unveiled his stunning, lyrical Glass Tea House Mondrian on the Venetian island of San Giorgio Maggiore. It is a faithful, traditional Japanese tea house with one exception: its walls are made of glass. The art of the tea ceremony is an ancient one and depends upon the silence and solitude of the space and its effect on the tea master and the guests (which is often limited to two or four people). But the seasons and nature are often a large part of the tea ceremony as well: the small food items often served during the ceremony change with the time of year and sometimes a small ikebana arrangement will reflect the outdoors as well. So it seems fitting that the outdoors and inside of the tea house could influence each other in such a vital way.

Sugimoto designed the glass cube in conjunction with Bisazza, the Italian tile manufacturer, who lined the forty-foot long reflecting pool in blue mosaic tiles.

The exterior fencing around the pavilion is made entirely of cedar wood, sourced from the Tōhoku region which was devastated by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.

As dictated by tea ceremony tradition, the host (tea master) and guests enter through different doors. Above, the tea master enters the space through this side of the tea house...

...while the guests traditionally enter through a low, small door, a deliberate design which subliminally signals a change of perspective to the guests, and an important shift of consciousness.

Above: Kazuyo Sejima and creator of the tea house Hiroshi Sugimoto with their tea master

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