“Bringing light to life. A creator of verdant ecosystems.”−Takaaki Murase(Planter)
“Pursuing a new form of coexistence in which life revolves.”
— In addition to using practical products, you have created highly artistic pieces using turntables and old computers. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
For me, they are like plastic model kits. It is an extension of how I, as a child, used to combine various objects to make the outcome look appealing. For example, in terms of ikebana, the Sogetsu style has a free avant-garde style. In extreme cases, there are pieces that do not make use of flowers. Nowadays, I highly value the notion of basics and foundations, but the root of my creative process involves reinterpreting existing ideas with a new perspective. Whether the media I choose to fuse with plants are spaces, furniture, or electrical equipment, I am consistently in pursuit of discovering new possibilities.
— Did you have any standards when you established your style?
Though it is an intuitive preference, I do have a standard for beauty. For example, in landscape gardening, there is a standard style where stones are positioned based on the golden ratio. However, I purposely try to imagine what kind of universe I can discover by altering these standards. For instance, in the art of bonsai, unnatural branches called imieda are generally trimmed, but I would imagine that a new mode of appreciation could be established if all branches other than the imieda are trimmed instead.
And ultimately, inspiration lies in nature itself. For example, in creating my “Space Colony” series, I would observe natural landscapes, imagining things like how plants grow in soil, what kind of soil would be optimal for moss, as well as how stones ended up lingering in their positions, and collect these ideas as if they were pieces of a puzzle. To understand and follow the basics faithfully yet sway away from the conventional. I continue to create my works while doubting all phenomena I encounter.
— Are there things other than plants you have created with or were inspired by?
I’d say DJing. I was amazed at the sound and atmosphere of this DJ event I went to when I was in high school. I was totally unaware of such a cool culture. Ever since, I bought my own turntable and even started performing myself.
I had the chance to see DJ KRUSH, one of the leading DJs of Japan, perform up close while I was studying abroad in Australia. I still remember to this day how impressed I was when I witnessed how he would play. For example, his DJing style reminded me of the rhythmic intervals which are like the movements involved in ikebana and when making tea at tea ceremonies. I grew an admiration for his sense of rhythm which is unique to the Japanese people as well as his traditional style fused with new expressions. In that sense, I’d say my experiences overseas can be considered one of my turning points in life. Living abroad allowed me to re-appreciate the essence of being a Japanese national.
— So, you’ve re-discovered the Japanese identity through culture.
Though my work blends well in spaces such as modern Japanese-style rooms and tea rooms, I believe they adapt well in gorgeous spaces such as European-style tea rooms. I guess you can say I am in a pursuit of a new interpretation of Japanese aesthetics through different outputs. Therefore, I have resumed collecting knowledge on the foundational style. I am fascinated by traditions that have continued unbroken to this day. In our diversity-rich age, while there are creators that proactively incorporate the latest technologies in their work, there are also creators that reinforce their creations by revisiting the source principles of various cultures. I’ve come to realize that traditions continue to evolve through these varying efforts.
— Since you’ve mentioned tea rooms, may we ask what features of tea you find attractive?
I find tea ceremonies very interesting. I consider all the features of the ceremonies, including its participants, the garden and tea rooms they are held in, and preparation process, as an installation. I believe that new features can be discovered by investigating the flow of the participants and the space as well as the mannerisms of communication. With that in mind, I often imagine what kind of work I can create to accompany these ceremonies.
I tend to imagine what kind of reaction I can cause by considering these ceremonies as installations. Maybe the idea is similar to that of DJing. For example, DJs would have to determine where the peak of their performance would be, if they would play unexpected tracks, or if they would continue to play flat and chill tracks for their 1-hour set. In a similar fashion, when hosting tea ceremonies, you must observe your guests and provide them with something that would impress them. You must think of what kind of conversations you could offer to liven up the session. It would also be nice to share a flat and relaxed session with your guests. Overall, it is required that the hosts well-observe the atmosphere and rhythm within the tea room, and must bring everyone, including themselves, together to form a sense of unity. In this way, tea ceremonies are definitely profound.
— So, your interest spans from bonsai, DJing, to tea ceremonies. Lastly, please tell us of any new expressions you are in pursuit of as well as your plans for the future.
First of all, I would like to make the plant scene a more familiar thing within our lives. I am mainly a planter but there are many practitioners of Japanese flower arrangement, flower artists, flower designers, gardeners, and bonsai artists in the field as well. I want to enhance the expressiveness within this scene by collaborating with various creators in different domains. I believe creating work by fusing practices over various genre boundaries will bring about new ways people can coexist with plants. For example, you can create a table with a garden installed in its center or even develop a plant based IoT by applying sustainable devices to plants within a space. You can also cross over into the art realm and create an enormous installation. I have many wild ideas. I would also like to try performing with musicians. Anyhow, I look forward to continuing my quest to discover a contemporary cycle of life through my interaction with plants.
Grew up admiring his grandfather’s bonsai during his childhood, creating his own aquariums during his teens, and collecting rare species of plants during his youth. Self-taught as a planter, he began his activities as “Re:planter” in 2012. Based on his Re:cycle x Plants concept, he continues to create living works that revolve while exploring the laws of nature while residing in Kyoto.
With the mission of "Respect and Go Beyond," the company is developing an art production business that raises the spirituality and aesthetics of the tea ceremony by "reinterpreting" the comprehensive Japanese art of "chanoyu" by crossing it with various domains such as technology and street culture.