our profession is based on the notion of secrecy

Vanden Eeckhoudt – Creyf architectes

The best part of keeping this blog is discovering new architects around the world and their works. Today, we invite you to view the work of the architect duo Nicolas Vanden Eeckhout and Laurence Creyf in Brussels. (Thanks, Stéphane!)

ブリュッセルを拠点に活躍する建築デュオ Nicolas Vanden Eeckhout(ニコラス ファンデン エークハウト)さんと Laurence Creyf(ロホンス クレイフ)さんのウェブサイトと作品を御紹介 Continue Reading

Tsuta House by SPEAC – more than a renovation

Photo © Takeshi Yamagishi
When so called “IVY House,” an abandoned house in Tokyo renovated by SPEAC, was posted at ArchDaily and Dezeen a few weeks ago, it was not received well by their readers. It made me wonder since the house captured my heart instantly. I started to think about a cultural difference in food. Most Japanese would salivate seeing alive fish, but on the contrary, Westerners would react differently – many of them associate the smell of bad fish. Unless you grew up in Tokyo in the late ’60s through early ’70s, probably it’s difficult to see this project the way I do, and for most, probably it’s just meaningless.

The original house was something typical that I had seen as a kid growing up in a middle-class neighborhood of Tokyo in the late ’60s. One has to understand the living standard of middle-class Japan during the ’60s through the early ’70s was that of a lower class in the United States. I grew up both in New York and Tokyo as a child and could never forget the contrast between the two very different qualities of lives.

It’s easy to figure out that this project had a small budget from the start, and that made the outcome of the project special. Let’s put it this way, a middle-class home built in a developing East Asian country in the late ’60s gets a recession-style makeover of 2009. What we see here is nothing fancy or cool (well, it is actually COOL). The void between the two eras, before and after the collapse of the “bubble economy” in Japan during the ’80s, is omnipresent throughout the house. If you cannot appreciate it as a good renovation, I suggest you see it as art!

I will omit the statement from SPEAC and call it Tsuta House instead of IVY House on this blog Continue Reading

SPEAC, inc.

One thing I have noticed since I started to post about architecture here is that I receive amazing architectural renderings from young architects in Europe and other countries but have never seen such things from young Japanese architects. The young Japanese architects seem to have more opportunities to build new houses and buildings, and that may have something to do with the fact that I have hardly seen a jaw-dropping architecture proposal by a young Japanese architect – I only get to see actual results in photographs. However things are changing, and now there are too many aspiring architects in Japan trying to win fewer projects compared to maybe a decade ago. I started to see more cases where a few architects working together on a relatively small project. As a matter of fact, I often find a project which is done by a group of architects more interesting than a solo work.

It is slightly different from, say, a group of three designers working simply on a same project together, but here is an even more interesting example how younger architects try to thrive in a shrinking market. The three partners of a Tokyo-based firm SPEAC, Inc. all studied architecture. Atsumi Hayashi, one of the two founding partners of the firm, studied architecture at the elite “Todai” (The University of Tokyo), then real estate development at Columbia University, and worked at McKinsey & Company before establishing SPEAC. The other founding partner Hiroya Yoshizato studied architecture at the Tokyo Metropolitan University and cofounded RealTokyoEstate, a real estate company, with several others prior to establishing SPEAC with Hayashi. Hiroyuki Miyabe, the third partner, who joined SPEAC in 2007 has focused on architectural design since his graduation from The University of Tokyo. Miyabe worked for a renowned Japanese architect Atsushi Kitagawara before his research at The Technical University of Lisbon.

SPEAC is a multidisciplinary firm, and by looking at their resumes, it’s not so difficult to guess the roll of each partner at SPEAC. In fact, it is much easier than to imagine how multiple architects work together on a small to midsize project in Japan. We are going to show one of SPEAC‘s smaller projects tomorrow (or the day after…), which I personally fell in love with, but first, I would like to encourage you to explore SPEAC‘s website.

調香師 ブルーノ・ジョヴァノヴィック



Photo © Sadao Hotta
This is a renovation of a 770 square feet apartment in Tokyo. Imagine a family of five living in such a small space – you need to be clever and imaginative, for sure Continue Reading



二年前に『夏に一番の香水は?』という特集インタヴューを受けた時に、このようなコメントをして顰蹙を買ったことがある。この気持ちは、今でも基本的には変わっていないと思いたい… と、少し躊躇するような言い方になってしまうのには理由がある。先日御報告したが、この夏は、オリヴィエ・ポルジュの『ラノニム』(我が社の久々の新作)を毎日のように試着している。どことなく暖かい感じがある香りなので、夏向きというような具合に季節の限定されるタイプの香水ではないのだが、異常に蒸し暑い今年のニューヨークの夏に於いても、とても快適な香りなのが嬉しい。そう言えば、乾燥していたけど猛暑だった七月のローマで、この香りに惚れてしまったのだったけか… 以前に「世界香水ガイド」の著者ルカ・トゥリン博士が、『エスパフュームは、車の世界に喩えるなら、オートショーで目にするようなバリバリのコンセプトカーのようなブランドだ。』と述べたことがある。全くその通りである。エスパフュームでは、使い手のことは余り考えず、「未来」だけを見据えてきたが、今回は消費者のことを一生懸命考えている。新作『ラノニム』は、過去のエスパフュームのシリーズからは切り離された、私にとっての初めての『商品』になるだろう。

バリ島でのヴァケーションから戻ってきた親友が、先週末遊びに来た。元々はフィルメニッヒのエバリュエーターだった女性だが、現在はロレアルが抱える香水ブランド(サンローラン、アルマーニなど)の開発に関わっている。親友である彼女とは、日頃アートの話をすることはあっても、香水の話になることはまず無い。それが、先日はうちに来るなり、”Nobi, what are you wearing? You smell DIVINE!” と言い、私が何を付けているのかに興味津々だった。その前日まで、微かにあった疑問が、それでスッカリ吹き飛んだ。香水の世界に於いて、斬新だとか、最先端というコンセプトで香りを創ることに於いては誰にも負けない自信があるし、ドミニク・ロピオンのような調香師達だけではなく、フレデリック・マルやマイケル・エドワーズのような専門筋の間でもこのことを認めてくれる方々が多い。ところが、普通なんだけど抜群に良いものというコンセプトには、今まで縁が無かったわけだ。今回は、オリヴィエ・ポルジュのお陰で『普通だけど凄い』ということに、思い切り開眼することができ大感謝。もともとは、あのシャネルのジャック・ポルジュの息子で将来シャネルを継ぐ可能性大という不純な動機から興味を持ったのだが、2年前にケンゾーパワーに惚れ、折あらば… と、いう感じでいた。今回、この『ラノニム』の香りにすっかりやられてしまい、自分でも結構驚いている。奥が深いとは正にこのことだ。

この『ラノニム』、お値段の方は、12ドルぐらいに収まるよういろいろな面での検討をしている。オリヴィエ・ポルジュの抜群に素晴らしい香りがたったの12ドル、この部分だけは斬新で未来的かな? どちらかと言えば男性的な香りだという意見が周りであるが、個人的には、この香りは女性が着けるからかっこいいと思う。ちょうど、どことなくフェミニンなケンゾーパワーの好対照だ。内容成分はユニセックス用の香水として世界各国の安全基準に沿うようなものになっている。

i29 interior architects: compact interior


オランダから、素敵なインテリアデザインの写真が送られてきました Continue Reading