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'Box' is the title of this second exhibition of Shigeru Uchida, the designer of "Po-an," Ippodo Gallery's tea room space in New York. Uchida has explored Japan's fundamental aesthetic sense of space in a unique cultural anthropological way "Fudo-ron (an essential relationship between climate and other environmental factors and the nature of human cultures)" and etymology. This led to a re-statement of Japan's tradition of the beauty of everyday-life in the language of contemporary interior design. From of old, based on the Buddhist philosophy of 'emptiness,' Japanese have always been cognizant of the significance of a 'box,' the most minimal of spaces, and have made utensils such as letter boxes or cases for outdoor tea ceremonies or used them as home altars such as Shinto shrines and Buddhist altars, continuously refining their uses by stacking, joining and combining them in new ways.

Uchida often quotes the words of Tenshin Okakura, 'Cha no yu (the Tea Ceremony) is a ritual that worships the beautiful things that exist in daily life.' By making 'boxes' the theme of a gallery exhibition, he has made these ultimately simple utensils into a symbol of the pure mind and added them to the roster of Japanese traditional beauty. To appreciate this tradition of minimalist beauty, one must view it from the perspective of 'wabi', the spiritual aesthetic of the imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete, rather than that of the extravagance that underlies the samurai aesthetic.

Shigeru Uchida (Interior Designer)

Born in Yokohama in 1943. As a leading Japanese designer, Uchida has engaged in diverse design projects worldwide from architectural interior, furniture and industrial design to urban planning. His major works are series of boutiques for Yohji Yamamoto, the Hotel Il Palazzo in Fukuoka, the Kobe Fashion Museum, the tea rooms 'Ji-an, So-an, Gyo-an,' the Mojiko Hotel, AVIAMO series for Fujitsu General, and Oriental Hotel Hiroshima. His works are held in permanent collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Conran Foundation and others. His publications include 'Bounds of Privacy", "Mojiko Hotel Aldo Rossi Shigeru Uchida", "Japanese Interior Design-Its Cultural Origin", "Book of Furniture", and "Shigeru Uchida with Ikuyo Mitsuhashi". He is a recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the Mainichi Design Award and Education Minister's Art Encouragement Award. In 2007, he was honored with Medal of Purple Ribbon. From 2008, he is President of Kuwasawa Design School, his alma mater.

At the -Box- Exhibition, models of private homes and Japanese-style rooms designed by Uchida will also be on display. In addition, in conjunction with the Opening of -Box-, Uchida will deliver a lecture entitled, "The Design of Weekness" at the Pratt Institute (History and Theory of Design) and at Parsons (The New School of Design, School of Constructed Environments).
About the Artist