Taishi Nobukuni

by Brian Paschke on July 4, 2012

This month I had the pleasure to speak briefly with the Japanese fashion designer Taishi Nobukuni about his involvement in designing the brilliant staff uniforms for the Chichu Art Museum (地中美術館) located on Naoshima Island.

BP: How did the collaboration with Naoshima Fukutake Art Museum Foundation come about and had you visited the Tadao Ando building before designing the uniforms?
TN: My friend, the stylist, ATUSHI OKUBO introduced me to them. I visited after the uniforms were designed.

BP: In the Chichu handbook, you speak of attire that surpasses trends and could remain relevant for a 1000 years. This is a concept in design I find fascinating. With your uniforms there is a strong feeling of both the future and the present simultaneously in a very natural way. Can you elaborate on this?
TN: Rather than just the concept of time I also thought about gender. I designed the uniforms to be both genderless and timeless.

BP: When I first saw the uniforms during my visit to the gallery, I immediately thought of Dr. No and the world of James Bond. Are you influenced by pop culture?
TN: Yeah, I strongly felt this about the location. It is rare to be on an island owned (almost) by one person – Mr.Fukutake – whose hobby is flying over the island and ocean on tiny air plane. I think the next 007 film should be made on Naoshima using a Toyota Prius kitted with gadgets and the actress should be someone like Rinko Kikuchi.

BP: She was fantastic in Babel. When you propose an all white uniform, you seem to be dressing the staff in the same manner a space would traditionally be designed for a gallery. That is to say light, calm and neutral. Can you tell us more about your choice of colour and materials for this project?
TN: Yes, the ‘whiteness’ of the marble floor in the Monet room inspired me as well. That is what this museum is about.

BP: You also spoke of the uniform design having a sense of ‘nowhere’. In other words, not tied to a specific time or location. I like this idea, but at the same time I think it’s also the perfect garment for this location. I cannot imagine anything but this solution … as if it was inevitable!  Do you still feel this way?
TN: I still feel the same way. Art should also apply to this idea … border-less and nation-less.

BP: What current projects are you working on?
TN: I am deeply involved with bespoke tailoring and enjoy cutting fabric for each client. I might open another wine salon somewhere else in Japan. I am designing not just the space, but also the whole experience like choosing the salt, the menu and the wine selection.

Taishi Nobukuni was born in Kumamoto and raised in Fukuoka, Taishi has also lived and worked in Los Angeles, London and Paris where he was a designer for John Galliano. He started the brand Taishi Nobukuni in 1997 and became the creative director of TAKEO KIKUCHI in’03. Taishi has also opened a bespoke tailoring salon, The Craftivism, in Ginza Japan.

Brian Paschke is currently a Senior Industrial Designer for BlackBerry. A graduate of the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Brian began as a studio assistant for Artist Douglas Coupland before moving to the Kyocera Industrial Design team in Southern California to focus on consumer electronics.

Images courtesy of the Naoshima Fukutake Art Museum Foundation
Chichu Art Museum



Strangely, the Chichu Art Museum is the only place I haven’t visited on Naoshima (well, I should also mentioned the James Bond museum as the character is mentioned in this article).
I’m not too sure what to think of these uniforms from the pictures. I guess I’ll have to see for myself.

by David @ Ogijima on July 7, 2012 at 10:32 am. Reply #

“Art should also apply to this idea … border-less and nation-less.” There are many good quotes in this short interview and it made me think.

Thanks for that.

by Paul Anthony Webb on July 8, 2012 at 2:07 pm. Reply #

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