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Inside the Sumida Hokusai Museum, now open in Tokyo

Designed by architect Kazuyo Sejima, the museum celebrates the work of artist Katsushika Hokusai

The opening of the Sumida Hokusai Museum in Tokyo, Japan Photos by Vincent Hecht

Last November, a stunning museum designed by Kazuyo Sejima—half of the Pritzker Prize-winning firm SANAA—opened in Tokyo, Japan.

The Sumida Hokusai Museum was established to highlight the work of Katsushika Hokusai, a world-renowned ukiyo-e woodblock painter who was born in Japan in 1760 and spent most of his 90 years living in Tokyo’s Sumida ward. The other goal of the museum, according to Designboom, was to create a new cultural landmark for the city.

The five-story building, envisioned as a monolithic block, is broken up by angular cut-outs designed to bring light into the structure. The geometric forms of the facade reappear inside, with triangular walkways and apertures. The facade is a subtly reflective material with the idea that the building should adapt to its immediate context.

Bright, lofty exhibition spaces examine the relationship between Katsushika Hokusai and his life in Tokyo; the museum also conducts seminars, lectures and workshops that aim to highlight the artist’s work to a broad audience. Dramatic open staircases bring visitors from one exhibition space to the next, which in total hold a collection of over 1,800 works by the artist.

Via: Designboom