From the philosophy upwards the parts are subtle, evolutionary, quiet, adhering to Japanese ideas of finding beauty in every aspect of nature or wabi-sabi. “This work is about researching time, history and tradition”, Takahashi said. The result is an evolving project, all the elements forming a house constructed from five pillars: clothing, sculpture, spatial design, graphic design and imagery.
Clothing our bodies has long been an exercise in capturing the zeitgeist. Designers mine the past, altering it, pinning and tucking it, to fit the here and now. Taiga Takahashi’s work counters this; he repurposes the past, revitalising it.
“What I do is much closer to what archaeologists do”, Taiga Takahashi explains. “A designer looks to solve issues and create something new. Instead, I look to the past to find something that has been lost or forgotten. I give these things a second life.”
Working alongside OK-RM (Oliver Knight and Rory McGrath), the clothing is not the crux; it is one part of the whole. Together, they believe it is necessary to review the past for meaningful progression to occur within the contemporary. A synergy between history and the present, they argue, is what creates the future.
In the specially drawn custom typeface, subtle and exact variations occur. “My aesthetic is always looking at the negative space; the act of leaving blank space is very important”, Takahashi said.
Knight explained, “we developed typographic research into extinct typesetting tools with our collaborator Wei Huang (for example, the typewriter, Metafont) and fused this with variable font technology allowing a family of variations within a fixed central characteristic. Enabling an understated expression with a coherency across all uses.”
In addition to the 2D design, OK-RM designed the 3D elements that make up the comprehensive art space in the historic Gion of Kyoto. “We had a passion for Japanese culture, we wanted to learn more about it, and Taiga took us on that journey”, said McGrath. Following the Japanese business philosophy of Kaizen, meaning “change for the better” or “continuous improvement.”
Read more at https://taigatakahashi.com/journal/the-eternal-past.
T.T space (now open)
570–120 Gionmachi, Minamigawa, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 6050074 Japan.