Tokyo, Japan

  • Category
    Exhibitions and Installations
  • Client
    Gallery MoMo
  • Exhibition Design
    Adjaye Associates
  • Institution/Venue
    Gallery MOMO

Technical Info +

One thing that I had not anticipated about Japan was that it would reawaken my memories of Africa and the light there. Africa has an exceptional luminosity and this has an all-pervasive effect on its architecture and the experience of space. - David Adjaye

Creating an architecture that had an explicit relationship with the experience of being in the city was very important to me. The idea of the city, and the richness of city experience, always give the most important clue in terms of how I establish the spatial construction of a project. This is nothing to do with the sum of the constructional possibilities, but is a kind of synthesis of the spatial narrative that informs the reality of a particular place. Whether it is a tiny project or a large one, the idea of making a microcosm of the city is a great stimulus.

In seeking to address different considerations on the outside and the inside of my buildings, light plays a very significant role. In developing the role of light in my architecture, I have been able to draw on experiences that I have had at different times in my life. After being brought up in Africa, I was very surprised by the light when my brothers and I first arrived in England. It was a new phenomenon, a completely different emotional experience: like being on another planet. The luminosity was much lower than we were used to and, because there was so much less of it, there was a requirement to open up more in order to appreciate it.

My next significant experience, in terms of light, was the time that I spent in Japan when I was a student. Whilst I was there, I made a set of drawings of a teahouse in Kyoto but what I was really studying was the light. When I measured that teahouse, it was not about materials: even though teahouses are described in terms of their material-artefact quality, the power of their architecture is in the way that light, materials and geometry come together in an indivisible whole.