Seasons of Tanada
– a depiction of the primeval Japanese landscape
Located past Art Glass and the Tea Room, the Atrium is a relaxed, open space warmed by gentle sunlight. Its walls are decorated by the gigantic murals that make up Seasons of Tanada.
Terraced rice paddies, which make excellent use of Japan's mountainous geography, have expanded the country's rice harvest. The land is flattened into steps, levees are built, and water is channeled to form the paddies - and then, the rice is grown and harvested. Rice-growing has given shape to Japan's landscape, and the year it takes to grow rice has become part of Japan's annual calendar. One could say that such views of terraced rice paddies represent the primeval landscape of Japan.
These primeval landscapes are depicted in Seasons of Tanada, a work in sumie (India ink) by Mr. Morihiro Hosokawa. The work is made up of views of terraced rice paddies painted on murals, constructed from 60 sheets of washi Japanese paper 2m by 1m in size. These murals decorate the 8.5m-tall walls of the Atrium, offering an unbroken, sweeping view of the four seasons of the rice paddies.
"Naguri" finish flooring
– a traditional construction technique
The flooring of the room uses chestnut wood that has been given a naguri finish, a method of chipping and shaving wood. Unlike with flat-surfaced wood, shadows form in the dimples of this wood when it is touched by the light, giving it a varying range of expressions influenced by the weather and time of day.
Chestnut wood is water-resistant and has a brilliant luster, and when processed using the naguri technique, it gains an even more gentle, refined, dignified appearance, making it a popular material in the construction of areas such as tea rooms. There are few artisans even within Japan who can carve this tortoiseshell pattern, and we sent carefully-selected, choice pieces of wood to Kyoto to be painstakingly carved for the flooring.
In order to emphasize the 8.5m height of the room and to illuminate the whole room, longitudinal strip lighting has been installed. Lightshades create softly diffused light, like light shining through shoji screen.
The simple white cube with a top light and screens changes its ambience according to the time of day. Depending on the purpose and the time of use, guests can enjoy different scenes. Lighting is computer-controlled to adjust its brightness throughout the day.
The Library is a space to archive our research outcomes and related books. It can also be used for seminars and meetings.
The main table is made of oak and high enough for meetings without chairs in case there is a large group of people.
The Plenus "Kokoro" Academy primarily consists of the Tea Room, a space for hospitality, Seasons of Tanada, a work that depicts the primeval Japanese landscape, and the Library, used for seminars and meetings. The Japan's Food Culture Archive research project mainly takes place in the Library, and we also store items such as research materials there as well.
Our cultural exchange program "L'atelier de Yayoi" is located in the tea room so that our international guests can experience Japanese culture or in the atrium for events and exhibitions.