After a year of preparation, Japanese architect Terunobu Fujimori and Germany’s Museum Insel Hombroich have unveiled the Ein Stein Tea House, a sculptural teahouse elevated three meters above the ground on untreated robinia (black locust) trunks.
Charred black from yakisugi—aka shou sugi ban—a Japanese technique for wood preservation, the modern teahouse combines elements of traditional Japanese culture with Neo-Dadaist sensibilities in an experimental style characterized by eccentricity and humor that has defined Fujimori’s best-known architectural work in the last three decades.
Fujimori, now 73 years old, is renowned in Japan as a cultural commentator and architectural historian. But it wasn’t until 1991 that he finally made his first foray into architecture with the completion of a small family museum in Nagano featuring an experimental facade that earned praise from architect Kengo Kuma and helped launch his career in architecture.
Over the last few decades, Fujimori has often made Japanese tearooms and teahouses the focus of his architectural work and has completed about a dozen permanent teahouse installations around the world. Each one-of-a-kind creation is characterized by the use of natural materials, a site-specific approach and a sense of playfulness with their somewhat cartoonish appearance.
The recently installed Ein Stein Tea House—a name that translates to One Stone Tea House and is also an homage to the German physicist Albert Einstein—is the Japanese architect’s first permanent teahouse in Germany.
In contrast to the blackened exterior, the interior is wrapped in light-colored oak paneling for a modern appearance that eschews the tatami floor mats and shoji screens found in traditional Japanese teahouses.
The Ein Stein Tea House will be open for tea ceremonies and guided tours during the duration of Fujimori’s exhibition Ein Stein Tea House and Other Architectures from September 4 to November 29, 2020 and from February 5 to April 11, 2021.
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