Kayuzo Sejima, a Pritzker Prize laureate and first female director of the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2010, is now designing a Limited Express train for Japan.
The Seibu Group, Japan, is famous for its “Red Arrow” series, known for brightly colored traditional designs that are noticeable and splashy.
Hence this time, for the company’s 100th anniversary, they decided to do something different.
Seibu commissioned the ‘Closet Starchitect’ Kayuzo Sejima, to craft a fresh design that unveils the digital age, harbouring hopes of the future.
And Sejima did exactly that.
She conjured a blithe, semi-transparent design that allows the train to merge with the surroundings. The aluminium reflective sheath used is undeniably light and easy on the eyes.
The aim was to let the swift train blend into its landscape while on the move.
Expected to complete in 2018, Architect Kazuyo Sejima has not only proposed mirrored surfaces, but is also designing the interiors of the luxury train. The objective is to make travellers feel like they are in their living room, cosy and relaxed.
Innumerable architects have designed train stations before, but this is the first time an architect only has been commissioned to design a train.
Sejima claims that this has “never been seen before now.”
We’re noting this as a huge development on the architectural frontier, and a big win for Kayuzo Sejima herself.
After graduating from the Japan’s Women’s University, she went on to work for the Japanese legend Toyo Ito.
1987 – Kazuyo set up her own firm
1992 – Titled as Japan’s youngest Architect of the Year.
1995 – She founded SANAA with her former colleague, Ryue Nishizawa
When she was speculated upon for the position of director as she didn’t have the qualifications of a writer or critic, she often has said, “Being an architect. I am just interested in making architecture.”
SANAA is the proud creator of poetic, lustrous buildings throughout Japan and around the world.
Florian Idenburg, a Dutch architect who worked in SANAA for eight years, touched upon her “incredible taste and incredible kindness”. Sejima’s goal is to percolate nature through the pores of architecture and absorb the wholesome human experience.
For Kazuyo Sejima, her office is home and family.
“Somebody once requested to film her at home,” recalls Florian Idenburg.
“And she just directed them straight to the office.”
“The staff of 30 work until two or three in the morning and at weekends. Everyone wears black and are habitual chain-smokers. You either get thin or fat.”
Her unusual design of the National Gallery of Hungary, gorgeous mirrored Serpentine Gallery , Rolex Learning Centre and the delicate New Museum in New York are only some of the masterpieces she has executed.
Kazuyo Sejima is a beautiful woman. A scintillating architect. Confident of what she wants, she has eliminated the paths too trodden. Her focus on lithe aesthetics is loved and despised, her dreamy creations are the stuff of indigenous materials sprinkled with pixie dust.
Opposed to the notion of speed, Sejima chimes “I’m not such an efficient person. I just continue thinking. Time is important.”
This is the era of slow architecture and fast trains.
But is making a high-speed train more difficult to see a good idea?