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  • Catalogue Essay

    REQUIEM FOREST FOR THE DISASTER-STRICKEN AREAS

    The great earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident that struck the Tohoku region of Japan on March 11, 2011 caused damages that exceeded our imagination. Entire hometowns, family histories, and workplaces were washed away in an instant and countless irreplaceable lives were lost.

    Five months have passed from that day, but there are still many people who are missing from the disaster areas, and the work of removing the mounds of debris created by the tsunami has proven to be a strenuous task. While the provision of aid to those who continue to suffer of course must be the utmost priority, it is also now time for us to begin thinking about our next step on the road to recovery. For this, before anything else, we must raise the depressed spirit of the citizens and redirect them to look forward once again.

    As one way to achieve this, I propose to create “Requiem Forests” in the disaster areas. High grounds that can serve as safe evacuation areas will be planted with grasses, flowers, and trees, and maintained together by the community as “Requiem Forests”. The forests will also contribute to sustaining the memory of the earthquake for future generations.

    The mounds of debris will probably remain for yet a while. However, people cannot raise their hopes if the creation of new cities cannot begin until all of the debris has been removed. I thus propose to have the mounds sown with seeds of grasses and flowers and to grow tree seedlings upon them. Thesmall flowers will gain life even among the rubble. The tree saplings will be planted as appropriate in the various areas. I believe that the creation of such landscapes can give hope to the people. The trees will eventually mature and form forests connected to everyone’s heart.

    In the Sanriku district, which is among the disaster areas, there is a saying:“tsunami tendenko”. It tells of how when there is a tsunami, everyone should scramble to higher grounds caring only for their own safety, even if theyare separated from their family. Their predecessors put their lessons from experience into words and passed on their wisdom to later generations.Similarly, I think the menace of the recent tsunami can be transmitted to later generations through the “Requiem Forests”. The forests will take on the role of telling the experience of the disaster to the next generations in order to prevent the tragedy from happening again.

    The farming and fishing villages of the Tohoku region retain qualities of the idyllic Japanese landscape, and the model of the traditional family and regional society are still intact. The people of Japan are focused on the reconstruction of this region, which they see in parallel with their own futures. The sounds of construction from the recovery effort will surely provide hope and calm for the people, and become a source of renewed energy for the nation. Although it is a small step, it is my hope that the“Requiem Forests” can be become a foothold for this effort.

    Tadao Ando (architect), August 11, 2011

PROPERTY FROM THE VENINI ARCHIVES

49

Set of three vases

2011
Colored glass.
Each: 22 1/4 in. (56.5 cm.)
First artist’s proof. Produced by Venini, Italy. Each is the first artist’s proof from their respective editions of 30. Underside of each vase acid etchedwith “90/VENINI/2011/ANDO” and “venini 2011 – 1 / 9 P.d.A” and with manufacturer’s sticker with “90/1921/2011/VENINI.” Together with a certificate of authenticity from Venini (3).

Estimate
$40,000 - 50,000 

Sold for $80,500

Design Masters

13 December 2011
New York