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Vava


The Kengo Kuma's Gaze

Alessandra Albarello

19/09/2021

The collaboration between the archistar and Vava continues with the launch of the new optical collection, under the banner of sustainability and inspired by traditional Japanese building techniques

Whether he is designing the Japan National Stadium in Tokyo where the last Olympics took place, or creating a pair of glasses, Kengo Kuma uses the same vocabulary, the same symbols and signs. A vocabulary that speaks of sustainability, harmony with nature and the Japanese building tradition.

Only the dimensions change, but not the codes and the spirit of the design, which the internationally renowned architect interprets each time in different shapes and sizes that are perfectly in keeping with his style, characterised by a constant search for contamination and new inspirations.

“When you enter architecture, you enter another world,” says Kengo Kuma. He certainly sees it as a world apart, a meeting ground between East and West, reality and poetry, craftsmanship and technology, recovering ancestral forms and placing them in contemporary contexts. Like the weaves that bring to mind the wooden textures (one of his favourite materials) typical of certain traditional  Japanese buildings and which are reproposed

in the CL0014 model, where empty and full spaces alternate, while the material defies lightness using the3D printing technique. This optical frame is part of the new Vava x Kengo Kuma optical collection, which also includes the CL012 model inspired by Cidori, an ancient Japanese wooden construction game for children, made up of sticks that can be assembled without screws. The same technique used by Kengo Kuma & Associates to build the spectacular GC Prostho Museum Research Center in Kasugai, Japan.

Kengo Kuma thus moves with ease from large to small architectures, transforming even the face into a landscape to be reinvented, into a space to be "inhabited", recovering precious handcrafted gestures to return them to simulacra. Because, as he himself states: "Clothes, eyewear and shoes, the items we put on, are the smallest form of architecture." It is also no coincidence that, in perfect harmony with Vava, the 3D printing production technique was chosen, which is definitely sustainable as it avoids unnecessary waste of material, as well as allowing enormous creative freedom.

Attention to "muda" (waste in Japanese) is in fact a recurring theme in Japanese production chains, a concept that has always been part of a conscious, responsible and therefore sustainable production culture. And to remain consistent with this line of thought, the Vava x Kengo Kuma glasses are made of Rilsan Invent by Archema, a completely natural polyamide powder made from castor oil, extracted from the seeds of the plant. Kengo Kuma's colour alphabet is also inspired by nature, with soft tones and names referring to Pantone colours: Caribou, Mellow Yellow, Spray and Aqua Haze. This is counterbalanced by Vava's bold, bright colours: Red, Green, Light Grey and Black. A meeting of two worlds that has resulted in a perfect synthesis.

“In this collaboration with Vava, our goal was to extract the essence of our architecture into eyewear,” says Kengo Kuma. And they have certainly succeeded...

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