Why Kengo Kuma keeps sustainability and tradition at the forefront
For the better part of three decades, Kengo Kuma has been reinventing the ordinary through endless creative energy, creating extraordinary concepts with craftsmanship at the core.
A leading talented in the contemporary architecture scene, his work focuses on reinterpreting emblematic elements of traditional Japanese architecture through a modern lens, with an emphasize on highlighting the capabilities of natural materials.
In Kuma's perspective, the future of modern architecture will take a significant focus on the beauty and versatility of nature's resources. “I believe that the 21st century will be an era of the material,” he says. “Because concrete and steel dominated the 20th century, human beings were deprived of opportunities to communicate with materials.”
A great example of how a material can be the main source of communication is the emblematic Eames chair. In this design, leather hugs the chair's organic shape for a timelessly modern mood in every space.
This mindset has earned Kuma well-earned notoriety in the industry, leading him to be awarded with a Global Award of Sustainable Architecture in 2016 and granting him the irreplaceable opportunity of designing the stadium for Tokyo's 2020 Olympic Games — which will still house the event even tho it's postponed.
His focus on sustainability and natural resources shine thru the pieces that furnish the interiors of his buildings in addition to the architecture itself — as to be expected from a designer who asserts that "Furniture is often more important in our lives than architecture." Curated pieces that bring the space to life often feature durable premium leather, accentuating the organic aesthetic of the surrounding constructed exterior. Using the most natural and durable materials as possible, he furthers his creative efforts to “escape from the massiveness of a concrete box,” as he calls much of 20th-century architecture.
The organic aesthetic can even be found on this Camper store taking the leather drips to the forefront, making it all look like a big art show as the material itself gets all the attention from natural lighting and human touch.
The future of design is now here. 👽