Translated by Richard Perkins
Stay in Art! The Deeply Moving ‘Reversible Destiny Lofts MITAKA’
These are the ‘Reversible Destiny Lofts MITAKA - In Memory of Helen Keller’, colorful buildings that tower among the homes in the residential neighborhood of Mitaka in Tokyo, built through a project led by Shusaku Arakawa and Madeline Gins.
Written by Eri Okubo
The ‘Livable Art’ in Mitaka
What exactly are the Reversible Destiny Lofts MITAKA? This was a project undertaken by artist and architect Shusaku Arakawa and his partner Madeline Gins. It’s not just an art piece, but it’s an art piece that one can actually live in. A building that soars among others in this suburb of Tokyo, it has quite the presence in this neighborhood.
The colorful design and unique construction of each room are what sets this building apart. And just as Shusaku Arakawa and Madeline Gins said ‘this piece is not completed until people start living in it.’ It’s art that one can both stay in and live in. Believe it or not, there are rooms here set up on a short stay program, rooms in where tourists can spend the night in.
This time around, we visited the Mitaka Houses of Reverse Fate - the ‘building with no intention of dying' - and we had a look inside one of the rooms.
Who is Shusaku Arakawa?
Shusaku Arakawa is an artist and architect who has been active since the 1950’s. From a young age, he’s been thinking about ways in which he can help to save people’s lives. Having once had a goal of becoming a teacher, Shusaku Arakawa has been trying to save people’s lives through his art.
The Reversible Destiny Lofts are a piece built upon the idea of saving lives. They are an art piece that will make one feel deeply moved.
The Mitaka Houses of Reverse Fate is a building that Shusaku Arakawa completed with Madeline Gins, a poet who’s a part of both his public and private life. The unique design and construction of space that’s given off by this residence is one that makes the people who live here deeply moved. It’s apparently a building that can make one change the style of their life.
What kind of a residence is it?
What one will notice first about this residence are the wide variety of colors.
On the outside of this residence, there are 14 different colors that have been used. This building has been apparently built so that no matter where one looks at it one will be able to see over six different colors at once.
When one usually looks at an object, one will separate the object from the color. If one were looking at a red flower, the color red and the flower itself would be perceived separately, with the color being recognized as color. However, when looking at an object that has more than six colors upon it, the human eyes will neutralize the colors. The colors will be thus not recognized separately, but the object will be rather recognized as a whole.
When coming into contact with the colorful design that is the Reverse Fate residence, one won’t take in the separate colors. Rather, one will take it all in as a sensation that doesn’t normally exist in their daily lives.
Now let’s step inside this building.
Travelers can also Stay Here! The ‘Hint Coordination Room’
On the day we visited, we were able to have a look at the ‘Hint Coordination room’. This is a room on the second floor that is reserved for short-term visitors.
It’s a bit of an odd room, but it’s a room where one will be able to experience the undeniable fact that the way in which one lives and treats various items changes depending on the environment.
In the middle of this room, there is an open kitchen. Included is a rice cooker, a small kitchen stove, a knife and a cutting board. Everything that one could need is provided, so one can cook while staying there. With the sun that shines brightly through the windows and a circular kitchen, it seems like a rather fun place to have a house-party.
What will especially catch one’s eye is the yellow sphere. Speak inside this room and you’ll notice that there’s an echo. And because it’s a sphere, one is unable to stand upright inside of it. Kids will surely treat this area as a playground. However, I myself would want to use this as an area where I can enjoy reading books.
What this room will be used for will undoubtedly change from person to person. If you had the opportunity to stay in this room, what would you use the yellow sphere for?
There is a room with a round tatami mat (a traditional Japanese straw mat) inside of it. The suns rays shine brightly in this room and is quite beautiful. The colors used are rather calming, it’s an area ideal for making oneself at home and the ideal place to relax.
The storage space at the Reversible Destiny Lofts MITAKA is also quite unique. I’m sure one noticed the S-shaped hooks in the background of this photo. There are also fastenings attached to the ceilings from which one can hang these hooks from. There are what seem to be an infinite number of these fasteners that look as if they were part of the art, but are actually for the purposes of storage.
In this corner, there is a box in which there is a shower along with a toilet. The toilet is behind the box where the shower is, but there is no separate door for the toilet. The toilet is not an enclosed space, it’s quite an open area.
There are also a washing machine, hangers, and even laundry soap here. Those of you staying here long term won’t have any worries.
The floor here is uneven, and one will want to wander around in their bare feet. There are not just a few mountainlike areas, but there are also a number of inclines on the floors and ceiling.
Because there are a number of inclines on the floor, depending on where one stands, the size of objects and the way one looks at them will change. It’s a very odd environment, kids will be able to see things from an adults point of view, adults will be able to see things from a kids point of view.
There is a great deal of thought that has gone into both the design and construction of these rooms. The area where one stands, the way in which one lives, it’s quite stimulating and one will experience new sensations.
Let’s Utilize the Short Stay Program!
Altogether there are nine residences, two of which can be used for short-term stays. These rooms are the ‘Limits of Items that are Similar room’ and the ‘Hint Coordination room’.
"I’d like to spend the night in an art piece", "I’m a fan of both Shusaku Arakawa and Madeline Gins", "I’m looking for a place to stay when in Tokyo." Whatever the reason is it's fine, anyone can stay here! One can stay in one of these two rooms for at least 4 days.
Those who would like to stay in one of the available rooms, please check their availability on the internet. Once you know that there’s a vacancy, fill out the reservation form.
The ‘Limits of Items that are Similar room’ consists of two rooms along with a living room, a dining room, and a kitchen. Up to two people can stay there. Whether it be one or two people who stay there, it will most certainly be a fresh and stimulating stay.
The ‘Hint Coordination room’ consists of three rooms along with a living room, a dining room, and a kitchen. Up to four people can stay there. Whether it be with friends or family, one will without a doubt enjoy many unique experiences there.
By staying here one may notice a different side of themselves, a side that is more active and smiles more. By all means, come to the Reversible Destiny Lofts MITAKA and experience a ‘Reversed Fate’.