Established in Tokyo in 1992 by Yoshiharu Tsukmoto and Momoyo Kaijima, Atelier Bow-wow's work includes buildings, research and art practice. Starting by documenting the unique urban reality of Tokyo, Atelier Bow-wow produced a number of publications that took the form of guidebooks, introducing the reader to the accidental, ad-hoc nature of the urban landscape. Pet Architecture documented tiny buildings that fill the cracks of the city and are always customised by the user, whilst Made in Tokyo showed instances of hybrid, cross programmed building types with unlikely juxtapositions, the result of the extreme pressure on land. Atelier Bow-wow's approach to architecture is informed by this research and what they have termed 'micro public space', in which they attempt to recreate some of the behaviours and meetings that occur in the city in gallery installations and in their buildings. They do this through the deployment of customised urban furniture that encourages active user participation, such as their 'Furnicycle' designed for the 2002 Shanghai Biennale or the design of public kitchens and vegetable kiosks. In both their exhibition design and the design of buildings, Atelier Bow-wow construct situations rather than objects, design processes that can result in chance meetings and leaving room for users to adapt and appropriate space.
Atelier Bow-wow, Bow Wow From Post City Bubble (Tokyo: Inax, 2006).
Momoyo Kaijima, Junzo Momoyo and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, Made in Tokyo (Tokyo: Kajima Institute, 2001).
Momoyo Kaijima, Jeffrey Inaba and Benedict Clouette, 'Micro-scales and macro ambitions: Momoyo Kaijima interviewed', Volume, (2007) 34-37.
Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tsukamoto Architectural Lab and Atelier Bow-Wow, Pet Architecture Guide Book (Tokyo: World Photo Press, 2001).
Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, 'Atelier Bow-Wow: Tokyo Anatomy [Interview]', Archinect, 2007, http://archinect.com/features/article.php?id=56468_0_23_24_M [accessed 20 January 2010]
Wan Atorie, Graphic Anatomy: Atelier Bow-Wow (Tokyo: TOTO Shuppan, 2007).
Irene Cheng, 'Houses of mirth: Atelier Bow-Wow's ironies', Harvard Design Magazine, (2008) 53-64.
"The quality of public space is up to the peoples'
participation. If all the participants are just a customer it is
not a real public space. For example, in a shopping mall there are
many people gathering and talking. It looks like public space, but
they are just customers. They are all guests. They don't have any
responsibilities to maintain the space. I think that just being in
a gathering space is different from participating in the shared
space with someone. We have our own programs of what public space
is within our body. In the projects on micro public space
we try to turn on this program by which individuals can participate
in certain contexts. This might be around furniture or a mobile
structure which we have produced. So micro means small,
but at the same time individual. The smallest public space
might be a public space for just one person."
- Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, Archinect, 2007, http://archinect.com/features/article.php?id=56468_0_23_24_M
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