“Ikebana expresses not only the beauty of flowers,” says the Sogetsu School's Eikou Sumura, who here demonstrates the revered Japanese art of flower arranging. “It also brings out the essential brilliance and vitality contained in every plant.” Tokyo's Sogetsu School is renowned for its contemporary outlook to ikebana, making strikingly balanced displays using branches, blossom, leaves and synthetic materials. To celebrate the inaugural issue of new magazine Modern Design Review, which launches this week during Salone Internationale del Mobile in Milan, director Matthew Donaldson traveled to the renowned institution to capture ikebana in action. The youngest school of its kind in Japan, Sogetsu has done much to open up this beautiful and under-explored discipline to the outside world. Its founding Iemoto [master] Sofu Teshigahara—dubbed the “Picasso of flowers” by Time magazine - was just 27 years old when he founded the school as means of creative expression, and the institution he started reflects his interdisciplinary attitude. The Kenzo Tange-built school features a beautiful stone garden from artist and designer Isamu Noguchi in its atrium, and continues to make evocative floral forms.
Images and video © Nowness