junya ishigami, the best designer of the 2021 DESIGN AWARD, unveils tokushima culture and arts room


la madonnina d’or OF THE 2021 DESIGN AWARD | BEST DESIGNER

designboom publishes junya ishigami‘s arts and culture room in tokushima, Japan, before being rewarded with the madonnina d’or 2021 trophy from milan THE DESIGN AWARD (find out more here). rewarded by “Best creator”, ishigami meticulously designed the new cultural and artistic hall as a landscape of terraces that resemble petals dancing in the air. the project is developed with the same attention to detail that ishigami applies in all of his works, including recent examples such as the ‘kokage-gumo’ flag, a temporary structure topped by a charred wood canopy that wraps around pre-existing trees in tokyo, as well as the ‘water garden biotop art’, a poetic earthworks landscape nestled among the foothills of the Nasu Mountains of Japan.

designboom has been following the work of junya ishigami since starting his own business, junya.ishigami + associates. before that, Japanese architect work with kazuyo sejima and ryue nishizawa from a widely recognized company SANAA. “I wanted to do several things growing up and it all depended on the weather”, ishigami told designboom in this interview of 2010. “But they still have something to do with making things, making things. Sometimes I wanted to be a designer, sometimes an engineer, anything that involved creating or producing. ‘

THE Tokushima Arts and Culture Hall

instead of a huge box that is on the site, junya ishigamithe winning entry of the competition for the culture and arts hall in tokushima is characterized by a series of terraces, which together form a vast livable landscape. in connection with the tokushima central park, which is located next to the site and houses the ruins of tokushima castle, the shape of the terraces resembles petals dancing in the air. this composition also recalls the procession of awa odori, the biggest dance festival in Japan, which takes place in Tokushima Prefecture every August.

the Japanese architecture workshop has developed a proposal that aims to open the hall to the city and its inhabitants, making it a place where they can spend a lot of time, relax and enjoy their day and the shows presented. since the entire installation is made up of a collection of terraces, neither large rooms nor small rooms or other functions have a clear outline.“Public buildings in the future, not limited to hall buildings, must be able to flexibly change their roles and use in the event of various events that may arise suddenly”, ishigami note in the project description. “For example, our proposal is that in the event of a flood, a terrace floating in the air can also be used as an evacuation place. or, under current conditions of widespread infection, outdoor / semi-outdoor terraces and well-ventilated interiors are essential. we aim to be able to adapt to various situations. ‘

junya ishigami, THE DESIGN PRIZE 2021 best designer, unveils tokushima culture + arts hall
the terraces of the tokushima culture and art room seen from above

unlike typical concert hall designs, where the space is formed by uniform seats that are packaged in a box and look in one direction at a time, the interior of this main hall is made of petal-shaped platforms which give it a unique personality. these can serve different purposes when a performance is not taking place. for example, each home can be transformed into an independent space, where exhibitions or conferences can be organized. meanwhile, the installation small room is planned as open to the city and the landscape of the site, with a clear glass wall that gently envelops the space. the public seats here are built based on the style of the ancient amphitheater. the project also includes a series of other functions, such as an open-air cinema, a restaurant terrace, an aquatic stage, a semi-underground multi-purpose studio and various foyers and gardens.

junya ishigami, THE DESIGN PRIZE 2021 best designer, unveils tokushima culture + arts hall
large entrance square: light shines through the interstices between the many tiles, creating a bright square space

junya ishigami, the design award 2021 best designer

since the creation of his workshop in Tokyo in 2004, ishigami has developed a number of installations and designs which have been exhibited on international platforms. these include the venice architecture biennial in 2008, where he created a garden landscaping in the space of the Japanese pavilion, and the same event in 2010, where he exhibited the installation ‘chateau la coste’ – a project which earned him the price of the golden lion (Following here).

“While product designers can easily experiment at a 1: 1 scale, architects work on a much more abstract level and on an imaginary scale,” said the Japanese architect when asked about his perception of scale and transparency during our interview. “As an architect with scale models I extend or reduce the actual scale and can be much more flexible than a product designer. drawing new boundaries in architecture can sometimes mean “transparent” air walls but also very thick, very dense, invisible. it is then that the environment creates its own space. which was usually remains invisible is also an interesting perception of space. this is what i tried to do in the installation ‘chateau la coste’ at the venice biennale 2010. or another distortion of perception was shown to kortrijk in the installation ‘picnic’ indoors 2010. serial products form a society… come to life. a more comfortable environment is needed. see more images from the ishigami culture and art hall in tokushima below, and stay tuned for news regarding its 2021 DESIGN AWARD “Best Designer” award ceremony.

junya ishigami, THE DESIGN PRIZE 2021 best designer, unveils tokushima culture + arts hall
the open terraces immerse people in a light atmosphere that favors transparency and connection with nature

junya ishigami, THE DESIGN PRIZE 2021 best designer, unveils tokushima culture + arts hall
water stage: a shallow pool that can be used as a water stage for shows and events (water can be removed if needed)


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