What did Tomas Maier, Creative Director of Bottega Veneta, with his profound love and knowledge of architecture, encounter on his trip to visit modern buildings in Tokyo and Kagawa?
5:00pm Nissay Theater
“It’s wonderful that the details from fifty years ago have been perfectly preserved.”
Tomas Maier arrived at Narita Airport in early October. After checking in at the Hotel Okura Tokyo, he immediately jumped in a car. His destination: the Nissay Theater in Hibiya. Tomas’ objective on this trip to Japan was to see the current state of Japanese modern architecture.
The Nissay Theater opened in 1963, with a design by Togo Murano. Tomas, who was making his first visit to the theater, walks first on the marble floor of the lobby. “The flooring material over there is different, isn’t it?” Tomas asks. The finish of the flooring changes from the office to the theater, to the entrance of the Nissay. In the office the floor is a mosaic design. The lights on the ceiling of the lobby are in various geometric patterns. The gently undulating stairs and railings are all from the time the building opened. Tomas is completely entranced by the elegant curves.
On entering the hall a cave-like space opens out. Round pearl oysters are like stars glittering on the ceiling. “Wonderful,” Tomas sighs. He sits in the seats, touches the walls and experiences the space.
This theater was the brainchild of Gen Hirose, the president of Nippon Life (also known as Nissay). Back then, a theater that aimed to be the best aroused suspicions, and Hirose was questioned about the theater in the Diet. His philosophy, however, was, “If you build a good container, good things will fill it. When you see something good your impressions will shape the rest of your life.” He didn’t retreat one step.
True to Hirose’s philosophy, the theater has become known as a venue for first-rate plays and operas in the midst of the city center.