Japanese designer linking tradition to the future

काठमाण्डु टुडे २०७० असोज २० गते १४:२९ मा प्रकाशित

BEIJING, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) — In his black coat and haloed by white hair Kenya Hara studied his latest renovation project Dashilar, one of the oldest hutong areas in Beijing, through hexagonal glasses.

Under the auspices of Beijing Design Week, the Japanese graphic designer has created a mobile navigation system with 3D versions of all streets and buildings in the area, to inject creativity into this centuries old district.
South of the Tian’anmen square, Dashilar was mostly built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and its traditional courtyards were the most prosperous and civilized corner of the city.

But like many Hutong areas, Dashilar is part of the debate between the old and the new, development and preservation, amid the current urbanization trend.
In Kenya Hara’s eyes, the project, covering 1.5 sq km, will craft a distinct identity for the area. The main color in the software is red, a color Hara considers crucial element in ordinary Chinese lives.

“Wandering in a Hutong, I noticed that the paper used for learning calligraphy is divided by red lines, that I realized that red is everywhere,” he said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua on Sunday.To salute tradition is not to impose traditional elements on to modern design but to seek culture from the inner heart, he says.

Every facet of the old area will be preserved with the assistance of technology. If change happens, people will have a tool to recall and rebuild the past. “Skyscrapers go up from time to time, from here to there, worldwide, but tradition is not easily rebuilt,” said Hara.In China, traces of ancient imperial capital and modernized designs like the building of the China Central Television (CCTV) headquarters have turned the nation into a “hot pot”, according to Hara, where all varieties of beauty boil lively and vividly.

“There are delicate balances between the courtyards in Dashilar and the CCTV building, but also that of between international shops and Chinese time-honored brands in traditional places,” said Hara.Since 2001, Hara has been art director of Muji, the Japanese retailers who sell household items distinguished by minimalism and simplicity.

“Muji products bring a quiet sense of calm into strenuous everyday live,” said Hara. “They are necessities, and not as expensive as luxury goods, the product of rationalism and restriction from the root of culture, which promotes the human being to go further.” In his publication “Designing Design”, he elaborates on the importance of “emptiness” in both the visual and philosophical traditions of Japan, and its application to design.

In Japan’s case, Hara claims, huge metropolitan areas with a high-stress tempo will in the future allow citizens to “walk in the old scenes” through unseen technology.  Japan became a world factory following defeat in World War II throwing up metropolitan things like high-rise buildings and industrial facilities, to buffer the bleak economy.

“Designs lead to the future” is the subject of this year’s Muji Awards  to be held in Beijing at the end of October “The theme is not to create something out of nothing, but to design things that can connect tradition and future and lead along the future path,” said Hara, adding that award winners may see their designs go on the market. Differing from Japanese youngsters, young Chinese designers are more energetic, showing renewed spirit, said Hara. “I expect to receive works which are eye-opening and breath-taking.”

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