Naoshima: A Paradise For Architects [3/3]
This post is the continuation of previously Naoshima: A Paradise of Architects [2/3].
6. Bennese House Museum
Bennese House is both a museum and a hotel, also designed by Tadao Ando, that was composed into several different buildings scattered around the location. After visiting Chichu Art Museum, Bennese House seemed like a normal art gallery for me. There were plenty of artworks to see. In addition, the place offered a stunning view to surrounding area.
Firstly, we strolled up a hill from the bus stop to the reception of the museum. After we bought the ticket, we were greeted with a cylindrical open two-stories room with further galleries radiating outward. The wing containing the hotel, the gallery and terrace all faced the coast, allowing people to see the ocean view and dazzling sunsets. In fact, the museum’s artworks could be found not just within its galleries, but in all parts of the building, as well as in scattered locations along the coastline that borders the complex and in nearby forest.
My favorite was the installation of “The Secret of The Sky” by Kan Yasuda. It was an outdoor installation with two smooth large white marble with high walls and open roof. The soft curve of the marbles looked so inviting to sit or lay down. Once I touched the marbles, the coldness gave me chills in the beginning, but once adjusted, it was very comfortable to lie down to watch the framed sky with clouds floating and birds flying.
7. Lunch at Aisunao
We had a very late lunch at the time due to the packed schedule in Bennesse Art Site. By the time we reached Aisunao, it was about 13.35 pm. It was a very nice cafe which was situated in a renovated old village house. I felt as if I had been transported through time to ancient Japan.
Aisunao only had one menu which was a healthy set of meal including organic brown rice, miso soup, vegetable dishes, tofu and tofu. Hence, it was a perfect dish for vegetarian. The dishes came very colorful and beautifully. However, I found them hard to eat because of how plain they were. They were prepared very minimally with little seasoning for us to savor the natural taste of each ingredients. My taste bud might have gotten used with strong flavors, so I found them too bland to my liking.
8. Ando Museum
We took a short stroll from the restaurant to the next destination through a quiet residential area which had been infiltrated by the threads artworks throughout the island. I could found them hidden on tiny side streets. It was fascinating to see art mixing seamlessly with the every day life in the local neighborhood area.
After taking turns here and there, we reached Ando Museum. The museum was situated in a restored old Japanese house. Ando Museum was established by Tadao Ando himself. Thanks for the success that could be attributed to the involvement of Tadao Ando, the barren Naoshima Island now had became a world-class center for contemporary art. In fact, Naoshima sometimes was referred to as Ando Island, since the architect had many projects on the island. Everything was started from Bennese House Museum, Minamidera, Chichu Art Museum, Lee Ufan Museum, and lastly the Ando Museum.
When I got inside the museum, I was surprised to see the inner space was framed by exposed concrete walls. The interior was totally the opposite I expected from the status of the old vibe exterior. The building obviously incorporated the Ando’s trademarks, for instance the concrete material usage, skylight placement, as well as floor levels management.
The museum provided the perfect setting to learn about Ando’s architectural practice not only in Naoshima, but also across the world. It provided the models, photographs, and sketches for the projects that Ando had tackled. Ando Museum was definitely a must visit to get deeper understanding the development of the island and Ando’s works.
By the time we had finished with exploring the Ando Museum, we took a shuttle bus back to the Naoshima Ferry Terminal. We had some time before boarding the high speed boat, so we visited the gift shop for some local souvenirs.
It was hard to say good bye to this amazing tiny island. My trip to Naoshima is one that I will never forget. There are so many things to explore and a day is not enough to visit architecture and artworks in Naoshima. I would love to come back here to visit the rest and neighboring islands in the Seto Island Sea.That is all I have to share on Naoshima. If you are considering to visit Naoshima, please read also my story in Teshima: The Island of Arts, the nearby sister island of Naoshima.