DALE HARDIMAN’S TOKYO
THE AUSTRALIAN DESIGNER SHARES HIS EXPERIENCES OF TOKYO AFTER WINNING A TRIP WITH VOGUE LIVING AS PART OF LEXUS NEXT, A PLATFORM SUPPORTING THE FUTURE OF DESIGN.
The Australian designer shares his experiences of Tokyo after winning a trip as part of Lexus Next
AS THE FIRST PLACE I had visited that was signifificantly difffferent to Australian culture, Tokyo seems kind, calm, a place for reflflflection. My impression after visiting numerous cultural institutions and speaking with local residents and creatives is that it feels like a city with a strong sense of cultural identity, especially when it comes to its design industry. Exhibitions are immaculately curated and the architecture is equally impressive. Japan has produced some of the world’s most incredible and prolifific designers — Issey Miyake, Oki Sato and Naoto Fukasawa, to name a few — and elements of their design legacy can be found all around Tokyo. A great example of this deep understanding of art, design and architecture is Scai the Bathhouse in the Taito ward of the city. This building was converted into a gallery from life as a public bathhouse in 1993 and was hosting a show by Anish Kapoor when I visited [pictured]. The 200-year-old façade is almost untouched, and the building’s history as a place of cultural heritage and integrity is well communicated within the updated interior. This feels like a common thread across a lot of what I saw — a deep understanding of history and a view of the future together, not opposing one another. If I had the opportunity to move my design practice to any city in the world, Tokyo would be at the top of the list. After only a short stay, I felt as though I had uncovered a fraction of what was on offffer and what could be learnt. Reflflecting on my practice now back in Australia, I feel even more inflfluenced by our own past — and how ‘contemporary’ doesn’t always need to mean ‘new’.