Architecture by Kunio Mayekawa

Front of Tokyo Bunka Kaikan: notice the blue and red doors similar to Le Corbusier's Unité d'Habitation in Marseille image credit

Tokyo Bunka Kaikan building by Kunio Mayekawa 1961 image credit

Detail of concrete panels on the right of front entrance image credit

Tokyo Bunka Kaikan celebrates it is 50th anniversary without much attention (without the small sign, nobody would know) image credit

Stunning architectural detailed walls both inside and outside.

Decorative rocks were placed one by one, beautiful composition.

Beautiful modernist waterway and sculpture image credit

Closer detail of sculpture image credit
Closer detail of sculpture (front view) image credit fotopedia.

Main entrance hall (notice wall and floor design + Sarfatti chandeliers in the back) image credit

Detail of the modern floor tile pattern (runs throughout the building).

Lights seem to have been placed at random to give the impression of a star-filled night's sky image credit

Ground floor at rear of building image credit

People give a sense of the massive scale and space of this building image credit

Architecture by Kunio Mayekawa
Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, Tokyo Japan
This article is about Kunio Mayekawa (1905-86) and his spectacular but rather unknown modernist landmark, the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan (translates to Tokyo Cultural Center) building which currently houses the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra). Constructed in 1961, this year marks the 50th anniversary.  We had a unique chance to tour this architecturally significant masterpiece which is located in Ueno Park, smack right in the center of Tokyo Japan.  We were blown away with the sense of detail and balance. This building is truly spectacular and a delight for fans of modern architecture. What makes it extra special is that it has survived the last 50 years reasonable unscratched and most of the original features have remained unchanged.  Right across from Tokyo Bunka Kaikan is another master piece: Le Corbusier's National Museum of Western Art Tokyo (1959). Japan has been trying to get Le Corbusier museum listed on UNESCO's World Heritage listing, so far unsuccessfully. That is an obvious mistake since the lesser known Tokyo Bunka Kaikan by Kunio Mayekawa is in fact the great undiscovered masterpiece they have been sitting on without realizing it.  Tokyo Bunka Kaikan has a much greater chance to receive UNESCO's World Heritage distinction.

Kunio Mayekawa is the often forgotten but pivotal master of modern architecture in Japan. Arguably the greatest modernist architect in Japan since he was the one who tutored Kenzo Tange. Kunio Mayekawa AKA Kunio Maekawa (前川 國男) was one of the leading founders of the Japanese modern architecture movement during the middle of the 20th century. Kunio Mayekawa worked and studied under Le Corbusier in Paris between 1928 and 1930 and the influence from Le Corbusier would be clearly visible in many of Kunio Mayekawa's works in Japan. Note the blue and red door on the front of the building, a nice little touch which reminds us of the work of Le Corbusier.

Tokyo Bunka Kankan symphony hall.

Kunio Mayekawa was one of the first in Japan to adopt rational architecture. During the 1950's and 1960's Kunio Mayekawa designed sculpturally expressive modern architectural structures by combining national traditions with the structural and aesthetic possibilities of reinforced concrete. Kunio Mayekawa designed many public buildings, including municipal buildings in Fukushima (1958) and Hirosaki (1964); cultural centers in Tokyo (1959), Kyoto (1960), Okayama (1962), and Urawa (1966); and the Gakushuin University in Tokyo (1960). He also created prefabricated structures and high-rise apartment buildings in Japan.

Prominent among modern Japanese architects, Kunio Mayekawa is one of the most notable architects of Japanese Mid Century Modern Architecture together with Kenzo Tange and Sakakura Junzo.

Tokyo Bunka Kaikan
110-0007, Japan



前川 國男(まえかわ くにお、1905年5月14日 - 1986年6月26日)は日本の建築家である.





1960年代半ば以降、前川は産業社会とそれを支える合理主義のいくつかの側面にきわめて批判的になったが、近代運動の理想の最良の部分を最後まで放棄しなかった. なによりも強調するべきことは、前川はその生涯を通し建築家の職能と職業倫理の確立のために尽力したと言い得る.

