Atsushi Kitagawara seems to have embraced the notion that the weird, or aesthetically strange (the word abhorrent might also be used here…), more often than not, paves the way to the sublime.
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The nouvelle vague of post-modernist architecture was widely embraced by the Asian Cultures, especially by that one country whence the sun rises, which in turn might have helped solidify it unwillingly. It’s a rather easy riddle, and we’re sure that pretty much everyone has gotten the reference, but one of the most influential architects of post-modernity is Tadao Ando, which paved the way not only for a new style of Japanese Architecture & Design, an aesthetic which drinks its inspiration from that atonality of beauty, style, and color, but a whole new way of envisioning structures to be inhabited, used, or plainly just contemplated by humans.
Kitagawara, while not as fond of concrete and grey as Ando, does at times indulge in similar architectural endeavors. However, his link with nature is ever enduring, as one can deduce by his magnificent work with the Japan Pavilion at the Milan International Exposition in 2015, as well as a watchtower erected at the Kaisho forest, conceived in a partnership with the Tokyo College of Art Kitakawara laboratory as an essay of sorts on the heritage of traditional Japanese woodwork technology. And exploring is what drives the mind and creativity forward, isn’t it?
One work by Atsushi that caught the eye, not only for its similarity with the post-modernist ventures of his contemporaries but also for its somewhat alien geometric shapes (which in itself is another trademark of this transhumanistic post-modern take on architecture), is the Hotel Keyforest Hokuto. The grey, bland, and angular shape of this structure juxtaposes in just the right way the brown, green, yellow, blue and red of the surrounding forest paradise. This building was built with the primary directive of not harming nature and any trees whatsoever, which in turn, lead to the still relatively novel idea of accommodating the construction to nature and not the other way around.
The architect also envisioned some conceptual furniture designs, some of which are pieces that could very well come from an imaginative fantasy world of the highest order, a treat to both the eye & heart, proving that the creative landscape of his mind is quite eclectic.
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