In Venice, A Transparent Tea House by Hiroshi Sugimoto
Architecture & Interiors
Managing to pay tribute to an ancient Japanese tradition, Venetian artisans, and the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian all at once, Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto has designed a sublime structure that’s grabbing headlines at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale.
Sugimoto’s Glass Tea House Mondrian Pavillion, a temporary installation that includes a meticulously appointed courtyard and reflecting pool over which the glass and wood tea house resides, is a contemporary re-imagining of the simple wooden edifices used to house Japanese tea ceremonies. Sugimoto’s choice of glass is an homage to Venice’s storied glass makers, while Mondrian and his famous preoccupation with the grid appears to have been his creative muse. “I decided that a Japanese transliteration of the name ‘Mondrian’ would be an ideal name. I like to think that this tea house was designed by Mondrian after he heard Sen No Rikyû speaking to him through the singing of the birds.”
Sen No Rikyû is a revered historical figure, seminal to the inception of Japan’s tea ceremony—and while we can only wonder what he would have made of Sugimoto’s interpretation of a traditionally private ritual, now placed on full display, Sugimoto admirers (count us in) aren’t going to be complaining much.Images: Design Boom