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TOKYO—A UNIQUE BLEND OF EAST AND WEST

Tokyo based interior designer Masamichi Katayama of Wonderwall shares a few of his favorite must-visit spots in Tokyo.

Kazumi Kurigami

photo: Kazumi Kurigami

Masamichi Katayama, principal and founder of Wonderwall

Few designers have changed Tokyo’s retail spaces to the extent that interior design virtuoso Masami Katayama, the principal and founder of Wonderwall, has. Starting with his novel and fresh interior designs for Japanese fashion brand A Bathing Ape in the late 1990s, Katayama has surprised and entertained shoppers with masterfully executed retail spaces for such global megabrands as Uniqlo, Lexus, Dean & Deluca, Pierre Hermé, and Nike. And his international clientele keep coming back for more.

Hailing from Okayama, Katayama now calls Tokyo his home. “For me, the most unique and interesting part of Tokyo is the architecture and cityscape left from the economic growth years of the sixties and seventies,” he says. “The modernist works of greats like Kenzo Tange, Kunio Maekawa, and Junzo Sakakura, which can still be found in and around the city, are testament to a time when architects had more freedom to experiment. For me they are really unique to Tokyo and in Japan as a whole.”
Katayama also admires the creative blend of European and Japanese culture at which many of Tokyo’s smaller shops and galleries excel. “The antiques shop Tamiser in Ebisu is really great for browsing. (The owner) Shotaro (Yoshida) has a keen eye for selecting both Japanese and European objects and presenting them in new and unique ways.”

St. Mary’s Cathedral (Bunkyo-city, Sekiguchi)

MEIJI JINGU SHRINE / OMOTESANDO AREA
MEIJI JINGU SHRINE / OMOTESANDO AREA
One of Kenzo Tange’s most prominent buildings, St. Mary’s Cathedral, was finished just in time for the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games.
The impressive poured-concrete structure is like no other in that there appears to be no division between walls and ceiling. The eight walls of the central octagonal space curve gently as they rise to join seamlessly with the ceiling. Looking up, churchgoers see a glazed opening in the form of a cross, through which natural light softly fills the cavernous cathedral. “An invaluable masterpiece carved from the very essence of the man himself and made possible by the postwar momentum of rapid economic growth that heightened the cultural value of architecture in Japan,” Katayama offers. Visit early on a summer morning to catch the first rays of sun as they penetrate alabaster mural at the east side of the building.
https://cathedral-sekiguchi.jp/

ASAKURA Museum of Sculpture (Yanaka)

MEIJI JINGU SHRINE / OMOTESANDO AREA
MEIJI JINGU SHRINE / OMOTESANDO AREA
The ASAKURA Museum of Sculpture sits in a rare pocket of old Tokyo left relatively unscathed from the bombings of World War II. Sculptor Fumio Asakura began the construction of his studio at age 24 and lived and worked there until he passed away in 1964. “It’s such a cozy and comfortable space. You can really feel Asakura experimenting with different materials and extending the building over the years,” Katayama says. The house brims with small details of the traditional Japanese fittings based on his sense of beauty and the well-tended courtyard. There is also a pleasant rooftop garden and a high-ceilinged studio where his prominent works are displayed.
http://www.taitocity.net/zaidan/asakura/

antiques tamiser (Ebisu)

MEIJI JINGU SHRINE / OMOTESANDO AREA
MEIJI JINGU SHRINE / OMOTESANDO AREA
Named for the French verb meaning “to sift,” this small bric-a-brac shop in residential Ebisu offers a carefully selected lineup of small curiosities, unique objects and museum worthy daily tools, all “sifted” by the discerning eyes of owner Shotaro Yoshida. “A shop that I love to visit when I have the time,” Katayama says. “Of all the remarkable products selected by Yoshida’s keen eye, my favorites are the beautiful tools and religious statues. The other day I came across a pair of fascinating fisherman’s boots from Newfoundland.”
antiques tamiser リンク先(English web site):http://tamiser.com/index_e.php
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