London's Japanese culture destination set for July launch

This project gave me great pleasure and an opportunity to relearn, revisit and reevaluate Japan's aesthetics and the mindset of our people
– Katayama Masamichi

A new cultural destination in London, celebrating Japan and funded by its government, has announced its public opening date.

Called Japan House London, the new attraction will offer visitors authentic Japanese encounters when it opens on 22 June, with the best in the nation's art, design, gastronomy, innovation and technology.

Almost every aspect of the new space has been derived “from source” in Japan. Japanese interior designer – Wonderwall principal architect Katayama Masamichi – created the interior design features, which include hand-made kawara floor tiles from Awaji Island and authentic products sourced from Japan.

The design of the whole space has been described as minimalistic, also reflecting the diverse range of activities it will host. A spiral staircase, spanning three levels will be at its heart, with the piece built in Japan, shipped to London and assembled piece by piece.

"This project gave me great pleasure and an opportunity to relearn, revisit and reevaluate Japan's aesthetics and the mindset of our people," said Katayama.

"I wanted to create a purposeful and meaningful space which can be a stage and provide a spotlight to the very broad and creative programme on offer at Japan House London."

Japan House London will be the third such location to open, following existing locations in São Paulo, Brazil and Los Angeles, US. Its Art Deco location on Kensington High Street will feature art works and exhibitions from a selection of esteemed Japanese artists; the first a collaboration with Tokyo's Toto Gallery, celebrating the work of architect Sou Fujimoto. Japan House London will also shine a spotlight on the artisans, craftsmen, designers, performers, musicians and other creatives who are making waves in Japan and around the world.

"As one of the world’s greatest and most vibrant cities, London was the natural choice to join São Paulo and Los Angeles for Europe’s Japan House," said Koji Tsuruoka, Japanese ambassador.

"As the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games draw the world’s attention, I hope that this ground-breaking venture will provide a new opportunity for Britons to encounter Japan, serving to further enhance the friendship between our two countries and peoples.”

Culinary delights will also feature as part of the attraction, with a new Japanese restaurant Akira by chef Akira Shimizu. A retail floor will also entice visitors with Japanese art, design and technology ranging from homewares and accessories through to fashion and stationery.

"The Japanese community in London makes a huge contribution, both economically and culturally, to the capital," said London's mayor, Sadiq Khan.

"I hope that Londoners and visitors alike enjoy this unique slice of Japanese culture in Kensington.”

Japan House London  São Paulo  Brazil  Los Angeles  Art Deco  Kensington  Tokyo  Koji Tsuruoka  Katayama Masamichi  Akira Shimizu  Sadiq Khan 
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