Tea time

Tokujin Yoshioka’s Kou-An Glass Teahouse reflects the cultural value of Japanese tea ceremony practices.

The “Kou-An Glass Teahouse” is the latest architectural project of Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka. With its origins in the architectural plan of the Japanese Transparent House first presented in 2002, Kou-An incorporates a symbolic Japanese cultural image.

On display at the collateral Glasstress 2011 exhibition at the Venice Biennale, the full-scale version of the work is expected to be completed in 2013.

The concept draws on the Japanese belief that nature is characterised by its distinctive spatial perceptions.  Yoshioka explains that it involves the “sensory realisation of the surrounding atmosphere through what may be described as signs of presence, energies or perhaps the aura”. It is this appreciation of the sensuality of nature that is mimicked in the Japanese tea ceremony practices.

Kou-An is a 1/10 scale model, highlighting the sense that the appreciation of nature is made possible by the very avoidance of a direct dialogue with nature. It is the construction of a non-natural space that creates a microcosm where the “experience of sensing nature in it essences are recognised, felt and understood”.