People - Page 9

An Encounter

Row House in SumiyoshiA slamming sound followed by a loud, angry voice broke the silence of the night. I turned my head towards the voice. A man in a white shirt holding a thick black binder was about to give another blow to the young man in a construction worker’s uniform and a hard hat. The furious man wasn’t big or tall but had a threatening presence complemented by his thick voice and a strong Osaka accent. Suddenly he turned and approached me. “Are you Fura-san (my pseudonym used in the ’80s)? I’m Tadao Ando.” He politely bowed once and looked at the objects spread all over the empty new building which had been designed by this renowned architect. “They’re beautiful… look like surfboards. Do you surf?”

This was how I first met Tadao Ando in 1984. A month after I had graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts (formerly known as Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music) I was commissioned to design the interior of Ando’s new building in the center of Osaka. Strangely enough, Ando who had been known as the most perfectionist of all architects in the world didn’t bother to meet the young unknown sculptor before giving the opportunity to design the interior of his new building. He had only seen some schematics and a model before the actual sculptural fixtures arrived at Osaka from Tokyo.

Many things I had heard about Tadao Ando was unusual for what one would expect from an architect: the only selftaught architect from Japan to have received worldwide acclaim, a former pro boxer who had fought all over in Asia, an architect who was feared by construction workers, a boss who threw an ashtray to his staffs with master degrees when upset, the architect who almost punched Dr. Peter Eisenman… above all, the most unexpected was his architecture. How would a man with such temper possibly create buildings with such serenity and awe?

Like his twin brother whom he didn’t grow up with under the same roof (Ando was raised by his grandparents), Tadao Ando started to fight professionally when other kids of his age were going to colleges. Later when his brother started graphic design he wanted to do something similar, too. During their early 20’s, the brothers designed most of the night clubs owned by Yamaguchi-gumi, the most powerful crime family (or better known as Yakuzas) in Japanese history. Then Ando gradually picked up small architecture projects neglected by aspiring architects with master degrees. He executed each project with uncompromising attention, even to the tiniest details. Most amazingly this young boxer had an incomparable aesthetic that most Japanese architects at that time couldn’t match. His breakthrough came with the smallest architecture with the smallest budget. The small row house in Sumiyoshi built in 1976 (Azuma House) earned the 34 year old Ando a world-wide recognition.

The following day of my encounter with Tadao Ando I visited his firm. He appeared somehow shy, but his extraordinary willpower could be felt in the air. We spoke about sculpture and architecture. Unfortunately I don’t remember much except his few remarks which has stuck in my mind over the years. One was, “An architecture always needs to be big enough to contain a person, but size is not a parameter in sculpture. A one centimeter sculpture could become a masterpiece.” There was another one, “When I have to build something on a tiny land, I feel like in the square jungle. A small project becomes a life or death matter.” Ando was a genius at bringing out so much out of a small space. He also told me that the life of a building would start after it was built, and he had to take care of the building as long as it stayed. And because of that he wouldn’t want to accept too many projects outside of Osaka.

Today clients and admirers of Tadao Ando include the most powerful figures in various fields of design, Giorgio Armani, Karl Lagerfeld, Rolf Fehlbaum (Vitra), just to name few. The scale and budget of each project is often infinite, and the design has become more stylish and elegant than ever. Is there still the hungry fighter? Sadly, I’d say no. As Ando’s bio has become relatively normal and behavior calmer, his architectures started to lose something that his earlier works had used to have. I cannot hear the heartbeat of a fierce fighter from the beautiful mass of concrete any more… or was it just a ghost that I heard when I had my own boiling ambition?




Laurent Le Guernec didn’t turn his childhood dream into a career but is still very passionate when he speaks about music and piano. He explains about the importance of studying GC (gas chromatography) at an early stage, “We tend to think learning GC is not important, but it’s like practicing solfège, it’s one of the basics.”

Ahaa I see, it sounds quite boring but seems as important as practicing to throw jabs and one-twos millions of times. In boxing the rule is simple: keep your feet and hands busy, or you ain’t gonna survive.


