|Pao 2, Dwelling for a Tokyo Nomad Woman - Toyo Ito|
One of the major impacts of economic globalization is the decomposition of national economies into a decentralized system of world trade. Sites of production have been relocated from developed nations to the developing nations to take advantage of low cost labor. Different levels of production--for instance assembly--have emerged in separate regions from specialized manufacturing, R&D, and marketing. Much of this is fueled by efficient logistics and instantaneous networked communications. The decomposition of industries is mirrored in the division of nations into regions of production and consumption. The emergence of high-tech manufacturing and a strong service and financial sector in post-war Japan placed it in the camp of consumer nations along with the west.
The intensification of consumerism in the late 20th century led to descriptions of a society of individuals crafting their identities based on their patterns of consumption--based on the things they buy. This was a theme that Toyo Ito responded to when he designed his Pao, or Dwellings for a Tokyo Nomad Woman. Tokyo of the 1980's was one of the densest and technologically advanced cities in the world. High real estate prices and a hyperactive culture industry created a city that was itself decomposing.
|Pao 1, Dwelling for a Tokyo Nomad Woman - Toyo Ito|
Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa's approach to architecture (as SANAA) borrows some elements from Ito's, and concentrates them. Their visual language is ostensibly minimalist, abstract, and indeterminate. However, these characteristics provide a space for extension: "Blankness calls for active projection, indeterminacy asks for participation, and the absence of spatial hierarchy requires communal initiative." Matthew Allen discerns a two-part mode of curation in SANAA's work, where they curate the type of subject inhabiting their spaces while also providing a space where said subjects curate their own lifestyle. The first mode occurs in projects such as the Seijo Townhouses where facing picture windows compel the residents into a curatorial lifestyle.
|Seijo Townhouses, Tokyo - SANAA|
|Rolex Learning Center, Lausanne, Switzerland - SANAA|
1. Iñaki Abalos and Juan Herreros, "Toyo Ito: Light Time," in El Croquis: Toyo Ito, 1986-1995, no. 71, eds. Richard C. Levene and Fernando Márquez Cecilia (Madrid: El Croquis, 1995), pg. 36.
2. Matthew Allen, "Control Yourself! Lifestyle Curation in the Work of Sejima and Nishizawa," in Architecture at the Edge of Everything Else, eds. Esther Choi and Marrikka Trotter (Cambridge, Mass: Work Books, 2010), pg. 24.
3. Ibid, pg. 29.
4. Koji Taki, "Conversation with Kazuyo Sejima," in El Croquis: Kazuyo Sejima, 1988-1996, no. 77 (I), eds. Richard C. Levene and Fernando Márquez Cecilia (Madrid: El Croquis, 1996), pg. 9.
5. Zygmunt Bauman, Liquid Modernity (Malden, Mass: Blackwell, 2000)