This spring we held an exhibition to reexamine the charm of orchids at Ginza Mitsukoshi department store in Tokyo.
In Japan, it has become a standard to send an orchid as a gift of celebration. Its production line has now been mechanized, the number of flowers has been controlled to an odd number which is said to bring good fortune, it is fixed with a wire so that the direction of the flower is consistent and it is put inside an ordinary pot and shipped.
There, the priority is on formality rather than beauty and the initial charm of orchids is all but forgotten.
I was born in a district with the highest production quantity of orchids in Japan. My local friend decided to take over the family run orchid farm after studying about flowers in the city. However, he was astounded to find out that the main work of producing orchids was done by machines. He who loved nature had doubts about the standardized orchid production of Japan and came to me, who was a designer, about wanting to review the orchid culture of Japan.
In response, I proposed a new way of enjoying orchids by designing fixtures specially “Botanical hanger” for orchids. I am spreading anew the charm of orchids which has been forgotten through this fixture. In addition, an orchid exhibition “The orchid place” was held in Ginza where you are able to attract the most number of customers in Japan, to have the original beauty of orchids widely acknowledged. There, we did not simply line up orchids but exhibited them by combining them with Japanese antiques so I am proud to say that we were able to fully convey the charm of orchids to many people.
It was seeing Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia on television when I was in my second year of high school that set me on the path toward becoming a creator. “Nothing is art if it does not come from nature”, Gaudi declared, and drawing inspiration from the natural world, he brought numerous masterpieces to life. Another major figure for me in my journey was the architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who used the term “organic architecture” to describe his own work. “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature”, he said. So “nature” itself was, in effect, grand master and teacher to my own masters and teachers.
The beauty of nature cannot be equalled. For me, the desire to be close to nature is ever?present, but in modern society contact with the natural world tends to be rather limited. In confronting that reality, this work, “Botanical Hanger”, was born of the wish to bring something floral and green into the everyday. The mere presence of greenery in your life is affirming and replenishing. The act of admiring a flower has a soothing effect on the mind, and helps you to look out at the world from a calmer perspective.
Photos: Ikunori Yamamoto