Travel through an enchanting sea of light and darkness orchestrated by the praised Japanese architect Hiroshi Sambuichi. He here shares his thoughts behind the wondrous water and light installation set in an old underground water reservoir.
“What interests me the most is to bring out the beauty of the place.” Sambuichi always considers “the moving materials” at a specific site, and in particular the sun, the water and the air. To truly know a place, one has to experience it during the four seasons – spring, summer, autumn and winter – as these moving materials change accordingly: “The way these materials move will be thoroughly investigated and will be united to represent what was originally there.” In continuation of this, it was important for Sambuichi to keep in mind the history “behind this subterranean space”, which dates back to the 1800s.
For the shrine-like installation, Sambuichi designed a top-light so the sun could enter, as well as a 120-meter long corridor that led to the room where sun and water meet: “I wanted to join the sun with the water in here. For 150 years the water here had not met the sun.” Moreover, the Japanese architect has added mirrors as a central part of the exhibition to bring the sun underground and uses a ‘camera obscura’ to reflect Frederiksberg Palace – which the site-specific installation pays tribute to – down into the cisterns. In this way, Sambuichi – according to himself – enhances the beauty of the place.
“It is important to understand that water can become lighter than air. If people understand that, they will understand the relation between human beings and the earth… And when thinking about that, they will see a rainbow and if not, they will see how the light and the heat from the sun will make the water change form to gas, solid state and liquid.” The CO2 level in the Cisterns is five to ten times as high as outside in nature, and Sambuichi wants to show the relation between carbon dioxide, people and plants. We are all a part of a cycle – “people are not at the top of the pyramid” – and balance is of utmost importance: “The relation between islands, water, sun and plants is something very important for me. And because we have the sun and water here the Cisterns have an expression which is a perfect fit for me.”
Hiroshi Sambuichi (b.1968) is a Japanese architect, who is considered one of the top experimentalists of sustainable architecture, creating a symbiosis between nature and architecture. Built upon both personal intuition and scientific investigations, his architecture attains a rare balance between poetics and science. In 2001 Sambuichi established Sambuichi Architects. He is currently an Honorary Professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. In 2017 he was awarded the Wallpaper* Design Award for Naoshima Hall.
Hiroshi Sambuichi was interviewed by Christian Lund in connection with his installation ‘The Water’ at the Cisterns in Copenhagen, Denmark in March 2017.
In ‘The Water’ (on show March 2017 – February 2018), natural daylight interacts with the water and consequently, the opening hours of the installation vary with the length of day, closing at sunset. When crossing the underground sea, the visitor will walk on an interpretation of the Japanese Itsukushima Shrine on the Japanese island of Miyajima. ‘The Water’ is Sambuichi’s first major exhibition outside Japan. For more see: http://www.cisternerne.dk/en/what-s-on/exhibition/current.html
Translator: Alex Hummel Lee, project leader & partner, Sambuichi Architects
Camera: Klaus Elmer and Jakob Solbakken
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2017
Supported by Dreyers Fond