Barbican Geometrics: How to Find Joy in Brutalist Aesthetic
‘Optimism is a journey with a determination to be happy.’ — MAMIMU
‘Barbican Geometrics’ is a study of shape and form around the area of Barbican, London. The Brutalist aesthetic is often seen as cold and sterile, but I have discovered the joy and optimistic side of this iconic piece of London urban architecture. Extracting a sense of order and progress from the regularity of windows, tiles, and steps, I would like to invite you into an optimistic view of the world during a time of uncertainty.
Joy in the Seemingly Mundane
I love discovering inspiration in everyday life, just like the 17th-century Japanese Kimono artisans found beauty in everyday life, from fish scales to turtle shells. The joy comes from taking the essence – shapes, colours and emotions – from the seemingly mundane and distilling them into minimalist design.
Optimism despite the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics 2020
In uncertain times like this, ‘Optimism’ can be more than a lofty, happy idea. Optimism is a choice: you can either dwell on your loss or find the inner strength to move on. With bold solid colours and shapes, I hope to show the world my optimism and resilience.
In fact, this project itself is a product of my determined optimism. Initially, this collaboration with CULT VISION, an eyewear boutique in the Barbican, was going to be something to mark the Tokyo Olympics 2020 in their shop window. Sadly, due to COVID-19, this global event itself was cancelled. Furthermore, the UK nationwide lockdown meant CULT VISION had to temporarily close the shop.
Planning Your Joy in the Darkest Time
Michelle Obama said it’s important to “plan your joy” even in the darkest time and find a way to move forward. This is the kind of optimism I chose. I continued the conversation with CULT VISION during lockdown and we both came to the agreement that we should create something forward-looking. This is how “Barbican Geometrics” was born and I think it’s perhaps better than my original idea.
As the Japanese saying goes 七転び八起き (Nana Korobi Ya Oki) “Fall down seven times, stand up eight”, I always choose to stand up because that’s often when the magic happens.