In contrast to the Western world, furniture does not have much of a presence within traditional Japanese architecture. Kengo Kuma believes that this unique stance towards furniture is not due solely to the practice of sitting on tatami matting on the floor, but rather also stems from the transparent nature of this architecture. Bringing large furniture with a strong presence into transparent spaces such as these would ruin the carefully crafted aesthetic. Over the centuries, Japanese designers have sought sophisticated designs that minimise scale and create delicate pieces. In this book, Kuma explores how to design modern furniture as an extension of these innovations.
Varella and his peers know that even concrete and glass are ultimately ephemeral, that there’s no human tool strong enough to reverse environmental degradation. You can pull a beach from the ocean, but there’s no guarantee the ocean won’t take it back. As he points out, “There’s no such thing as permanent architecture.”
“There’s a phrase, ‘To step lightly on the ground,’ that we like to borrow from Ailton Krenak,” Ayako says, referring to the 70-year-old activist and intellectual who recently became the first Indigenous thinker inducted into the Brazilian Academy of Letters. “That [doesn’t] necessarily mean delicate buildings or light structures,” she adds. “For me, it’s about paying attention to where you are.”