March 14 until April 19, 2003
Klein Dytham architecture (KDa) is Mark Dytham and Astrid Klein. Having studied architecture at The Royal College of Art in London, Dytham and Klein left for a three-month tour of Japan. They found there were way too many new wild weird and wonderful things to see, so they stayed on, vowing to go home after they had seen it all. Ten years later they are still in Japan, which says everything about how fascinating they find the country. After working for Toyo Ito for two years, Astrid and Mark established Klein Dytham architecture in Tokyo in 1991. Taking the best from east and west, KDa aims to fuse different cultures effortlessly. The practice has no recipes, working with the client, program and all the other project parameters to develop a unique but above all an appropriate solution which is fun and a pleasure to experience. Materials, colour, humour, and technology are all key elements of the work of KDa. Being based in Tokyo, with the Japanese thirst for newness ever present, their work is always fresh and challenging. KDa continuously searches for new approaches which embody the moment; it is not afraid of now.
One of KDa’s most well-known architectural projects is the Under Cover Lab, a design studio annexe shop for one of Japan’s leading fashion designers, Jun Takahashi. The building, resembling a suspended shipping container with a length of 20 metres, is tucked away in one of the back streets of Harajuku. For Laforet (the Mecca for young fashion), Kda designed Laforet Rin-Rin, a row of stainless steel ‘trees’. Pika Pika Pretzel, a number of six-metre-high silver balloons, was designed as a temporary eye-catcher and hoarding for a building to be erected at the site. KDa also developed a private garage to house the client’s Ferrari, Maseratti and Alfa Romeo. Among the KDa designs are the interiors for the Tokyo office of Virgin Atlantic, the advertising agency BHH, the British Embassy and night club Code. The Kune Kune Bench and the Chu Coo Chair are the most eye-catching pieces of furniture by KDa.
KDa runs an office in Deluxe,a former taxi garage, but has recently expanded in Superdeluxe, a ‘project room’ in which KDa organises concerts, dance events and parties. Deluxe also accommodates designers such as Spinoff (interiors) and Yakkyoku (computer graphics), but is also the home of DJ Quietstorm and the art director of Tokyo Brewing Company.
Nomadic office and exhibition simultaneously
For the duration of the exhibition, KDa is setting up a temporary business in MU. During opening hours, co-workers of the KDa Tokyo office will perform their work in Mu at a so-called kotatsu table, which during the winter period is used in traditional Japanese houses and restaurants. This low table contains a heating element. Sitting on the floor, one drapes a blanket over the table and the lower part of the body, effectively trapping the warmth produced by the heater to keep toes, legs and abdomen warm. In Japanese homes, the kotatsu table is the most frequently piece of furniture, as it is considered the emotional centre of the home with family and friends gathering around its welcoming warmth. The connection between the offices and kotatsu tables in Tokyo and Eindhoven is realised by means of a projector and a
webcam hanging over the tables. A drawing put down on a table in Tokyo is projected on the table in MU, and the other way round. KDa workers are designing and drawing on the projected images and can in this way co-operate in ‘real time’. They will apply themselves to both current and new projects.
The exhibition will also present an outline of a number of projects realised by KDa. A continuous flow of new plans and designs from the KDa office will be mailed to MU and added to the exhibition. Obviously, the name ‘Deluxe Connection’ refers to the temporary connection between the KDa offices.