VILLUM Window Collection are proud to present the exhibition ”Windowology: New Architectural Views from Japan” by the Tokyo-based Window Research Institute and curated under the direction of architect and critic, Igarashi Taro. Previously, this unique exhibition was shown in São Paulo, Los Angeles and London.

Learn more about the exhibition right here:

 

With sliding screens and transformative spaces, Japanese windows are part of a long architectural tradition that affects people's everyday lives in culturally specific ways.

New Architectural Views from Japan examines how windows influence our view of the environment, modern urban life, craftsmanship, architecture and literature.

The exhibition is created by the Tokyo-based Window Research Institute, a foundation dedicated to supporting research into windows and disseminating knowledge about them. The foundation supports research and cultural projects concerning windows and architecture. The exhibition was curated by architect and critic Igarashi Taro. 

Experience the Japanese teahouse's many different forms of windows which diffuse the changing light within a tiny space; how manga, as reflections of everyday life, reveal our relationship with windows; how craftspeople and windows are equal partners in the manufacturing process; the function of windows as devices of environmental control and how writers and artists see windows within their works.

 

The exhibition runs from 18th September 2022 to 28th February 2023

VILLUM Window Collection, Maskinvej 4, 2860 Søborg

New opening hours during the exhibition period

Tuesday           10am – 4pm

Thursday          10am – 8pm

Sunday           11am – 5pm

The Window Research Institute is an incorporated foundation based in Tokyo dedicated to the development of architectural culture. The Institute advances knowledge concerning windows and architecture, through research grants, publications, and public events.

The research project ʻWindowologyʼ was launched by the Institute based on the belief that “windows represent civilization and culture”. Over the past 10 years, the institute has been accumulating research findings through conducting collaborative studies with universities and researchers both in and outside Japan.

For more information and to follow The Window Research Institute:

Website: https://madoken.jp/en
Twitter: https://twitter.com/madokenjp
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/madokenjp
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/madokenjp

The Japanese teahouse (chashitsu) is a special architectural structure which features many types of windows in a small space. These include renji-mado (windows made from wooden slats), maru-mado (round windows), tsukiage-mado (hatch skylights) and shitaji-mado (windows made by exposing the lattice framework of the wall). Yōsuitei, which is also known as the Jūsansōnoseki (Thirteen-window sitting room), has the most windows among all existing teahouses. 

Experience a full-scale replica of Yōsuitei created by enlarging an original okoshi-ezu, a fold-up three-dimensional architectural plan made with washi (handmade Japanese paper). These models, which represent the spaces of Japanese teahouses, were utilized by tea masters and carpenters when reviewing and developing designs.

In Japan’s wood-based architecture, window-like components installed in the gaps between columns are referred to as ‘hashirama sōchi’ (devices between columns). Specifically, they can take the form of walls or fixtures, such as shoji (sliding translucent screens) and fusuma (sliding partitions). The diversity and dynamism of these intercolumnar elements are considered the source of the richness of Japanese architecture.

One example of this is Kikugetsutei, a teahouse which stands beside a pond in the Ritsurin Garden in Kagawa Prefecture. This short film captures the dramatic changes that the building undergoes over the course of a day.

The piece was selected for showing at the 2018 International Film Festival Rotterdam.

 

Manga, or Japanese comics, reflect the daily lives of the people. For Windowology, they are valuable materials for understanding the relationship between people and windows. One Windowology project extracted every scene with a window, and classified the activities depicted in them, from three Japanese manga series that were popular throughout Japan after WWII.

Shown here are 8 window-related episodes from Japan’s most famous yon-kama manga (four-cell comic strip), Sazae-san. The series revolves around a multi-generational household in Tokyo and often shows the characters interacting through windows in the neighbourhood. It appeared in newspapers from 1946 to 1974, and it contains many scenes that induce nostalgia among Japanese people today.

Windows also function fundamentally as environmental control devices. However, the role of the window changed dramatically during the 20th century. Buildings became equipped with mechanical heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems and supplied with great amounts of energy, resulting in the emergence of high-rise buildings with windows that do not open. But now, with the growing demand for sustainable architecture, the role of the window as an interface with the outdoor environment has gained renewed importance. One could say that there is a new interest in architecture that ‘breathes’ and interacts with nature.

In this part of the exhibition, you can see how heat, light and wind behave around openings in Japanese houses.

Windows and craftspeople act as partners in Japanese workplaces where work is conducted by hand. Windows take part in the manufacturing processes by bringing in or expelling elements of nature, such as light, wind, heat, smoke and steam. The properties of materials such as clay, wood, cloth, paper are transformed around such ‘working windows’, and craftspeople hone their sensitivity and skills by acutely sensing these changes through their everyday work.

 

 

Windows drive stories. Various things happen around them; they are where people meet, exchange gazes and engage in conversation. In the world of fiction, windows often stimulate our imaginations, functioning, for example, as entrances to other worlds. Stories can also tell us what people who are not architects think about windows.

In this section, you can see how windows are depicted in stories mainly from Japan.

What kinds of windows are Japan’s architects designing for houses today? These are Japanese windows captured by French photographer Jérémie Souteyrat. In his photobook Tokyo no ie (Tokyo Houses; 2014), which shows Japanese houses in Tokyo within the neighbourhoods in which they were built, you can see how the orientation, size and position of the windows have carefully been adjusted in response to sightlines and their surroundings. The windows of houses in provincial cities instead are designed to relate to the natural environment, as seen in Souteyrat’s work for Japan, Archipelago of the House (2014). You can also catch glimpses of the occupants of the spaces lounging beside their windows.

Windows are made to be opened in all sorts of ways. Windows in Japan are most commonly designed to slide horizontally, whereas windows in Europe and the Americas commonly slide vertically. The German-born dreh-kipp (turn-tilt) window, which can be tilted or swung inwards using a handle, has been popular for a long time in Europe, but it is rare in Japan. An example of a window named after a country is the French window, which swings open from the middle. Windows are very much cultural products that are tied to the peculiarities of their local contexts.

In this exhibit, the various movements of windows are abstracted and expressed through sound and images.

Art installation ”You would come back there to see me again the following day”

The interactive installation by artist Tsuda Michiko distorts boundaries between past and present through frames, mirrors and screens. Window frames with mirrors and screens reflect images of exhibition guests and invite them to move through the installation and get a glimpse of themselves. 

By projecting images into unexpected places, the piece is designed to alter the perception of space and create a labyrinthine visual experience.

 

Tsuda has persistently examined the volatility of human perception⁠—and the glimpse of the richness of illusions afforded by that volatility—by manipulating our sensations in terms of understanding space and time. Tsuda’s works take a variety of forms such as installation, performance, and video implying an invisible presence wavering in response to the appreciator’s perspective and behavior.