junya ishigami - how small? how vast? how architecture grows
junya ishigami - how small? how vast? how architecture grows
mar 23, 2014

junya ishigami - how small? how vast? how architecture grows

junya ishigami – how small? how vast? how architecture grows
cover of the exhibition catalog



designboom rating: junya ishigami - how small? how vast? how architecture grows junya ishigami - how small? how vast? how architecture grows junya ishigami - how small? how vast? how architecture grows junya ishigami - how small? how vast? how architecture grows  (excellent, recommended)


exhibition catalog


title: junya ishigami – how small? how vast? how architecture grows
editor: chinatsu kuma
publisher: hatje cantz
year: 2013
takuma hayashi
pages: 44
photos/illustrations: 140
size: 25.80 x 36.50 cm
format: hardcover
language: english, japanese
ISBN: 978-3-7757-3794-4
price: € 38.00



the art of architecture: between poetry and science


junya ishigamis work process is strictly methodical and oriented toward expanding the existing boundaries between design, architecture, and geography. the aesthetics of concentration, the transparency, and the simplicity of his ideas, models, and buildings are based on complex creative processes. ishigami presents his holistic search for the right proportions in a new publication: how small? how vast? how architecture grows, edited by chinatsu kuma, with texts by junya ishigami, and graphic design by takuma hayashi.


‘for me, as a japanese person, natural elements are also always artificial.’ explains the 39-year-old, ‘there is no authentic nature – even forests and landscapes are artificially created.’

junya ishigami – how small? how vast? how architecture grows exhibition in arc en reve – view of the exhibition




currently, arc en rêve centre d’architecture in bordeaux, presents the exhibition ‘junya ishigami – how small? how vast? how architecture grows’, jointly produced with the desingel international arts and the flamish architecture instituteon show until april 27, 2014. originally conceived for the shiseido gallery in japan (august – october, 2010), the show has been adapted and went to the gallery desingel in antwerp (february-june 2013).


for junya ishigami, architecture is a world of infinite possibilities: both a repository of knowledge and a laboratory for prospective experimentation. his approach, which combines scientific and poetic elements, forms the basis for a dreamlike creative process that transforms dreams into reality. he mainly draws inspiration from nature, methodically conceptualizing his projects and always seeking to push back their limits. though apparently simple, his work is both rich and complex. it both contains and embraces the complexity of the worlds we live in, blurring the frontiers between design, architecture, urbanism, landscape and geography. his tireless quest for transparency and lightness goes beyond the minimalist aesthetic. it is rooted in a determination to rid architecture of appearances and futility in order to achieve perfect harmony: architecture must step aside to create a total environment celebrating nature. the exhibition presents 56 projects via experimental models, some large, some small, made of white or colored metal, wood or cardboard. ishigami’s work explores issues such as density, transport, landscapes, structures, scale, and the urban/rural dichotomy.

58 projects adorn narrow wooden boards that are neither tables nor benches. models, miniatures, drawings, and watercolors – in orderly rows, as if placed in a sterile laboratory.




these models make up a body of work that asks the underlying question: how can architecture re-enchant the world? ishigami’s acute awareness of the way humans relate to their environment and the way he calls on us to design alternative ways of living are wonderfully reflected in this show. this “presence and absence” of architecture cultivates a form of ambiguity at the boundaries between occupied and empty space, architecture and nature, the artificial and the organic, resulting in extraordinary spaces. in just a few years junya ishigami has opened the way for an approach that is able to go beyond technical processes and build a poetic world and inhabitable forms– from the infinitely small to the infinitely large.

the models are lined up on 8 white tables, 9.21 meters long, with a width of only 30 cm, and a 1 cm thickness

junya ishigami – how small? how vast? how architecture grows exhibition in arc en reve – detail

the models ask the underlying question: how can architecture re-enchant the world?

exhibition detail

experimental models are made of white or colored metal, wood or cardboard

the display calls on us to consider and design alternative ways of living


excerpt from the catalog


excerpt from the catalog

at the end of the retrospective a conclusion awaits visitors in a second room: the installation ‘little gardens’ displays a collection of tiny miniature flowers that look like candies, placed on a round white table with three thin legs.




junya ishigami (1974) studied architecture at the tokyo national university of fine arts and music. for him architecture is a boundless field of infinite possibilities that affects every area of life while raising existential questions and requiring both scientific and artistic observation. besides childhood fantasies and the power of imagination, the winner of the golden lion at the 2010 venice biennale of architecture is also inspired by nature. he has worked for kazuyo sejima and ryue nishizawa/SANAA. in 2004 he set up his own firm, junya.ishigami+associates. he has made his name in our part of the world with experimental installations that lie somewhere between furniture, art and architecture. his first major brief was for a place for study and work at the japanese kanagawa institute of technology. since then he has completed building projects in japan, russia, chile, france, and the netherlands.

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