TOP > Report > Creative Café featured Architecture series No 1 'Stainable Beauty' 1/2

Creative Café featured Architecture series No 1 'Stainable Beauty' 1/2pict


Toshiro Tanaka
Representative of Grid Frame civil engineering and construction group.
After graduating from Kyoto Department of Civil Engineering, has travelled to over 20 developing countries. After working for Vinecon, studied construction at New York State University, with an emphasis on Grid-Form construction systems. In June 1998, set up the Grid-Frame company. While selling furniture and screens made from experimental materials, we are growing into a company which provides internal fittings and layouts to shops based on our original methods. Up until the present, we have over 250 designs implemented.

Travelling to 27 countries
stainable1.jpgTanaka:thank you very much for today. I'm the Representative of Grid Frame company which creates internal decorative spaces.
Tsuda:in your student days, you certainly visited various countries, Mr Tanaka.
Tanaka:yes, 27 countries-not just Europe or America most were in Asia or Africa. In the future I thought I would like to make dams or bridges but because I hate insects, I wanted to check beforehand whether I could really live there. In Kenya, I was bit once by a mosquito and my leg swelled to twice its normal size. However by going there, there were many things which exceeded my expectations
In the backstreets of Morocco's Fez city, there is a place called the labyrinth, and the walls have been eroded by the wind and various things had died, but even in such an environment, I would not want to give orders to 'live differently' to people who seemed comfortable with the situation.
Tsuda:when you saw this, did you feel it was beautiful? 
A:I like rust etc very much, so just seeing it I felt the history and its profundity.
E:I am of the opposite opinion. My thinking is 'doesn't exposure to wind and rain etc. cause injury to people', and don't think it is beautiful.

Stainable Beauty
Tanaka:so let's start thinking about the thing called 'Stainable beauty'. Firstly the opposite of stainable beauty is unstainable beauty. Unstainable beauty is for instance the picture in an art gallery. I think this beauty is the sort that you must not touch, and of course you cannot damage the surface. On the other hand the thing that I have called stainable beauty can in reality be dirtied.
I:this so-called stainable beauty, I don't mind if it is something outside you, but if it is something inside you, isn't it like a villain you'd like to bump off some time?
Tsuda:human psychology is very amusing isn't it? How do you grasp internal pollution and external 'Stainable Beauty' ?
stainable2.jpgTanaka:Doesn't stainable beauty involve feeling disorder and accepting it as a necessary part of order? In Barcelona in the old part of the city there is an apartment. Half of it is derelict, so it is not a place which one would normally run ones life. I see this connected with the fact that Barcelona has created lots of young artists. Isn't it a case that although it is in a dead condition, life has been born from the death, and a lot of power has been born I believe.
G:Perhaps you mean there may be no order, but in contrast there are orderly things within the whole? That's very beautiful I think.
H:Individually, beauty is the same as pretty don't you think? Therefore I don't think you can call it beautiful.
Tsuda:Even in Japanese culture, there is wabi (regret) and sabi (rust). For instance Tenshin Okura (The book of tea), swept the Temple Gardens and made it very clean. An elderly priest emerged and roared "that's outrageous". He shook a tree and dead leaves fell on the garden and dirtied it. That's better he said. There is such a story but if I don't put the thing that destroyed order somewhere, we can't really see order as something beautiful. I feel like there is a paradoxical place but is it possible to understand the meaning there?

The difference between art and design
Tanaka:In this area there is a relationship between art and design. My sense is that design is something which is 'done'; art is something which 'becomes'. With design, the direction and goal are precisely decided, and one proceeds directly towards them. I regard something which has resulted from a goal as basically worthless. With art, at the stage when it is made, we may do or proceed to something but through the process of making it, various unnecessary things are included and in the work produced, there can be seen many aspects which are outside the original intention. Don't we recognise art as the process where there will be things that could not be imagined at the beginning? Stainable beauty is art. I would like to create spaces as art.

Can we see things as they really are?
4708139828_cc3f79b58a_b.jpgTanaka:In Buffalo city, where I learned construction in America, there are many scrap yards. This is where items which have been thrown away are piled together. If you look carefully, there are things ranging from expensive items such as Mercedes-Benz bodies to very cheap and low quality things, and their existence has been changed so that they are all measured just by the weight of the pile.
When I set eyes on the scrap, I thought there were three ways of looking at it. Just looking at quantity, looking at the function, or just looking at it as a thing. Normally, there is the functional way of looking at the bike as a bike, or a table as a table. However the scrap yard contains discarded items thus basically there is no function. Therefore we just have to look at the item's existence.
These may be discarded things but to me, they were irreplaceable things. It's a space which can create such a feeling. We can say it is a one-to-one relationship and I faced these objects myself.
tsuda:A German named Heidegger wrote a fantastic great work called 'Existence and time', which is a revolutionary book asking the question 'what is existence?' In this book, a broken hammer appears. This is an existence without function. And just as you have already said, it is a scary and weird thing. But doesn't this broken hammer have an existence? Its function has ceased but here isn't the 'revelation of existence' taking place?

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