I am a great fan of Japanese architecture and aesthetics. I can still remember a store in Greenwich Village that sold the most amazing products from Japan, including one of my favorite books, How to Wrap Five Eggs by Ideyuki Oka. First published in English in 1967, it was reprinted in paperback in 2008. I have a copy of that reprint.
The entire focus of the book is on traditional Japanese packaging, which combines utilitarianism, handcraftmanship, and what the author calls, “the aesthetic consciousness of propriety.”
The latter is a concept that seems to me to be particularly Japanese — considering wrapping and packaging as a sort of sacred ritual. Again, the author states:
The act of packaging an object becomes then a ritual of purification, of distinguishing the contents of the package from all similar objects that have not been purified.
Here are some examples from the book.
The author laments the disappearance of this craft and the growth of mass production.
However, at least to my outsider eye, the Japanese aesthetic that is represented in these objects, continues, particularly in architecture and design.
Here are some examples of buildings. I do wonder, however, at the tangle of wires that seem to characterize buildings in Japanese cities. Odd, considering the emphasis on orderliness and tidiness.
But I love the simple architecture of both of these buildings. Although the power lines sure mar the aesthetic.
Below are some lamps from the Mitate Lighting Collection designed by Studio Wieki Somers (photographs from Yellowtrace blog.)
Oddly enough, I can also see the wires!