One of the nicest discoveries of my recent visit to Tokyo was realizing that Tokyo is filled with culture and arts. In the Rippongi area there are a number of world-class art museums, with top notch exhibitions with some of the finest arts and design in the world. My day wondering around Rippongi and visiting those arts museums was one of the most interesting arts adventures I’ve ever had.
Of those museums, the one that was the most special to me was the 2121 design museum which opened in 2007 by some of Japan’s best design celebrities (e.g. Issey Miyake). The main idea is to elicit creativity by challenging the way you look at the world and allowing for an interactive participative experience than goes beyond walking and staring. Each of the exhibits engages you in a way that museums rarely do. It was a real treat.
Tokyo Art Space writes :
Opened in 2007, this sleek, angular Tadao Ando-designed building is now one of Tokyo’s signature works of architecture: two triangular shards of steel-reinforced concrete and glass that rise up out of the ground, conveying lightness and poise.
21_21 Design Sight is one of the more restrained additions to the ongoing redevelopment of Roppongi, a thoughtful contemporary transition between the monolithic shopping utopia of the Tokyo Midtown complex and the low-rise residential areas that surround it. Furthermore, whereas its seamless steel roof and concrete walls could have made for a cold and overbearing interior, its trapezoidal spaces manage to be both futuristic and intimate. Despite seventy percent of the building being located below ground level, a large lightwell lets in natural light. Exhibitions are ambitious, installationlike environments.
Given the international renown of Japanese design, it comes as a surprise that 21_21 Design Sight is Japan’s first design ‘museum.’ However, directed by three of Japan’s most famous designers — Issey Miyake, Taku Satoh and Naoto Fukasawa — its ambitious exhibitions, events and workshops strive to transcend preconceived categories and expectations of what design should be.
Want to have a look? let’s go in…
Can’t really explain what all those are about, but you might notice the main theme is about colors. How we perceive colors, what colors mean, how they interact, etc.
Here’s me, in various versions of color…
And an exhibit that challenged you to find glasses that match your skin color. Do we want contrasts or do we want things to blend in?
The museum is set in a lovely little park, with lots of interesting people to watch, and a pond to dip your feet during the hot summer day.
If you’re in the Rippongi area, especially if you’re into arts museums, do not miss this. You’re bound to have a good time, or at the very least – challenge the core of your conception of design and art.