Taka Ishii Gallery KyotoGardens created

Located in front of the Sugimoto Residence, one of Japan’s Important Cultural Properties, Taka Ishii Gallery Kyoto is an art gallery that makes maximum use of the allure of a “Kyo-machiya” house (traditional Kyoto townhouses known as “eel beds” for their narrow but profoundly extensive depth) built approximately 150 years ago. Based in Tokyo, Taka Ishii Gallery introduces a broad range of trends in contemporary art and organizes numerous exhibitions that include the work of both internationally acclaimed artists and young artists with promising future careers.

The gallery entrance features a counter table assembled from aged Kurama stones. Based on a design by architect Takeuchi Seichirō, Ueyakato Landscape proposed materials, inspected a test construction, and then constructed the design onsite. By combining traditional stone arrangement techniques and know-how with 3D technology, we assembled three gigantic stones weighing 0.8-1.0t inside an 3.0m2 (ceiling height approx. 2.6m) interior workspace.These furnishings add to this Kyo-machiya house the depth and regal volume that only aged materials have, making them an iconic presence for this facility.

At the end of the house’s passage garden is a courtyard (a small garden fitted between rooms) which we renovated using existing stone materials that were in good condition. Based on the tea garden ideal of a “mountain abode amid the city,” we reconstructed the stone basin arrangement to suit the space’s new function as an art gallery and supplemented plants such as Japanese maples and camellias, thus adding color to the four seasons. Through the sight of trees gently swaying in the breeze and water dripping onto a water basin, we turned the gallery into a device that puts visitors at ease while also inviting them into the worldview that the gallery’s exhibited works unfold.

Project commissioner: Taka Ishii Gallery
Architectural design: Seiichiro Takeuchi Architects
Onsite construction: Kumakura Koumuten

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Location: Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Accessibility: Open to the public
Garden construction period: in 2023
Taka Ishii Gallery website

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