On May 14th
“I” is for Isozaki
Arata Isozaki was born in Oita City, Japan, in 1931. He studied with Kenzo Tange, one of Japan’s leading modern architects, at the University of Tokyo from 1950 to 1954. He worked for Tange for a number of years and then went out on his own, but continued to collaborate with KT into the 70’s. This attitude is in keeping with native Japanese practices that stress collaboration and cooperation, rather than competition, among professionals. Encyclopedia.com
Architecture writer Martin Filler called Isozaki and his wife, sculptor Aiko Miyawaki, “true cultural citizens of the world.” Raised in a home where his businessman father wrote haiku poetry, he later was attracted toward the avant-garde and readily called his tastes “radical” in everything from music to literature. LA Times:Tastemakers
Furniture & Architecture
One can see how Japanese design is as much about emptiness as it is about structure – a perspective that comes naturally to the country that gave Zen Buddhism to the world. Japan-ness In Architecture Arata Isozaki
“What is the essence of Japanese design? Perhaps it is best exemplified in the clean lines of the Marilyn Chair , designed by architect Arata Isozaki in 1972. Isozaki combined the curves of Marilyn with the narrow, vertical lines found in the Mackintosh high-back chair.” Book: Japanese Design:A Survey Since 1950 Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928), was in turn influenced by Japanese design. In its curved side view, the chair makes reference to the body shape of Marilyn Monroe. The chair is constructed of bent laminated wood and a solid beech frame. It retains its original leather-covered upholsteredseat. Denver Museum of Art
In 1963 he established Arata Isozaki & Associates, the base from which he continued to work ever since. From his 1960s work such as Oita Prefectural Library, to his 1990s work in locations as far afield as Barcelona, Orlando, Kraków, Nagi in Okayama Prefecture, Kyoto, Nara, La Coruña, Akiyoshidai in Yamaguchi Prefecture and Berlin, to his 21st century work in the Middle East, China, Central Asia, and elsewhere, Isozaki has created an architecture so personal in its ideas and spaces that it defies characterization in any single school of thought. At the same time he resists the temptation to apply a signature style to his jobs, preferring instead to create architectural solutions specific to the political, social and cultural contexts of the client and site in question. YCAM Re-Mark
Isozaki draws from a wide-ranging store of references. MOCA’s pyramid-shaped skylights do indeed reflect Egyptian pyramids, for instance, but they are also simple geometric forms. Influenced first by his teacher, the prominent Japanese architect Kenzo Tange, by Le Corbusier and, later, by Otto Wagner, the architect builds on rather than discards his traditional training.
As the first museum ever to be entirely dedicated to the human species, Domus shines as a source of pride for Galicia. Japanese architect Arata Isozaki designed the Domus complex, which contains a museum, restaurant and IMAX theater, to look like a ship sail. davidsbeenhere
Arata Isozaki was instantly recognizable by his distinctive style of dress. He often wore traditional Japanese clothing, and he favored the color black. He appeared on the cover of the New York Times Magazine in 1986, dressed in a “dazzingly” fashionable Issey Miyake creation. By presenting himself as being sartorially distinct from the crowd, Isozaki provided a contemporary parallel to the flamboyant Frank Lloyd Wright, the famous American architect (and admirer of Japanese culture) who continued to affect Victorian dress long after it passed out of style. Encyclopedia.com
Irata Isozaki, Japanese architect, teacher and theorist. He will be remembered as the designer of such prestigious international projects as Barcelona’s Olympic Stadium, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Tokyo University of Art and Design, the Team Disney Building in Orlando, FL…..and the list goes on.
I feel compelled to share this other aspect to his architectural aesthetic that came up often in my research and should be considered when you look at his body of work. Being Japanese brought both light and darkness to the architecture.
There is thus always an undercurrent of morbid scepticism lying beneath the exuberance of his aesthetic form—a darkness of spirit that became overt from time to time. In his Electric Labyrinth (1968), designed for the Triennale in Milan, for example, the exhibition was haunted by an image of the devastated Hiroshima, combined with traditional Japanese ghosts and demons representing the revengeful spirits of the nuclear disaster. MOMA.org
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