Those who have been to Japan will have visited the ancient capital Kyoto but may not have heard of a city called Kamakura. Kamakura is a city by the Pacific ocean 40 miles south-west of Tokyo and was the capital during 1192 to 1333. Today Kamakura is a relatively quiet town where Buddha meditates in the barrel, and surfers meet a Samurai from the past.
Kamakura is my “soul city” where I attended a Jesuit school founded by German priests shortly after World War II, and whose school uniforms were supplied by the U.S. military (they donated a bunch of used U.S. Army uniforms). Unlike Kyoto where aristocrats had always been omnipresent, Continue Reading
I will keep trashing about incredibly lame architectures in New York City by Starchitects and will infinitely miss the old Meat Packing Diistrict before its hideous change. However, I’m pleased to find at least one recently developed architecture that’s original and very New York.
A wind tunnel by Renzo Piano, assembly lines by Jean Nouvel, and a restaurant by MDN (Marco Visconti & Partners) – Ferrari has invested more than €200,000,000 since 1997 for the renovation of their facilities in Maranello, Italy.
In the early ’80s, I took a job at Nissan’s assembly line for the export model of Nissan Z-car in Hiratsuka, Japan. Day and night shifts alternated each week. My job was to grind off hundreds of rough edges created by spot welding on the body of Nissan 280ZX, wearing a protective full suit connected to an air hose. I had approximately 150 seconds to run around the body of a car, which was moving towards the next section of the line, removing all the rough edges using a relatively big air grinder and having two air hoses around myself, one attached to the hood covering my entire head and the other connected to the grinder. I would get yelled at by a supervisor once in a while for making a small scratch on the unpainted hood. If I had a day without making a scratch on any of the 170 car bodies that went through the line, the day was glorious. I’m sure things at Japanese car manufacturers have become safer and nicer since then.
I remember that my coworkers on the same assembly line were talking about retirement often. Everybody was trying to find a way to get out of there as early as possible since stamina and speed were the first things you needed to end each day safely. The chatting took place during the 10-minute break or lunch break, in a small booth next to the line or at a huge cafeteria without sufficient light. Everyday when I walked through the enormous dark facilities to get to my assembly line, I wondered how a company like Nissan, which was exporting nice cars to the United Arab Emirates and North America, could let their workers be in an overly depressing environment.
Looking at these images of the new facilities of Ferrari makes me want to work in their assembly line again. It’s utterly glorious.
The Brazilian shoemaker Melissa, known for their collaborations with some of the hottest designers from different fields, teamed up with Zaha Hadid this time. They built a massive sculpture of the shoe to show off the design (video below).
The video reminds me a lot of what I used to do when I was a more productive and constructive person. My old studios in DUMBO looked quite similar to what you see here. Those are the good old days.