Light and Reflections by Olafur Eliasson

09.03.2020 Interview

Housing has always been an important part of Tadao Ando’s practice, with over 100 small and large residences worldwide. Nowadays, as a part of a new collaborative trend, he continues designing houses but counting on the contribution of recognized artists.

Situated on a quiet residential street of unremarkable homes, Obiyashi house hides a particularly innovative collaboration. Ando’s signature spare, concrete-and-glass spaces are punctuated in the middle of the N-shaped plan by these characteristic platinum-glazed ceramic tile made by “Petersen Tegl”. Originally, 6.800+ by light artist Olafur Eliasson was exhibited at MoMA back in 2003, but has been incorporated at as a courtyard “lining” for this gallery house in Tokyo.

Tadao Ando’s houses favor centrally placed courtyards that illuminate dark interiors with light. As the natural light changes throughout the day, night and seasons, so do the interiors. “I hope that as guests enter the Obiyashi house they feel a sense of expectation and excitement,” says Tadao Ando. The bricks can be rotated into 6 different positions, and put together randomly as they create a very complex pattern. The idea of the quasi brick is the expression of high complexity: the tiles could symbolize the multi-faceted life of the businessman-cum-art collector.