The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art brings a bit of futuristic charm to Kanazawa with its awe-inspiring, Zen-like space. The large, circular building located between Kenrokuen Garden and the Katamachi shopping district in Kanazawa, Japan seems like an anomaly. It’s designed without a designated front or back, to allow visitors the ability to explore it from all directions. Many are shocked to discover the metal coliseum is a museum.
In marking its fifth anniversary, the museum will hold a set of solo exhibitions structured around new works by the Danish/ Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson titled, “Your chance encounter.” Last month, the museum enlisted the help of Japanese design company Nendo to build an exhibition space for 62 craft objects and 50 artists for the Kanazawa World Craft Triennial 2010 pre-event.
To accommodate the variety of pieces, Nendo created a series of small greenhouses, each with its own lighting to create a sense of austere order to the pallid space. Reconstituting the everyday by collecting and reshaping the objects into something that’s easy to understand is a staple of Nendo’s minimalistic design ethic. The displays are devoid of colour and clutter to better display and accentuate the rich colours of the artists’ works.
By installing the greenhouses within the museum’s space, Nendo sees this as a sign of the museum’s hope that crafts will continue to grow and flourish like plants. The glass boxes are easily broken down and stored for future use.
Toronto-born designer Oki Sato started the company in 2002 after pursuring an M.A. in architecture at Waseda University in Tokyo. The company has won prizes and exhibited all over the world, including in Milan, Madrid and Stockholm. Newsweek also listed the company as part of its “Top 100 Small Japanese Companies.” Pretty impressive for a company that lists only seven staff on its website.
Admission: ¥350 ($2.90/£1.45) adults, ¥280 ($2.35/£1.15) university students, under 18 free; more for special exhibitions.