Tanizaki discovers us Japanese architecture
For some time now, a book that is a real relic runs through our studio. Not only for the care and aesthetics of its edition, but also for the transversality of its content, applicable to many everyday areas. As far as we are concerned, it also implies an approach to Japanese architecture.
If there is a book that discovers and explores the historical comparison between the eastern and western world, it is the In Praise of shadows, by Junichiro Tanizaki.
The Japanese author reflects on the conception of the shadow, its beauty and subtlety. But also of the use that traditionally in the East has been made of it.
Although in the western world historically the shadow is perceived as a negative concept, a place from which to escape, in the east we find an opposite concept. The shadow is something beautiful, the preamble of something or simply a place of calm and beauty for the senses.
It is no coincidence that in ancient times, in palaces and best houses in Europe, dishes, decorations and bright finishes were used. Perhaps because of that obsession and persecution of gold.
However, in Eastern homonyms, the use of wood, matte finishes and black are the protagonists of homes.
Moreover, there is an abysmal difference in the way of decorating and naming what is beautiful or not, sometimes creating a certain rejection of shadow and light, respectively. Reason why surely we are so surprised to discover each other.
At certain times, Tanizaki clearly flees from Western culture, surely the result of his experience and maturity acquired in the Eastern world, and as a result of his love for the most characteristic elements of his land.
Tanizaki will have detractors and followers, but one of the most universal reflections that is drawn after this reading is the need of both worlds for the existence of the other. Two forces that are opposite but at the same time complementary.
The close relationship with Japanese architecture
As is well intuited, the world of tanizaki is easy to apply if we move to interior design and architecture.
If we think of Japanese architecture, materials such as wood, copper elements, rather than gold, come to mind. But, above all, raw textures and hues, nothing strident.
Today we can ensure that Japanese architecture is the evolution of the Chinese style, which historically have worked wood.
Among his most emblematic works are the Buddhist temples, the torii, which are arc-shaped monuments and very characteristic of traditional Japanese architecture.
As for Japanese interior design, there are certain elements that appear in Junichiro’s descriptions of Japanese homes. We talked about the classic screens and mats that surely we all remember from his illustrations.
And finishing the house, by the roof, these are perhaps one of the most important aesthetic elements that define Japanese architecture. Being very varied in its design, although following almost every occasion triangular shapes. •