Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021 - 7

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Broke
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Millions of
Shared
Ideas in One

BY YOSHINORI TANOKURA

T

Infusing the Japanese concept
of harmony, wa, Mitsuru Ishii,
creates designs that blend
disparate aesthetics

he renowned Japanese designer, Mitsuru Ishii lives in a quiet residential
area of Tokyo with his family. In springtime, blossoming cherry trees with
soft shades of pink enfold the streets leading up to his house. The unassuming elegance of the house harmonizes peacefully with the cherry trees and
neighboring houses, embodying the Japanese concept of harmony or wa. In

similarly modest fashion, Ishii's design works have been presented at international design conferences, such as the Prague Quadrennial and World Stage Design. Compared
to that of his contemporaries, the uniqueness of Ishii's designs derives from international experiences that enable him to fuse Japanese and Western aesthetics, and his
extraordinary aesthetic merits close observation.
In Ishii's view, Western arts and design
often rely on the use of realism and intricate artistic embellishment. By contrast,
the Japanese aesthetic, as Ishii describes,
is historically more about long years of
training and discipline that enable an
artist to create mood, depth, energy, and
beauty-all with one brush stroke. For

this reason, Ishii believes, Japanese theatre design styles have been traditionally
symbolic and abstract, as the Noh stage
and sets for Kabuki and Bunraku exemplify. Over the past 40-plus years, Ishii
has been working in and outside of Japan
refining his unique aesthetic with wa at
the heart of his design.

Freed from Conformity

Ishii began his theatre career in the
1970s when by chance he became one
of the 10 assistant directors of a musical
version of Gone With The Wind. Under
the American director Joe Layton, the
four-hour epic titled Scarlett was first produced by an entertainment production
SPRING 2021 | THEATRE DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY

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Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021

Contents
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021 - Cover1
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021 - Cover2
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021 - 1
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021 - Contents
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021 - 3
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Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021 - Cover3
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021 - Cover4
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