Tadao Ando Photographed by Donata Wenders

I’ve not talked about a highly acclaimed designer in a while so I thought I’d buck the trend today and bring you something slightly different. As you can imagine I regularly go through phases of inspiration, just like everyone else, so when I came across this brilliant photography matched with a superb architect I had to bring it across to showcase to you all.

Although I’ve singled out one specific set by Donata Wenders, the photographer of this series, I’d urge you to click over to her website where you can see a much more rounded selection. I have to say she’s snapped some very inspiring individuals from a variety of backgrounds and professions, a few that stand out are Yohji Yamamoto, Peter Lindbergh, even a cheese maker, which is right up our alley in terms of making by hand. Donata says in her bio that she’s strictly an observer and doesn’t “direct” anyone, she looks to showcase genuine expressions, body language, posture and appearance. She’s definitely achieved this in her set featuring Tadao Ando.

It’s not the first time I’ve expressed my like for the Japanese architect, as you can probably see from the archive, we even stock one of his books in the shop. I’m not 100% sure of the reason why I’m drawn to his body of work but I like his style and taste, the way he mixes different textures together, also materials play quite a big part, mainly a play between wood and concrete, natural and manmade. Light is another major attribution, when I posted this article back in March of this year you really started to see the amazing amount of shadows created from the maze of walls, something the Japanese are extremely good at working with.

In fact a book I’ve been reading titled ‘in praise of shadows’ by Junichiro Tanizaki talks on this exact subject, the fact that us Westerners are afraid of shadows and like to light everything until no shadows exist any more. I have to agree. I’m personally someone who’s been brought up with this Western mentality, that making things shadowless is the way to go, it helps for clarity and function. The problem is that within architecture you need this play on light to create tensions and different dimensions to a room and a building. Tadao has truly mastered this in my opinion, and teamed up with Donata they’ve created quite a special little series all taken in black and white. Just remember, there’s ‘beauty in the shadows’.



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