There is an architectural label “Intentionallies“(ITL) which was set up to practice creation through architecture in ’95. While drawing the attention of mass media, it has committed themselves to designing a wide range of design such as an id design for Towa Tei‘s CD jacket, furniture, graphic design collaborated with Tycoon graphics, even multistorey buidings and so on.
Every idea emerges from a question “How should it be performed?”, and an earnest attitude of travelling across genres, occasionally transforming itself and shaking territories. It is certain that that flexible attempt inspires architecture with a new blood.
This month, SHIFT interviewed the members of Intentionallies, Shuwa Tei, Jiro Endo and Shin Ohhori at Endo’s house in Jinguu-mae, Tokyo.
As for the definition of Intentinallies, you mentioned that it’s “a label” to practice architectural mateliarisation. As far as I know, it’s the whole practice of materialasation mainly stressing on architecture that you specialise in. How come did you first reach to that idea?
Tei (T): We learned design at school and thought there should be more to do in design. What we want to do is practice the whole process of matelialisation. We believe that architectural elements including interior, outerior, graphics even music are all essential, not that each element comes before them in the first place.
Towa Tei “Sound Museum”CD ID Design
In essence, you mean you stick to every detail of the elments in architecture.
T: We want to work on it at an easy pace.
Endo (E): We believe that we should adopt an idea “an act as architecture” and an architectural act is to solve problems one by one, and then create, not to totalise the elements.
For instance, I feel this beautiful enlarged house where we are now is just like a cafe that can attract and gather people. You made this house that can be directly associated with our reality in real world, didn’t you?
E: Right. Nothing’s peculiar and abnormal here.
T: A completion of architecture doesn’t finish when it’s completed, does it? Many events will happen to a building afterwards.
For example, this gathering we have right now is one of the events.
Ohhori (O): The design can be completed by holding an event like this.
“Architectural act” implies that?
T: It does, yes.
Definition of Intentionallies
Art Laboratory Rocket Opening Exhibition at Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo
Usually, books on architecture feature photos taken right after when it’s completed, when no one has ever lived there yet.
E: Time exsists in many ways. Those photos have nothing to do with compeletion of a building. This house has been enlarged in order to make it have diverse aspects. That can add an another diversity of time to my house, which intentionallies aims at. Good places are not always brand-new, but long-lived and tend to be rather old, keeping a good mixture of both new and old architectural context.
You’ve been following the context.
T: Yes, in any aspects in the universe, there’s a series of contexts.
Can you tell me about the idea of “label”? Why do you choose the word, “label”?
T: We’d like it to be something like a black box. You would never know what comes out of it. I mean, you can buy a CD judging by a record label. We want Intentionallies to be just like that.
So, you are working as a label, rather than a unit.
T: We are not always working as three pieces. It just happened to be three of us who set up our company. We do collaborate with other artists very often. This house was built up by a mason who collaborated with us. I think what is very architectural is that how architects can sort of edit each ability of good artists.
We don’t really stress on the label. We use the word because label is just suitable for us.
Simplicity/Complexity © 1995 Intentionalies with N.Fukutsu, K.Nishimura
I’d like to ask you about your involvement with the urban space. By just placing a skier on the summit of a snowy mountain, it can generate an image of a ski gound. For ITL, architecture is almost like the skier forming a part of the topography. I think it’s a very good idea. In a word, it can be said that it’s “a concept of involvement”. How do you put that?
E: I wouldn’t say all our circumstances should be changed at once. For example, by placing strategically designed sites in a city, they eventually permeate through the area and urge their circumstances to be altered. We want to elaborate this whole process. Although it’s not easy for any big cities to be transformed over night, I think there’s always a possibility that triggers a drastic change.
Do you usually intend to kind of conceal a triggering device when constructing a building?
ITL: It depends on the site.
E: Eventually, it’s all how to deal with the whole circumstances after all. It’s just quite natural.
O: I guess it’s nonsense how much you try to understand what the city is. The other day, I worked as a adviser at an academic society where the theme was on urban cities. Every idea suggested by a panel of experts seemed to be rather pointless. Matters concerning urban design are so diverse and profound that they can’t really handle.
T: Constructing a city is different from constructing a building. We don’t deal with the urban renewal but the urban “contexts” such as configuration of the ground, the nature of the soil, budget, owner’s intention etc…
For me, those contexts are exactly a chance to get involved with the city. There has been thousands of buildings that have lost contexts with the surroundings in Japan. I think it’s important for us to create buildings that keep good contexts with the surroundings.
ITL: You’re right there.
E: In other word, that’s what our lifestyle is.
ITL: Exactly (laugh)
Visual: Art Direction & Design: Tycoon Graphics for Graphickers, CG: Ichiro Tanida (JJD) for Graphickers, Illustration: Eco Michiba, ITL Logo Design: Tycoon Graphics.
As for the way you try to deal with the the architectural themes, I think you have a good command of various media that we, 20’s and 30’s, are familiar with. Even the way you express at the exhibition wasn’t associated directly with architecture. Are you concious of having something general in the rising generation in common?
T: No. Nothing to do with our generation. The point is how to get across… People often say like “Is this what your generation represents?”….. I’d say no. It’s just our nature.
T: In each generation, there’re some great people who are committed themselves to doing radical things. We just want to break through all the generations. If we invite many young boys and girls over to this garden, probably they’ll quite like it. Now, what’s more important than that is to propose the places like this garden to other conservative people in every state of life.
You must be concious of interface in comtemporary graphic design and other designs?
T: Certainly, we are concious of that.
Is that that you want to utilise those designs as a means to explore the time while utilising them as a language at once?
That’s why we have this label. ITL’s poster is designed by Tycoon Graphics, and posters for the exhibition and CD jacket of Sapporo Collection were by Shimota. In such high perceptive level, there’s something more important than the graphic design itself.
Music By Contemporary Production
Exhibition Design at Laforet Harajuku, Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo
II’d like to ask you about your future plan.
T: I don’t like the word “the end of the century”. But I really like “Grand Century”. I am sure I am lucky to be able to live in the grand century. I must do something good now.
What’s your vision to go though it?
T: Well, it’s hard to explain, but I guess architects will be doing something slightly different in the next century.
As I see many sites maintained by people working in architecture, they tend to suggest that the definition of architecture might be forced to change by a new type of envoironment that is created by densely networked society. For instance, SOHO(small office home office) represents an idea that buildings in need and use will be just for protecting human bodies and hospitals in the future, which is realised by replacing the buildings in virtual world with highly computered network. Regardless of grand century, we are at the change of civilisations.
T: As far as I’m concerned, there’ll be a wide range of opinions on architecture as well as other things. Some will advocate extreme point of view, and on the other hand, some will reject it and approach more materialistic value than now. It’s very likely that some of the orthodox cultures will be considered to be counter cultures.
E: I’d prefer using a Mac in a place like jungle to in a highly urbanised room.
At least, any extreme ideas don’t fit me at all. This is my own instict, which I’ve always been following.
ITL: Spontaineously. Right.
Address: JIingumae Residence, 3-40-9 JIingumae, Shibuya, Toktyo