The Obayashi Collection, A Tour of Takeo Obayashi’s Yu-un Guesthouse


We’ve been extremely spoilt here on the site with different documentaries and short films, today I’m taking the time to showcase another one thanks to Philip Dolin of Particle Productions, the man behind the Collections series for VIP Art. One that caught my attention was a piece on ‘The Obayashi Collection’, with owner Takeo Obayashi giving us a guided tour of the businessman and art collector’s Yu-un Guesthouse in Tokyo, Japan. This space also doubles as a gallery which displays Takeo Obayashi’s collection of contemporary art.

I was personally intrigued by this film because of the architect that designed the building, good friend of Takeo and self-taught architect Tadao Ando. He’s a man who’s been featured here many times as an inspiration and I felt this offered a unique insight in to the build for anyone that hasn’t been able to visit. Yu means to enjoy or wonder, and un means a retreat or hermitage, with the actual exterior of the space being clad in laminated glass to reflect light. The building has few or no windows looking out onto the street, only interior windows, letting muted light from the glass facade in to the space. This in turn creates a blockade to the outside world, making a bubble atmosphere where you can really soak yourself in the art works and quietness of the interior.

Watching the film a few things stood out to me personally, one was that this building is a collaborative space, so you get an interesting parallel between Tadao Ando’s usual functional style and the artistic nature of the setup. I also admire how Tadao didn’t just finish with the building and leave it at that, he even went as far as designing some of the tables and chairs specifically for the space. But overall one of my favourite rooms from this video is the tearoom hidden away behind a futuristic sliding door, as if modern meets traditional. The space is only small and humble but it’s a nice touch in a location that’s so contemporary. I have to take my hats off to all that worked on this and I’d urge you to check out the other creative films on the VIP Art website, you’re sure to find plenty of inspiration.