Art / Design, England

Haroshi 心月輪

With precision and crazy skill, Haroshi selects, stacks and bonds old broken skateboards to create timber layers that he uses to unbelievable effects. The variety of colour found naturally in the laminated construction of discarded skateboard decks overlap to make beautiful and very unique ply art-works once carved.

Perhaps the most interesting of Haroshi’s techniques is the detailed mosaic of skateboard ply block-work. Coincidentally, this method has been used throughout Japanese history to create most of Japan’s wooden Great Buddha statues (of course not using skateboards). One particular Buddhist craftsman from the 12th century, Unkei (運慶) would place a crystal ball, called shin gachi rin (心月輪), at the heart of each of his carved buddha forms to give his sculptures their ‘soul’. Haroshi uses a metallic object from one of the broken skateboards; buried deep in the centre of each of his art-works, again giving the objects a heart, and a ‘soul’.

A friend of ours, Brandon Shigeta, a photographer based in LA was lucky enough to shoot Haroshi’s Tokyo studio for Hypebeast in 2010 and I have been waiting since then to see his works in London. Check out PAIN, at StolenSpace Gallery, on Brick Lane, until 3rd November.

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Japan, Travel

Zuihō-in, Kyoto

After leaving Ryoanji, we headed by bus to Daitokuji, an ancient Buddhist temple founded in 1315 as a Zen monastery. We only went into one of the sub-temples in a compound containing more than 20 buildings, but we spent a long time there because although it was cold, the sunshine was warm. And we were the only 2 people there.

Just like Ryoanji, Zuihō-in has a karesansui (枯山水) ‘dry garden’, but the contrast between the two was incredibly surprising. The gravel in this garden had been raked into perfect dynamic wave forms, circling the tall pointed rocks within. The energy contained within this garden created a feeling so different to that of Ryoanji, and the power from this frozen scene completely enveloped us.

The final images show a traditional Japanese signage marker. This stone bound in rope is known as sekimori ishi (関守石) ‘boundary guard stone’ meaning that you cannot enter. It is one of those beautifully minimal and delicate Japanese customs that originates from tea-houses.

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Art / Design, England

Dead Angle

The beautiful thing about the ICN Gallery is that it has developed a real sense of community; it just seems to attract interesting, creative and friendly people. Through the gallery, we’ve been lucky to have met with some amazing artists and have had the chance to photograph work that inspires and motivates us to do better and think differently.

This time around, the gallery is presenting the work of Miyake Mai-san, an extremely talented and highly regarded artist and art director. I found her work visually interesting immediately. The layered ‘two-and-a-half-dimension‘ cut paper works are delicate and, because they are placed behind aluminium honeycomb screens, you can only see part of the artwork at one time. It was interesting to watch as people ducked and moved around to view the imagery in full.

Talking with Miyake-san was equally fascinating. She eloquently described multi-layered stories and reasoning behind each icon displayed in her work, and the depth under the surface was really rather poetic. She is in London now for a few weeks and we spent the afternoon with her today, just hanging-out at the ICN, and will no doubt spend a little more time together before she returns home.

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Art / Design, England

Akihisa Hirata Tangling

“Technology is not something that concurs with nature, but that tangles with nature… Even if we cannot control nature, I think understanding it can enable better intuition, and the potential for collaboration between architects and engineers to become more radical in response. It will be very exciting if we can create a new type of coexistence between nature, technology, and society, by means of architecture.” AH

As part of London Design Week, The Architecture Foundation presents beautiful rough-models and sketches of the Japanese architect, Akihisa Hirata. It is incredibly inspiring to be reminded of the intense processes that architectural projects go through on route to find the best solutions to project problems. Only after multiple trial and error efforts, does a final design start to take shape and this exhibition is a really nice presentation of the processes rather than the finished buildings.

On arrival, I felt that the massive organic curve filled the space to the point of actually overwhelming the work itself. But actually the layout really worked nicely, allowing you to focus on only the work in front of you and we happily spent an hour exploring the small space and its detailed works.

(Exhibition open until Nov 17 and is well worth a visit.)

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Art / Design, Travel

Bread Butter Berlin

The rest of the show was incredible. Checkland Kindleysides had designed 4 stands this year so we were extremely busy, especially as the furthest 2 stands were about 1.5km apart! Walking the show was exhausting and since we have been many times before, not as inspiring as it used to be. Having said that we did see some unbelievable things, the floating shoes in Puma were easily the most exciting but sadly the video I took of those is pretty poor quality.

We caught a number of other nice stands though and met many interesting people. The 45rpm stand was predictably beautiful and simple. The 3×1 stand showed craft but in a really premium gallery-like way, which was cool. The fashion show was a little weird but behind the strangeness, there were some lovely pieces, I think all my favourites were from Denham.

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Art / Design, Travel, Work

Pro Berlin Converse

We don’t usually show much of our ‘real’ work here but this week I was in Berlin overseeing (actually, more ‘actively participating in’) the construction of the Converse stand at Bread & Butter, a massive fashion trade-show. The setting is pretty dramatic, in Tempelhof Airport, a beautifully brutalist structure re-designed and occupied by the Nazi government during the 1930s; I thought you might like to see a few pictures.

Our Converse stand was a simple scaffold structure designed to present two new footwear collections alongside a bar and meeting areas. Check out Checkland Kindleysides’ website for more detail about my day-job. My favourite part of this stand was the chain-link fence with woven canvas and padlocks clipped in the shape of a Pro Leather brand logo. These personalised locks can be found all across the world (often on bridges) as a display of commitment or devotion. I photographed some in Mexico Cathedral in 2010 and thought it would be cool to integrate that idea into this project.

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Art / Design, England

Heatherwick Cones

There’s a small but interesting exhibition of Thomas Heatherwick’s works on at the V&A currently, and a new installation of his welcomes you on arrival. Its a simple but rather effective web of 208 hanging traffic cones curving towards the entrance doors of the museum. (I wanted to do the same exact thing with umbrellas at the school in Tokyo but sadly we couldn’t engineer the tension required.)

This looked great in the sunshine yesterday although I’m also quite curious to see the cones turn to funnels in the rain..! : )

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