JOANNA KAWECKI’S TOKYO

ORIG­I­NALLY FROM ADE­LAIDE AND NOW BASED IN TOKYO, THE CO-EDI­TOR OF BILIN­GUAL CUL­TURAL JOUR­NAL CHAMP MAG­A­ZINE SHARES HER FAVOURITE DIS­COV­ER­IES.

VOGUE Living Australia - - News - Pho­tographed by PAUL BARBERA

The co-edi­tor of bilin­gual cul­tural jour­nal Champ Mag­a­zine takes you on an in­sider’s tour

WHAT CON­TIN­UES TO CAP­TI­VATE me about Tokyo is its on­go­ing con­nec­tion of tra­di­tional and con­tem­po­rary el­e­ments, with lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional in­flu­ences cre­at­ing a one-of-a-kind cul­tural and cre­ative land­scape. Tokyo is a con­tem­po­rary re­flec­tion of com­merce and Ja­pan’s val­ues as a whole. The Ja­panese have an acute sense of at­ten­tion to de­tail, re­spect for oth­ers and sin­cere appreciation for crafts­man­ship and good de­sign. There is also a deep his­tor­i­cal as­pect to the cul­ture, which is rich in phi­los­o­phy heav­ily in­flu­enced by both Chi­nese and In­dian schools of thought such as Zen, and re­li­gions such as Shinto, Bud­dhism and Con­fu­cian­ism. Most in­trigu­ing is the unique vo­cab­u­lary used for de­scrib­ing deep Ja­panese aes­thet­ics or emo­tions, which has no English equiv­a­lent. Some ex­am­ples of this are wabi sabi (beauty in im­per­fec­tion), yu­gen (deep aware­ness of the uni­verse), mono no aware (noth­ing lasts for­ever) and hon­mono a real ob­ject, or to be whole­heart­edly true). Tokyo is one of the world’s big­gest de­sign cap­i­tals due to an in­her­ent el­e­ment of hu­man­ity, which is ap­plied to each dis­ci­pline, de­sign process and de­vel­op­ment of prod­ucts or ideas. It’s a city abun­dant with in­flu­en­tial thinkers and de­sign­ers who unite for the pro­gres­sion of a greater so­ci­ety and an in­formed cul­ture. There’s Kenya Hara of Muji, who set up the Nip­pon De­sign Cen­tre. It’s an in­de­pen­dent of­fice and base for the House Vi­sion ini­tia­tive, which ex­plores the op­por­tu­ni­ties for bet­ter work­ing prac­tices be­tween dis­con­nected and of­ten re­gret­fully waste­ful Ja­panese house­hold in­dus­tries. Then there’s Issey Miyake, Taku Sa­toh, Naoto Fuka­sawa and Noriko Kawakami, who joined forces to run 21_21 De­sign Sight [de­tail, op­po­site page, top right], a pro­gres­sive gallery space that cham­pi­ons ed­u­ca­tion in cre­ativ­ity and de­sign. The build­ing it­self is de­signed by Tadao Ando, who also en­gages in and sets up so­cial projects such as the Se­touchi Olive Foun­da­tion. Where else in the world can you find this? Only in Tokyo.

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