Next to a historic Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan, sits a little glass teahouse. Designed and built by Japanese designer, Tokujin Yoshioka, the teahouse is an updated take on the more traditional Japanese tea houses often used for extravagant tea ceremonies. Focusing on serene beauty, the tea ceremonies date back to thousands of years ago, and Yoshioka hoped to explore this tradition while incorporating more modern elements into its design and structure. “KOU-AN Glass Tea House will be an opportunity to look back what the origin of Japanese culture is,” the designer explained to Dezeen magazine. “What I wanted to attempt to do through this project is not just to express the regeneration of tradition and history by modern design, but to think and trace why the tea ceremony, which is one of Japan’s symbolic cultures, has been generated,” he said. The pretty teahouse sits next to the Shoren-in Temple, which happens to be one of the five Monzeki temples of the Tendei sect of Buddhism in Kyoto – meaning it was initially built to be the residence of a priest. While a traditional teahouse would typically be built in a Japanese garden, Yoshioka decided to concentrate more on the mysterious atmosphere of the location. With stunning views of the temples’ beautiful gardens, the Kyoto landscape and the Higashiyama Mountains in the distance, the teahouse sits in a particularly serene area that boasts an atmosphere like no other. The roof of the teahouse is made from overlapping glass panels supported by a steel framework while the floor is comprised of glass slabs that have a rippled surface to catch the light. According to the designer’s website, “the project KOU-AN Glass Tea House is not just a modernised teahouse that was evolved from traditional style tea house, but a project that traces origin of the culture which is peculiar to Japan.”
Tokujin is planning to exhibit around the world in the hope that he can provide people with insights into the project that they otherwise might not get to experience, and by producing work that is reflective of the Japanese culture.