When you care enough…
It was a rainy day; otherwise I would not have learned this lesson. We arrived at the Miho museum sitting atop a mountain. It was designed by I.M. Pei, by request of a wealthy patron of the arts. In 2008, I was traveling in Japan with a group of textile artists. As we approached the visitors’ center, from which everyone had to walk through a long stainless tubular tunnel to the Miho, a gracious Japanese requested we trade in our personal umbrellas for those in the container. Odd, I thought. He assured us ours would be waiting for us upon our return. It was not until I started snapping photos that I understood.
The Japanese try to offer every assurance of harmony in beauty and design.
From sidewalk design, to manhole covers – discreet for each service and different for each town – to the uniformity the colored umbrellas offered to the visual scape as we approached the museum, the smallest details are not left to chance. I checked: yes, the umbrella color is changed per season.
We, as individualists in America, may find this request for uniformity off-putting. But I dare say that being surrounded with beauty on a daily basis has a calming affect. As well, it fosters the notion that beauty and design are important attributes of our humanity.
What do you think? I welcome your input.