The Japanese architect, Terunobu Fujimori arrived in London today, and he started off with a visit to the V&A Medieval & Renaissance Daylit Gallery where he will be building his structure for our ‘1:1’ exhibition. The preparations for the M&R Galleries are so intense at the moment that there is a total lock-down on the site, apart from access for essential project staff. We therefore offered Professor Fujimori a vantage point from the adjacent Directorate corridor, as this film shows.
Afterwards we showed Professor Fujimori a model of the M&R Galleries, which, conveniently, was in an office just next to where we were. It was very useful in helping him and the project team visualise the orientations and relationships between his structure and the surrounding galleries and Museum objects. Visitor circulation in such a narrow gallery space is of course a key consideration.
During his scheme design presentation (below, with translator, Sarah Teasley from the RCA), we heard about Professor Fujimori’s first ever visit to the V&A. About 30 years ago he made a quasi-religous pilgrimage to the Museum from Japan to see the William Morris Dining Room. He had long been fascinated by the Arts & Crafts movement – Morris, Philip Webb, C.F.A. Voysey et al – and had wanted to make this visit to see first-hand the architectural space designed by Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. We were very touched to hear that he feels honoured to be invited to build a structure at the V&A – the feeling is indeed quite mutual! He even went on to state that he believes the spirit of Morris and his circle lives on in him. Considering Professor Fujimori’s attitude to vernacular building techniques, and the revival of a guild-like approach to traditional Japanese architecture, I can certainly see what he means.