Kuma Words 35

Kuma Words 35

I was very saddened and experienced a strong feeling of loss to hear that both Kansai Yamamoto and Kenzo Takada passed away one after the other, fashion designers whom I have respected from the time I was young and worked with recently.

I admired them for their freedom ever since I was a student. The way in which architectural design is taught at school which has the feeling of being lectured on morals and ethics sort of made me feel like I was suffocating. Being told that you could not do this, and would not be considered a serious architect if you tried to experiment or go beyond what was accepted as a norm was very overwhelming. This is why I sort of envied the freedom of the world of fashion. There is a theory that modernist architecture has a deep relationship to the asceticism of Protestantism, and I think that Protestantism was connected to the collectivism of Japan, resulting in the creation of this type of rigidly formal education. The designs of Kansai and Kenzo cleared away and freed me from this gloomy mood. This led me to an attraction for Africa, and gave me the courage to jump off on a trip to study the villages in the Sahara Desert.
After I got to know Kansai and Kenzo, I learned that it was the wonderful characters of these people which made it possible for them to create designs that set people free. I would like to carry on their tradition of freedom and pass it on to the future through architecture.

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