Hiroshi Sugimoto and Tomoyuki Sakakida: Old Is New Architectural Works by New Material Research Laboratory
The architecture of Hiroshi Sugimoto and Tomoyuki Sakakida’s New Material Research Laboratory revives ancient construction materials for the present
An accomplished photographer in addition to his architectural work, Hiroshi Sugimoto (born 1948) is perhaps best known for his consistent experimentation with the limits of photographic representation, such as in his long-exposure series Theatres and Seascapes.
Architect and furniture designer Tomoyuki Sakakida (born 1976) has been the director of NMRL since 2013. He currently teaches at Kyoto University of Art and Design.
The architectural practice of Hiroshi Sugimoto and Tomoyuki Sakakida is informed by a simple paradox: \”the oldest things are the newest.\” In 2008, Sugimoto and Sakakida founded New Material Research Laboratory with an aim to develop \”new\” materials for construction based upon much older materials and techniques. The NMRL reinvigorates material from ancient times and the Middle Ages by using it in the context of a distinctly contemporary design sensibility and thus creating a physical connection between the past and the present. This beautiful hardcover volume delves into the art and architecture as well as the archaeological philosophy of the Laboratory. Each project is characterized by the materials used in its construction and is illustrated with rich full-color photography. Sugimoto and Sakakida are the principal authors of the accompanying text, extrapolating on their design ethos and its roots in Japanese aesthetic tradition; supplemental reading provides further historical context. The book also includes an annotated index of materials and classic Japanese techniques with information drawn from the Laboratory’s research.