Ogijima, Seto Inland Sea, Japan

Commissioned by: The City of Takamatsu    
Supported by: Setouchi International Art Festival 2010
Curator: Fram Kitagawa
Project development: Plensa Studio Barcelona
Associate architect: Tadashi Saito(VAKA)
Coordination: Etsuko Kodaira (Art Front Gallery)

Ogijima’s Soul was designed by Jaume Plensa in 2009.

The concept of the project is mainly to create not just an interchange building but also a gathering place. A place in where Ogijima’s community is welcoming visitors and guests.
The translucent space of the house allows people to see permanently the landscape of the island, the beauty of the little town on the hill and the inland sea that opens in front of the harbor.
The house is covered and protected by a roof made out with different alphabets.
Like a poetical cloud, the roof will project shadows of these alphabets to the ground during the day and to the sky in the evening.
The letters composing the roof are random. They are just simple letters, no words, and they aim to represent the different cultures composing our world, using the following alphabets: Japanese, Hebrew, Arabic, Latin, Chinese, Greek, Russian and Hindi.
An alphabet is probably the most precise expression of one culture. It is the product that results after centuries of traditions, developing and transformations.
Alphabets are the self-portraits of cultures and the best example of world’s diversity.
The project is homage to Ogijima's people. The shape of the project is inspired by the shape of shellfish that is always building its own house around its own body.
This project recalls the big effort that island communities have been doing during ages to create and protect their own culture.
Homage to the sea as a bridge connecting cultures.