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WOTH Wonderful Things

Iwan Baan’s Nippon diary

By 31-03-2018

By visiting Japan at least six times a year, architecture photographer Iwan Baan has sharpened his visual wit. Baan has documented the most important Japanese modern architecture for publications like The New York TimesDomusAbitare and Architectural Digest. From his extensive travelogue, which covers 45 projects built by 13 Japanese architects since the 1950s, we handpicked a selection of some of the greatest monuments of modern architecture.
When he started as a young photographer in the mid-1990s, Iwan Baan was struck by the visual contradictions that meet the eye of a Westerner visiting Japan for the first time. ‘It’s a great, intense country to visit. The Japanese manage to uphold a deep-rooted sense of tradition in juxtaposition to an equally everlasting drive to keep renewing things all the time. That can be confusing at first. But it is never boring.’ Visiting Japan at least six times a year has sharpened the visual wit of Iwan Baan as an architecture photographer. In addition to a keen eye for detail and the object itself, he manages to capture the things that are typically Japanese. It obviously takes a specific creativity to build smart homes in densely populated megacities like Tokyo. On the other hand, over two thirds of Japan is covered by forested mountains and hills. Respect for nature has fostered a tradition of site-specific architecture, dating back centuries and exemplifying the relationship between building and the serenity of the countryside.

Read the full article in WOTH issue No8 In stores Now, or order online via

WOTH issue No8 is all about Japan!
Far away yet intriguingly familiar. WOTH n08 embraces the fruitful crossovers between Dutch designers and craftsmen in Arita, brandstores in Tokyo, hotels and museums around Japan. Featuring interviews with Richard Hutten, Stefan Scholten of Scholten Baijings and Sayaka Yamomoto of BCXSY + a 10 page graphic powerportfolio by Sigrid Calon, designer known from the SuperGeometric interior of the Uniqlo flagship store in New York. The extensive photo-journal of Iwan Baan delivers two lengthy travelreports discovering the serene beauty of Japan, it’s landscape and architecture by Sui Fujimoto, Toyo Ito and SANAA. Clean lines always need stark contrasts; we think. So delve into the patterns and colors of the Paris apartment of illustrator Pierre Marie Agin or the Prenzlauer haus of the Kubishik family (Berlin). Our WOTHSON calendar selects the most exiting exhibitions on design, craft, multimedia and arts currently showing in museums around the world. If it’s content that really makes you tick (cleverly written, enticingly crafted and well printed): start considering WOTH Wonderful Things Magazine seriously. WOW

Photos: Iwan Baan 
Text: Toon Lauwen