It was my last day in Tokyo and I realised I'd almost forgotten about this place! I would have sulked beyond if I'd missed it because not only is 21_21 Design Sight an incredibly beautiful building, but the exhibition that's currently running, KOME The Art of Rice, is truly one of the best I've ever seen anywhere in the world. It's a very personal thing is art, and for me this display of rice in its various forms was utterly captivating in its simplicity and presentation. As the brochure says, 'In this exhibition, we take a fresh look at rice not only as food but also as Japanese culture, with graphic designer Taku Satoh and cultural anthropologist Shinichi Takemura acting as exhibition directors'.
The architect of 21_21 Design Sight, is unsurprisingly, Tadao Ando and the Directors of the actual facility are three of the best, Issey Miyake (clothing designer), Taku Satoh (graphic designer) and Naoto Fukusawa (product designer). As per the website, 21_21 is a launch pad that provides the vision (sight) to search for, discover, and make things indispensable to the times and design as culture that enlivens our daily lives.
I spent hours there, mesmerized by the tiny writing on even tinier grains of rice, the superb photographs of everything rice-connected, moving short films featuring interviews with rice farmers and makers of sake, the test tubes of simulated growing rice, the endless framed sake labels, graphics, grasses, paddy field hats and long boots, the tools of the trade…there was so much amazingness which as you know, is something I'm constantly in search of as I wander here, there and everywhere, just like Alice.
I've seen rice in a new light, with fresh, redirected eyes. So kudos to 21_21 Design Sight and KOME – you captivated and enriched me today and left me feeling lighter and gentler.