A sushi bar that is a fusion of postmodern design and traditional Japanese architecture, will be re-installed in a new museum in Hong Kong.
“Kiyotomo” is a sushi bar that was open until 2004 in an area called Shinbashi, Tokyo. Shinbashi is known for being an area that has may places to eat and drink from casual pubs to traditional Japanese restaurants. “Kiyotomo” stood in that area, and it was designed by a Japanese architect, Shiro Kuramata in 1988. Kuramata has been award the “Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres” from the French government, and considered to be one of the most important artists in postmodern design in Japan, but his works was thought to be impractical. “Kiyotomo” has been an great example of bringing in an artistic sushi bar and a commercial facility together, which proved that Kuramata had a great ability to balance both the artistic side, and the commercial side of his design.
“Kiyotomo”’s whole building was bought in 2014, and will be installed in a museum in Hong Kong called “M+”, which will open in 2017. Aric Chen, the curator of “M+” has mentioned that “Kiyotomo was built under the the concept of a tea house, since the owner wanted something that was ‘still traditional Japanese but modern’”. A tea house that is built to enjoy Japanese tea ceremony, is simplified to the max, and can be said that is the most compact form of Japanese architecture. What Kuramata’s architect and a tea house has in common is that they both look for the equilibrium point between practicalness and the concept/philosophy.
The dismantling process in Tokyo, and the re-installation process in Hong Kong can be seen on Youtube. As Kuramata once said that his designs are ichibu-no-sukimonai (一分の隙もない:flawless/no gap bigger than 3mm), his sophisticated design was dismantled over 4 months with extreme care. The 5.4 meter granite counter top, and 86 cedar panels for the wall were all carefully taken a part, and shipped to Hong Kong where it will be re-installed. “Kiyotomo” is bound to be the highlight of M+.