Suntory Museum by Kengo Kuma
by C.B. Liddell
Kengo Kuma strikes a chord when he talks about the inspirations for one of his most successful projects: the new Suntory Museum of Art, built in 2007 into the side of the new Tokyo Midtown development.
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"I wanted to create a different museum from the typical white cube type," Kuma says of the $17 million building with 1,000 square meters (10,800 square feet) of exhibition space, an expanded replacement for the previous Suntory Museum. "Most museums follow the white cube idea, using simple materials like white-painted plasterboard and monolithic flooring, and also have similar lighting designs."
"But the contents of the Suntory Museum are Japanese traditional arts and crafts from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries," he explains. "I tried to understand the heart of those contents and wanted to combine those contents with some natural materials like rice paper or Paulownia, a very soft wood that is not used for architecture because it is too soft and easy to split."
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