The ultimate goal is the expression of space that best brings out the beauty of art objects.
Architecture [Spatial design concept] Supreme light, supreme setting
I wanted to see the numerous treasures of Japanese culture housed in the MOA Museum of Art in the best lighting and setting possible. I thought of the light that Ashikaga Yoshimasa saw at Togudo (Buddha hall) of Jisho-ji Temple, and the light Sen no Rikyu saw in the Taian tea house. It was precisely this kind of premodern lighting that I wanted to create inside the museum, and that was why I was very particular about working with materials that were used in premodern times, such as gyoja cedar, black plaster, and tatami. I tasked myself with the mission of giving a premodern look and atmosphere to a museum, a modern installation. Through trial and error in my efforts to solve this difficult problem, I succeeded in hiding a cutting edge lighting technology behind the scenes. Inside myself, the oldest things turn into the newest things.
About MOA Museum of Art Renovation
The MOA Museum of Art is just renovated its lobby area, exhibition galleries, museum shop, and café station, designs for which are being provided by New Material Research Laboratory (NMRL), led by world-renowned contemporary artist Hiroshi Sugimoto and architect Tomoyuki Sakakida. Contrary to its name, NMRL is focused on researching materials and techniques used in ancient, medieval, and early modern times, and finding ways to incorporate them in contemporary architecture to pass down to the future. They are exploring a myriad of possibilities to design incredible spaces for the MOA Museum of Art.
Opening anew is a gallery for exhibiting the “Tea-leaf jar with a design of wisteria,” designated a National Treasure. The gallery will have walls coated with a glossy dark black plaster known as Edoguro, finished to perfection by the finest artisans, further enhancing the beauty of Nonomura Ninsei’s Jar. Innovative ideas and devices will be incorporated in other galleries as well to exhibit art objects in the most attractive way possible. One has a display alcove with several hundred year-old gyoja cedar decorating the front of the raised floor. The design of spaces aimed at highlighting the beauty of art objects and the use of materials employing traditional techniques give the galleries a surprising look of newness that will never grow old.
However it is not only visual beauty that NMRL is endeavoring to achieve, but also a high-level unity of function and beauty, and their ideas and solutions are evident everywhere, from lighting, which was optically designed to create a soft natural-like light, to seismic base-isolation, equipped on all the raised display platforms decorated with gyoja cedar and tatami. Contemporary spaces created with traditional Japanese materials will transform the Museum into a new MOA Museum of Art.
The museum shop plans to introduce new merchandise from time to time and offer a wide selection of goods including products specially created for the museum and limited items of value crafted by professional artists.
Restaurant and Café
Opening anew in the museum is a café restaurant serves delightful food prepared with a fusion of traditional French and Japanese culinary techniques. Each dish, a delicate collaboration of fresh ingredients grown in nature and the superb skills of the chefs, is sure to add to the pleasure of visitors still tingling with the joy and excitement of browsing through the exhibits.
Also, an organic café station designed by NMRL opens in the lobby on the first floor overlooking the Sea of Sagami.
In the tea garden, a casual restaurant “Hana-no-Chaya”, serving Japanese foods and sweets, opens. Visitors can enjoy Japanese cuisine prepared with organic ingredients that are locally produced for local consumption, and sweets including anmitsu.
There is also the soba restaurant “Soba no Bou”, which offers Kirishita-soba produced in Shinshu, Togakushi, Kurohime, and Yatsugatake.
all images ©NMRL/Hiroshi Sugimoto+Tomoyuki Sakakida