Tradition x innovation: Pigment fine art lab Tokyo
Japanese company warehouse terrada (founded in 1950 as a designated warehouse of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Food) has opened an ‘art supply laboratory’ in Tokyo. A concept that seeks to connecting traditional manufacturers with emerging local artists. The store, named Pigment, was designed by Japanese architect kengo kuma. The interior is wrapped in an organic wave of thin bamboo and laser cut steel panels, forming a three dimensional surface within a frame of concrete.
Beneath the undulating ceiling, pigments are displayed along the interior walls, grouped according to their color. Arranging the more than 4000 colors perfectly took about three weeks. Large open spaces create a sense of unity with the outdoors and spark the imagination of those who enter.
At Pigment, traditional art techniques live into the future through an innovating platform.
Here, tradition merges with innovation, the store seeks to act as a catalyst, inspiring young artisans to take up traditional methods of production. Pigment provides expert advice on each of its products — a range that includes more than 4,000 different pigments, traditional ‘washi’ paper, and ‘sumi’ ink sticks. Workshops by art professors and supply manufacturers are held regularly, offering knowledge to a wide variety of users, including professional artists as well as students. The store aims to provide hard-to-find tools for the preservation of older paintings while also inspiring the latest generation of artists to incorporate these older materials into newer works. In addition to selling brushes, pigments, special glues, and papers, some used in Japanese painting since the Meiji period, this concept safeguards tradition by getting it out of the museum, and back into the lives of contemporary people. A great feat.