Addicted to Love

This classic cool 1980s styled add from the Italian shoe maker Sergio Rossi reminded me of the Robert Palmer classic, Addicted to Love.

Thank you for the memories Robert!

Ultimate Space Age Office Desk

Ben Swildens Desk for Peugeot Paris 1966.

Peugeot showroom in Paris circa 1966.

Peugeot showroom in Paris circa 1966.

Peugeot showroom in Paris circa 1966.

Peugeot showroom in Paris circa 1966.

Here is another reason I wish I had a time machine. This ultra modern futuristic office desk was designed by French designer Ben Swildens for the showroom of the French car maker Peugeot Paris in 1966. The main free-flowing structure of this desk is made from a single piece of mirror polished stainless steel, this must be the most beautiful desk ever created.  

Most Expensive Fruit

Worlds Most Expensive Fruit at Sun Fruits in Tokyo Japan.

Sun Fruits Cherries priced at $155.

Sun Fruit displays their fruit selections like Jewelry.  No touching allowed.

Japan is world famous for their exquisite but super expensive fruit. We set out to find the most expensive fruit in Japan and discovered Sun Fruits in the upscale Roppongi Hills area of Tokyo. Sun Fruits is a boutique fruit store offering perhaps worlds most expensive choices of carefully selected fruits. The fruit is presented like jewelry and it is handled with a white-glove treatment. The Pièce de résistance is a heart-shaped water melon which sells for 31,500 YEN which is about $388. Cherries are more affordable but will still set you back a whopping 12,600 YEN which is about $155.  Most of us may find these prices excessive, yet Sun Fruits made several sales in the short time it took for us to take our pictures.

Sun Fruits display at Roppongi Hills in Tokyo Japan.

This Heart Shaped Water Mellon costs $388.

Sun Fruits is located in the Roppongi Hills shopping center just below the Ritz Carlton. When visiting the Roppongi Hills shopping center, go to the downstairs plaza where a beautiful sculpture of Isamu Noguchi is located (it takes some time to find it but it is well worth the search).

Isamu Noguchi Heaven Art Installation at Sogetsu

Entrance and reception desk designed by Isamu Noguchi.

Overlooking the entrance lobby from the 2nd floor (image copyright

Sogetsu Foundation with architecture by Kenzo Tange and Art Installation by Isamu Noguchi (image copyright

Main entrance of the Sogetsu Foundation (image copyright

There is an entrance to heaven after all. One of the lesser known but most impressive complete interior installations by Isamu Noguchi is located at the lower level of the Segetsu Foundation skyscraper in Tokyo.  The dark smokey mirror glass building was designed by the Japanese architect Kenzo Tange.  The Isamu Noguchi installation takes up some serious prime space (it takes up the entire open space of both ground- and first floor).  We had a unique chance to visit this foundation which usually only allows members and does not allow photography.  Due to the energy crisis the water feature was not working at the time we visited (all fountains in Tokyo have been turned off ever since the events of March 2011).

Isamu Noguchi "Heaven" installation at the Sogetsu Foundation (image copyright

Isamu Noguchi "Heaven" installation at the Sogetsu Foundation (image copyright

Isamu Noguchi "Heaven" installation at the Sogetsu Foundation (image copyright

Isamu Noguchi "Heaven" installation at the Sogetsu Foundation (image copyright

Isamu Noguchi "Heaven" installation at the Sogetsu Foundation (image copyright

Isamu Noguchi "Heaven" installation at the Sogetsu Foundation (image copyright

Signed Isamu Noguchi 1977 (image copyright

How the Sogetsu Foundation amassed its massive fortune to build their mirror glass skyscraper in the middle of Tokyo + hire both Kenzo Tange as the architect + Isamu Noguchi for the final creative touch is not exactly clear to us.  The foundation website states they promote the art of Ikebana (flower arrangements).  This building was constructed in 1977-1978, the years leading up to the boom years of Japan.  Both the installation by Isamu Noguchi and the architecuture of Kenzo Tange already display subtle hints of the 1980s. Kenzo Tange created a meeting place / overlook over the Isamu Noguchi installation on the 3rd floor.  Members of the Sogetsu Foundation can order drinks from the restaurant located just below.  The overlook level is outfitted with Eero Saarinen Tulip chairs and tables (all show signs of wear but luckily the foundation has not removed them).

