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Toyo Ito

Design and architecture

I have always developed my furniture and product design using motifs from my architectural concept or images. For instance, the 'Ripples' bench was designed literally based on a motif of overlapping ripples on the surface of water, one of the most important images from which I developed my architecture. The same idea thousands of ripples spreading across water and interfering with each other came to my mind when I was planning the Sendai Médiathèque. Many tubes, randomly situated on a flat surface, are meant to be centers of energy that spread outwards, interfere with each other, and are transformed into complex, nonhomogeneus fields. I want to insert such 'fields of unevenness' into my architecture. Such an undiluited architectural concept is directly expressed in the form of a bench Ripples. Sheets of wood of different colors are laminated and then carved out to depict a pattern of ripples. The furniture is realized by combining my ideas with the highly skilled hands of the Italian manufacturers. A display shelf called 'Sendai' emerged in the same way. The image of an architectural structure developed at the very initial stages of the Sendai Médiathèque is visualized as a piece of furniture. The motif of tubes like seaweed swaying in the water becomes a shelf made of glass plates and inclined, randomly arranged wooden tubes. This shelf can be seen as a model of an abstracted architecture. Thus my furniture and product designs clearly visualize the original ideas drawn as little sketches in my notebook. Rather than the usual display of drawings or models, this exhibition will present the concept behind my architecture in a more dynamic way.