Re-constructing Garden 裏千家今日庵
It is a collaborative project between 75 first year, Chelsea College of Arts, Interior and Spatial Design students and tutors. We reconstructed collectively the Urasenke Konnich-an (今日庵) tea garden in the Parade Grorund of Chelsea College of Arts. The construction of the tea garden was part of Chelsea Fringe, the alternative Garden Festival.
The Urasenke Konnich-an (今日庵) tea garden in Kyoto Japan, is a garden complex that comprises a series of small structures, including a tea house Konnichi-an, which is a minimal space of two tatami mats size (approx. 4 sqm). Although each structure is small, together they form a larger vision of landscape, and provide complex spatial experiences through their sequence, orientation and views.
Mitate is a kanji compound composed of the character 見, meaning "to see" or "to show", and the character 立, meaning "to stand." Literally "a new point of view." Often used to describe something that surprises a viewer, sometimes a visual metaphor or allusion, or something that is not exactly what it seems. Coincidentally, the word is close to the meaning of English word ‘imitate’.
We have ‘transformed’ the original garden design with the ‘Mitate’ concept. The entire garden complex is represented using a 1:1 measured ‘drawing’ of part of the garden, with a series of 1:1 wooden constructions - the bench, toilet, gate and tea house of Konnich-an.
We used the notion of ‘Primitive Hut’ described in the Essay on Architecture (1755) by Marc-Antoine Laugier, by employing recycled natural materials for the construction. The starting point for the construction was around 100 discarded Christmas trees collected from the 2013 festive season.
The trees were cut, chiselled, and extended to form structural columns for the bench, toilet, gate and teahouse. All the details were developed through a series of workshops, using what is at hand because that is all that we had. The resulting garden is a collage of collective thoughts, assembled together by the hands of students and tutors.
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