Eero Saarinen Tulip Chairs and Tables at the Sogetsu Foundation (image copyright

Eero Saarinen Tulip Chairs and Tables at the Sogetsu Foundation (image copyright

Note the mirror glass ceiling which reflects the traffic of three stories below (image copyright

Watching time go by at the Kenzo Tange designed Sogetsu Foundation.

Interior with Dogs

Modern Interior with Dogs and...Eero Aarnio Ball Chair (image credit Stacy Zarin Photography)

Love at first sight: man's best friend times 3 plus a beautiful Eero Aarnio Ball Chair.  These dogs are having the time of their life in this beautiful modern house.

Available from nova68

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Wine Grower Italy Early 1950s

Italian Wine: Wine Grower circa 1950s

Italian wine grower early 1950s.  There is something about this photograph...  Just love this vintage image...had to list it for everyone to enjoy.  Makes me dream about planning a vacation to Italy this summer.

Graffiti Spray Paint Fashion

When someone or something is described as an addict it’s not usually within a positive context, thankfully, this instance is an exception to the rule. Fresh from the UK, the Addict brand brings us some really sweet tees. Unfortunately they are only available in the UK for the moment.

The only addiction associated with Addict the brand is a positive one, referring to an individuals truest passions, those activities you do repeatedly, listening to your favourite album, riding your board or bike, painting or (as is the case with one of its founder members) collecting vintage arcade games. It’s about your devotion and dedication to something, much the way the founder members of Addict and its followers feel about the label.

Starting life as a menswear label in 1996, Addict has developed a signature style of streetwear that blends classic casual wear with the performance, quality and functionality of high spec outerwear. The brand has over a decade’s worth of heritage in the streetwear genre, its roots run deep in the design, music and board sports communities crossing over both to the underground and mainstream alike since birth.

Long a favourite of the freesports fraternity, Addict is much more than your common or garden clothing range. Despite the rapid growth in popularity and distribution over the years, Addict has a tight, focused team of individuals who are intensely passionate about the brand and keep a tight reign over its development, producing all clothing, graphics and media for the mainline in-house, focusing on product development, letting the brand evolve naturally rather than bending to fit in with fashion.

Addict regularly work with and support a collection of independent highly sought after artists and illustrators on the more limited edition ‘artist series’ ranges. A reflection of their general company ethos, the artists and designers Addict work with are sourced mainly on a social basis. The limited edition artist series tees and related products have seen Addict working with a plethora of contemporary talent including long time collaborators She One, C-Law, Mitch and Swifty, Mode 2, Jimi Crayon, Ben Swift, Guy Featherstone, Shogun™, Will Barras, Mr Jago, and Steff Pleatz to name a few are all regularly on the roster and have become part of the unofficial extended Addict family.

Collaborative projects have seen co-branded products with the likes of Vans, G-Shock, Microsoft Zune, Activision, Lucasfilm (Star Wars), Disney (Bloc28 and Tron), Endeavor snowboards (Vancouver Canada), and Spy Optic(California, USA) to name a few as well as special projects with famous artists Syd Mead (Visual fururist responsible for the concept art in Blade Runner and Tron 1982) and Milo Manara, one of the worlds greatest comic book artists.

Music is a strong influence within the brand and ‘ABC’ or The Addict Beats Collective arm of the company embraces a cross section of musical genres with high level support from the likes of The Nextmen, Rodney P and Skitz, London Electricity/Hospital records, Stanton warriors, LSK, Big Bud, Genna G, Maxi Jazz/Faithless and Part-Time Heroes as well as sponsoring nights at Rukus in Bristol, New Bohemia in Leeds, Hospitality at Herbal and Spectrum in Nottingham.

Rain Down Spout with Rain Chain

Modern Rain Chain with Round Water Catch Basin
We like this modern rain spout with rain chain.  The rain falls into a pebble-filled round catch basin with concealed underground pipes which carry away the water.  This rain spout concept was designed by David Baker + Partners Architects. Very mid century modern, a perfectly balanced composition.