An Architect’s Paradise: The Hidden Treasures of Tadao Ando’s Art Island

Is there a place like heaven on earth? Well, if you are enamored by modern architecture, minimalist art and the most beautifully finished slabs of concrete on the planet, then there might just be — and its name is Naoshima, off the coast of Honshu, Japan. This tiny isle — known as Art Island to many — is a hidden gem of epic proportions, located some way from the well-trodden tourist trail between Hiroshima and Osaka on the south coast of Japan’s mainland. It is the result of a long-running collaboration between the rich and politically influential Benesse Corporation, local councils, a number of extraordinary artists and the unrivaled, all-conquering King of Concrete himself — Tadao Ando. Image via Upon disembarking the boat at Miyanoura Port on the western edge of the island, one is greeted immediately by cutting-edge, big-name Japanese architecture: SANAA designed the crisp, super-minimal Marine Station and visitor center, and its uncompromising simplicity is a sign of things to come. Naoshima’s unique brand of quirkiness is also apparent from the outset — a curvaceous, poker-dotted pumpkin sits at the end of the quay, the first in a series of joyful outdoor sculptures ...
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