Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Half Dose #43: Tile for Yu-un

With all the hoopla last week around Olafur Eliasson's "four man-made waterfalls, 90 to 120 feet high, [that] will punctuate New York’s waterfront for three months starting in mid-July," it seemed like an appropriate time to look at the Icelandic artists other environmental installations.

[photograph by Robert McLeod | image source]

One project -- rather far removed from both the East River in geography and scale -- that stands out is this courtyard "lining" for a house/gallery by Tadao Ando in Tokyo.

[image source]

With an obvious penchant for collecting art, client Takeo Obayashi named the place Yu-un, a combination of the Japanese characters for wonder and hermitage. It is a name that Ando says has quite a deep meaning, as can be expected.

[photograph by Robert McLeod | image source]

Ando's signature spare, concrete-and-glass spaces are punctuated in the middle of the N-shaped plan by Eliasson's 6,800+ platinum-glazed ceramic tiles, their surfaces changing in color and intensity depending upon the conditions of light.

[image source]

Where one usually finds in Ando's houses a center of calm and retreat, the courtyard here is a dynamic space activated by the reflection of natural and artificial light off the multi-faceted surfaces. Additionally, the views across the courtyard keep the ceramic tiles an almost constant presence in the multi-faceted life of the businessman-cum-art collector.

[photograph by Robert McLeod | image source]

:: Olafur Eliasson
:: Architectural Digest
:: New York City Waterfalls