We’re excited to welcome the Barbican Shop as a new addition to our independent boutique community. As well as distinctive products inspired by art, architecture and design, the shop also showcases design linked to their exhibitions, performances and events. We were invited to experience their latest venture, The Japanese House: Architecture and Life After 1945, and to discover the beautiful range of Japanese design accompanying the exhibition.
The exhibition starts on the top floor and visitors are invited to weave their way through a series of alcoves complete with videos, models and photographs of iconic Japanese homes. This section lays the foundations of Japanese architectural principles and how architecture developed to meet the cultural and economic demands of post-war Japan.
As you enter the house that architect Ryue Nishizawa designed for reclusive Japanese collector Moriyama (considered to be one of the most important houses of the 21st century) all you’ve learnt in the first half of the exhibition is rendered in spectacular reality.
The essence of the exhibition is best distilled by Jane Alison, Barbican’s Head of Visual Arts: “We invite the visitor to not just consider Japanese architecture, but to experience it.” It’s this experiential element that makes this such a unique exhibition; visitors are encouraged to climb inside Terunobu Fujimori’s teahouse with a charred timber exterior and wander through the manicured tea garden.
Similarly, throughout your visit the space is transformed by the changing light, mimicking the ambience of dusk through to dawn, and letting the visitor experience the buildings across any one day in their short time in the exhibition.
Moriyama’s home is finished in extraordinary detail and is filled with the everyday objects (a notepad and pen, a gold fish tank, a ceramic coffee cup and saucer) that make you feel you are experiencing a home rather than a house. Many of these items are available to purchase through the Barbican Shop on Trouva.
It’s an exhibition that is clever in a myriad of ways, but ultimately the immaculate curation of the exhibition experience underlines the core principles of Japanese architecture: nothing is without purpose and place and everything is considered.
Inspiring and informative in equal measure, while away the hours getting lost in this immersive exhibition. Fortunately, a weekday entrance ticket grants you access to the gallery for the whole day (10-6pm) so set aside plenty of time for your visit. If you’re anything like us, you most definitely won’t want to leave.
The Japanese House: Architecture and Life After 1945 runs until 25th June at London’s Barbican Centre.
Images courtesy of Ben Tynegate and Miles Willis/Getty Images.