Takeji Iwamiya
Bisōjutsu shuppansha, Tokyo, 1962, Japanese
Nonfiction, Product/Industrial Design

Takeji Iwamiya (1920-1989) was one of Japan’s foremost photographers and a professor at Osaka University of Arts. His many published books and exhibitions explored subjects including gardens, images of the Buddha, and traditional Japanese motifs. Untranslatable, the word katachi signifies the essence of Japanese design, the form, symmetry, and workmanship of traditional craft. Embodying the marriage of beauty and functionality that is the key to the Japanese aesthetic, the objects presented in Katachi are made of materials that have played an important role in Japanese life for centuries: wood, bamboo, stone, fiber, metal, earth. The photographs, in black-and-white and color, showcase pieces ranging from exquisite geometric stone carvings and architecturally elegant shoji screens to such humble yet perfectly conceived objects as combs, sandals, rakes, and teapots. Twenty years in the making, photographer Takeji Iwamiya’s masterwork is a lovingly rendered tribute to these objects and the culture they sprang from. Japanese concepts of shape and form have been a major influence on contemporary design throughout the world, and this eloquent collection will appeal to designers as much as to connoisseurs of Japanese art and culture.

On 1 book list
Ronan Bouroullec

Three years ago, I was invited to meet some extraordinary craftsman in Japan. Just before coming back I discovered an antiquarian bookstore from which I bought 20 kilos (about 44 pounds) of books (the maximum weight I was allowed to carry back on the airplane). This book is the most interesting one out of that group. It is part of a two-volume series that covers a repertoire of old Japanese objects—from door handles to canoes to guitars to shoes.

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