数年前、パトリック・ジュースキントの小説「香水 – ある人殺しの物語」の映画化が発表された時、香水を手掛けている大手化粧品会社は、こぞって映画に便乗した新しい香水の企画話を映画製作陣に持ち掛けたが、どの企画もトム・ティクヴァ監督ににべもなく断られた。

ところがつい先頃、ティクヴァ監督の出身地ドイツにて、映画「パフューム – ある人殺しの物語」が先行公開されると、ティエリー・ミュグレー/ル・パルファム・コフレなる、豪華な香水のセットが映画と合わせて発表された。このコフレの登場は、欧米の香水ファン間で大きな話題を呼ぶと同時に、クリストフ・ロダミエル/Christophe LaudamielというIFF社の(米国最大の香料会社)若手調香師の存在を一躍世に知らしめた。というのも実はこのコフレが、ティエリー ミュグレー パルファムスの発案によって誕生したのものではなく、クリストフ・ロダミエルがパトリック・ジュースキントの小説に取り憑かれる様にして、6年の間にこつこつと創ってきた香りのコレクションだったからだ。つまりこの映画が作られたおかげで、ロダミエル作の「香水 – ある人殺しの物語」のストーリにまつわる香り達が、まさに期を熟して日の目を見るかたちなったわけだ。

ジュースキントの小説の映画化が発表されると、クリストフ・ロダミエルは、真っ先にティエリー・ミュグレー パルファムスの社長、ヴェラ・ストゥルビ女史と会うことにした。時流やマーケティング ストラテジーに決して惑わされることなく、革新的な傑作を創ることで世界的に評価の高いストゥルビ女史は、ロダミエルの抱えてきたいくつもの香りを全て嗅ぎ終わると、即座に彼のアイデアを具体化することに全面的な協力をすること決めた。ミュグレー社のバックアップを取り付けたロダミエルは、彼の恋人であるドイツ人のクリストフ・ホーネッツの助けを得て、トム・ティクヴァ監督に香水の企画をドイツ語でプレゼンしたところ、今まで全ての映画関連商品の企画を断ってきたティクヴァ監督から、賞賛を受けるという幸運に恵まれて、この企画が実現することになった。


An Interview with Clement Gavarry

clementvideo.jpgFor your enjoyment, here is an interview with Clement Gavarry, a short film by Miss Liz. Clement talks about his source of inspiration, his favorite perfume ingredient and the creation of his that makes him most proud. Personally, I had only one comment running through my head when I was watching the interview…so handsome, so young, so talented! Enjoy!

If you would like to ask Clement a question, please do so in the comments section. He will try to answer some of them in a future post. [by Marina]

An Interview with Laurent Le Guernec

laurentvideo.jpgHere’s a short film starring Laurent, describing a little bit about himself and the way he works.

For whatever reason, I had it in my head he’d be a little different. Not personality-wise really, but when I think of the perfumers working at the big three companies, I always picture them in long white lab coats with their names sewed on the breast… Maybe it’s human nature to mentally uniform people respective to their occupation? Gah, I dunno. And now that I think of it, it IS a little ridiculous to think they’re skulking about all day in work smocks.

Because I knew Laurent and Clement had collaborated on Ms. Parker’s Lovely, I imagined them working together a little like this. Which I suppose would make Marina and I into the Lenny and Squiggy of my loopy scheme, sadly enough.

I clearly haven’t a clue.

So, anyhow… enjoy the interview! If you wish to ask Laurent some brief questions of your own, please leave them in the comments for this post, and he will try to answer some of them in future post.

Nobi, our blogging emcee and the mad genius behind this project, is currently unavailable for the rest of the month. He’s vacationing in a technology-deprived area, like the desert, or the Amish countryside, or my mom’s house (same rotary dial phone for 40 years), and won’t be able to check in here. However, Marina and I will check in as often as we can, and will try to keep house well! [by Katie]

Thursday, August 3, 2006, 6:27 PM.


© What We Do Is Secret

Clement Gavarry at his lab…

Quiz: There’s a CD player on the desk… what kind of music does Clement listen to most? Select a genre from below and answer in the comment thread.
Alternative, Blues, Chanson, Classical, Country, Dance, Hip-Hop/Rap, Jazz, Latin, Pop, R&B/Soul, Reggae, Rock
The quiz will close when someone answers correctly. The prize will be a scent that’s not on the market.