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A Field of Objects #Ryue Nishizawa #Sanaa #Toyo Ito


The Japanese architect Kazuyo Sejima, co-partner of the SANAA architecture studio with Ryue Nishizawa and awarded the Pritzker Prize in 2010, apprenticed between 1981 and 1987 to Toyo Ito, also awarded a Pritzker Prize. There, she took part in projects as the “Pao for the Tokyo Nomad Girl“.

Some years later, she partnered again with her former mentor, designing some furniture for the Sendai Mediatheque. It was the Flower Chair, a trefoil-shaped bench that allows different uses. According to Sejima, “one can seat on them casually, used as a big flat chair, or as a meeting chair to sit down face to face.” They were spread through the second floor according to principles of density and proximity towards the structural tubes that bear the Mediatheque. Thus they made a “field of objects” that allows several segregated uses within an open plan.


The architect imagined these benches, organised following the fluxes of the field, like “flowers that would spread in a 50x50 meter floor field.”

The design strategy of the “field of objects” also applies to architecture in other SANAA buildings. In the model of the Okurayama apartments we can see how the seemingly random disposition of the furniture, that is also the organisation of the use, generates a “field” around it that becomes the walls. In order to emphasise the contingency of the arrangement, the architects deliberately use mismatched furniture. The interior space of the apartments is the materialisation of this “field of objects” based on the furniture.