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The refurbishment of the Kondo Museum by Mamiya Shinichi Design Studio, situated in Chawan-Zaka, a slope in Kyoto’s Higashiyama district filled with pottery shops, celebrates kiyomizu ceramic master Yuzo Kondo and three of his descendants. One of the most sophisticated techniques amongst traditional japanese ceramics, kiyomizu ware takes its name from the nearby Kiyomizu-Dera temple.

Mamiya Shinichi divided the museum in four sections. The entrance window features Yuzo’s masterpiece, a large plate in his distinct blue and white style that was previously rarely on display to the public. The exhibition area includes work by the four Kondo family members, Yuzo, Yutaka, Jun and Takahiro who have all refined the blue and white style known as kondo sometsuke. A collection of sake cups crafted by Yuzo is exhibited alongside his materials in his original workshop built in 1924 while the studio introduced a new area, the museum’s bar, Ryusui, where visitors can enjoy a sake-tasting experience.

Various hues of dark gray and dim lighting characterize the museum’s atmosphere and accentuate materials such as stone, bamboo, plaster and traditional japanese paper found on the walls, ceiling and floor. The main feature in the museum’s interior is a flat artwork of over seven meters width created by Takahiro Kondo with his signature ‘silver mist’ overglaze style. The impression of shimmery water in this ceramic piece references the area’s Kiyomizu-Dera temple which is known as a holy place of pristine water.

Architecture: Shinichi Mamiya + Fukushima Takuya / Mamiya Shinichi Design Studio
Graphic design: Issei Kitagawa (GRAPH)
All photos by Yasuko Okamura and Hiroshi Tanigawa

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