A Balance Between Art and Nature

As part of the Venice Architecture Bienniale 2014, “Glass Tea House Mondrian” is proving to be a ‘must-see’ attraction for visitors.

The artist, Hiroshi Sugimoto, is known worldwide for his black-and-white photographs and Glass Tea House Mondrian is his first architectural piece which has been made possible thanks to the support of Fondazione Bisazza, amongst others.

Inspired by pre-modern abstraction, the Pavilion consists of two main elements: an open-air landscape and an enclosed glass cube. The landscape (approximately 40 metres long and 12.5 metres wide) follows a path along a reflecting pool, leading the visitor to a glass cube (2.5 x 2.5 metres), inside which the traditional Japanese tea ceremony is performed on a regular basis. The glass cube hosts two visitors at a time together with the tea master, while spectators can watch the ceremony from outside.

The reflecting pool, a key element of the pavilion, is lined entirely with Bisazza Opera 25.02 mosaic. This has been made possible thanks to a collaboration with Fondazione Bisazza. Fondazione Bisazza, is Bisazza’s cultural space which is dedicated to contemporary design and architecture and displays both permanent and temporary exhibitions.

According to Sugimoto: “The Glass Tea House Mondrian creates a bond between interior and exterior, nature and artifice, lightness and heaviness, water and soil, a bond which is presented in the use of wood from Japan for the external fence, the use of Venetian mosaics for the reflecting pool, and glass for the tea house, in which the merge between Japanese tradition and modern technology can be experienced.”

Glass Tea House Mondrian

Short biography – Hiroshi Sugimoto

Born in Tokyo in 1948, Sugimoto has lived in New York since 1974. He has acquired an international reputation as a photographic artist and has exhibited his works in major art museums throughout the world. In recent years he has been expanding his field of activity to literary and architectural work. In 2008, he founded New Material Research Laboratory, an architectural design office which was commissioned to design the Izu Photo Museum in Shizuoka prefecture. His recent written works include “Sense of Space” published by Magazine House, and “Origin of Art” by Shincho-sha. As a connoisseur of traditional arts and theater, Sugimoto has led the direction of Ningyo Joruri Bunraku (Japanese puppet theatre) production of “Sugimoto Bunraku Sonezaki Shinju: The Love Suicides at Sonezaki”, which was performed in Madrid, Rome, and Paris in autumn 2013 and again in Tokyo and Osaka in March 2014. Sugimoto has won many awards, including the 21st Praemium Imperiale in 2009, Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon by Japanese Government in 2010, the Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (The Order of Arts and Letters) by French Government in 2013.