Launching on 22 June 2018, Japan House will be the new London home for Japanese creativity and innovation. It will provide "authentic and surprising encounters" with the very best in art, design, gastronomy, innovation and technology, offering us a deeper appreciation of Japanese culture.
Through a wide-ranging programme, Japan House London will shine a spotlight on the artisans, craftsmen, designers, performers, musicians and other creatives who are making waves in Japan and around the world – from internationally renowned individuals to emerging artists who are excelling in their field.
Almost every aspect of Japan House London is derived "from source" in Japan; from its interior design features, such as hand-made kawara floor tiles from Japan’s Awaji Island, to the exhibitions and events, and authentic retail products sourced from across Japan.
"Our uncompromising approach to bringing true authenticity to Japan House’s around the world will offer a surprise to even the most knowledgeable guests," Hara Kenya, Chief Creative Director of the global Japan House project told Creative Boom. "From already internationally renowned individuals through to emerging artists excelling in their fields, Japan House London will present the very best in what Japan has to offer."
Along with Los Angeles and São Paulo, it is one of three new global locations created by the Government of Japan to offer insights into Japan that go beyond stereotypes – both old and new – and to offer deeper and more authentic explorations, often through more personal and intimate stories of the country. By consistently asking and answering the question "What is Japan?", Japan House will show a multi-faceted culture in a constant state of adaption and evolution.
So what can we expect? On the lower ground floor, you'll find an exhibition gallery, events space and library, dedicated to providing an authentic encounter with Japan via a calendar of regular changing themes. The opening exhibition is Sou Fujimoto: Futures of the Future. Seen for the first time in the UK, it will explore the innovative works of one of Japan’s most influential contemporary architects, Fujimoto Sousuke. Linking to the London Festival of Architecture, it will present Fujimoto’s philosophical and sustainable approach to architecture, looking at current projects but also his experiments for the future.
In addition, Fujimoto also presents Architecture is Everywhere which illustrates the concept of discovering architecture within the forms of everyday objects and the serendipity of finding numerous possibilities for new architecture.
Elsewhere, the Library at Japan House will offer a new approach to appreciate and engage with books through bookshelf exhibitions curated by Haba Yoshitaka of Bach. A book specialist in Japan, Bach is revolutionising the way publications are displayed and curated and has helped bookstores in Japan successfully champion paper books in the digital era.
The first Japan House Library exhibition, Nature of Japan will feature original photographs by leading Japanese photographer, Suzuki Risaku.
Meanwhile, The Shop at Japan House blurs the concept between shop and gallery. It introduces Japanese products: the artisans and designers who make them, and the history and social context of how they developed and are used.
On the first floor, guests will be welcomed into a new restaurant created by, and bearing the name of, Japanese chef Shimizu Akira. The restaurant, Akira, will offer an authentic Japanese dining experience based on Chef Akira’s "trinity of cooking" principles – food, tableware and presentation.
Akira, who is no stranger to the London gastronomic circuit, having opened some of the UK’s most highly regarded Japanese restaurants, has big ambitions for the restaurant and is striving to create "an innovative Japanese restaurant like no other never-before-seen in London".
We certainly can't wait. Japan House London will launch on 22 June 2018 on Kensington High Street. Until then, you can find out more at japanhouselondon.uk.