Matcha-tei | Courtesy of Shinsoken
The New Material Research Laboratory (Shinsoken), established by world-acclaimed contemporary artist Hiroshi Sugimoto and architect Tomoyuki Sakakida, designed a special space “Matcha-tei” at the Shiroiya Hotel in Maebashi.
Concept of “Matcha-tei”
The name “Matcha-tei” derives from the mud wall embodying the true Matcha color while harmonizing with the green wall color of the tea room* situated in the back of this space and also the natural green that surrounds the hotel. The calligraphy showing the name of the space “Matcha-tei” on a tablet is made by Hiroshi Sugimoto.
About the “Matcha-tei” Space
The layered glass façade makes different impressions of the interior space during the day and at night as it transmits the light softly. This layered glass, which characterized by its chopped face with a rich expression, is made by breaking each edge of 19mm thick float glass with the hands of a glass artisan. Furthermore, more than 100 pieces of glass slab were carefully layered by hand to finish it as a wall while incorporating the chopped face. The counter dominating the center of the space is of solid cedar wood. Its beautiful grain is supposed to represent undulating water and a ripple of water spilling from the standing stone basin installed by the counter to function as a bottle cooler. We chose a wood grain that evokes the flow of clear water and devised a way to connect it naturally from the water basin. The mud wall, where a tablet carrying the name of the space is placed, is finished with the finely-made frame of jindaisugi (lignitised Japanese cedar) as the transition, and is integrated into the color of wall. The wall is finished by delicately blending pigments with the plaster to create the authentic color of matcha.
New Material Research Laboratory (Shinsoken)
Shinsoken is an architectural firm established in 2008 by contemporary artist Hiroshi Sugimoto and architect Tomoyuki Sakakida. In spite of its name, it examines materials and techniques used in ancient, medieval, and early modern times, and puts their modern reinterpretation and revival as the core of its activities. Challenging against the modern construction materials which have all been standardized and become superficial, Shinsoken dares to pursue the architectural possibilities of traditional materials which are difficult to handle. It is also to hand down the techniques of advanced craftsmen which are being forgotten in the modernization, and further refine those techniques. Shinsoken is convinced that building an architecture that handles old materials while avoiding the trends of the times is the newest attempt at the moment and engaged in the design work.
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