Photos: MUJI, BEAMS, and architect Kengo Kuma land in Vancouver for Japan Unlayered exhibition

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      This morning (January 23), Westbank and Peterson hosted a media preview for its Japan Unlayered exhibit at the Fairmont Pacific Rim, which runs from this Friday (January 27) to February 28.

      Curated by renowned architect Kengo Kuma and Westbank—frequent collaborators who have partnered on various projects across Vancouver and Tokyo—the free showcase celebrates contemporary Japanese architecture, design, and culture by paying homage to the nation's philosophy of "layering", where overlapping ideas form the basis of an overall experience.

      It features a restrospective look at Kuma's nature-driven works, including museums, monuments, and performing-art halls,  and two special pop-up stores conducted by "no-brand" retailer MUJI, which recently announced plans to open permanent outposts in Vancouver, and leading "select shop" BEAMS.

      During the display, the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s RawBar will also be serving a limited number of bento boxes developed by chef Hiromitsu Nozaki, who heads Michelin-star restaurant Waketokuyama. Nozaki and tea master Shinya Sakurai of Tokyo's talked-about Sakurai Japanese Tea Experience will present a nine-course kaiseki—Japanese fine dining—dinner for an exclusive, reseveration-required event on the evening of February 8.

      Guests will also find tea-infused cocktails, sake, and Japanese whisky in the hotel’s Lobby Lounge throughout the showcase. A kimono display, washi paper art, and a 130-square-metre organza fabric roof have been installed in the lobby area, too. 

      "Westbank has evolved into a cultural practice and this exhibition offers a glimpse into a new and interesting part of our world," says Ian Gillespie, founder of Westbank, in an exhibition statement. "We hope you enjoy seeing some of what we are most passionate about at this moment, and that you experience some of the influences that are leading our practice in new and exciting directions."

      Curious to see what Japan Unlayered is all about? Scroll through the images below for an exclusive look at the exhibit before it officially opens to the public this Friday (January 27).

      A large sign welcomes guests to the Japan Unlayered exhibit, elements of which are spread across the ground and second levels of Vancouver's Fairmont Pacific Rim.
      Lucy Lau
      The entrance to the MUJI pop-up store is decorated with items that embody the brand. Some are available for purchase, while others serve as props.
      Lucy Lau
      Calming facial toners, cleansers, cotton dress shirts, and recycled-paper notebooks are just some products available at the MUJI pop-up.
      Lucy Lau
      MUJI's wall-mounted CD player remains one of the company's most popular items despite less and less people owning CDs.
      Lucy Lau
      Designed by Kengo Kuma, the pop-up's interior is decked out entirely in Canadian oak.
      Lucy Lau
      Writers with a preference for MUJI's smooth pens will be happy to see that there are plenty in stock.
      Lucy Lau
      Sadly, these cleaning items by MUJI only serve as props at the pop-up.
      Lucy Lau
      Chocolate marshmallows, Japanese plum candies, and yuzu-and-kinkan sweets sit alongside sleek school supplies.
      Lucy Lau
      MUJI's modern cuckoo clock demonstrates the company's ability to turn the antiquated into the appealing.
      Lucy Lau
      Visitors can explore architect Kengo Kuma's impressive resume in a showcase on the second floor.
      Lucy Lau
      Look up: A kimono display sits in the space above the Fairmont Pacific Rim's Lobby Lounge.
      Lucy Lau
      Model buildings showcase some of Kuma's most recognizable works.
      Lucy Lau
      A large artwork made from washi paper, a traditional, plant-based paper, adorns one wall on the ground floor.
      Lucy Lau
      Kuma's model buildings are constructed from a combination of wood, paper, and plastic.
      Lucy Lau
      Leading lifestyle and streetwear retailer BEAMS presents its BEAMS Japan pop-up inside the Fairmont Pacific Rim's giovane café + eatery + market.
      Lucy Lau
      The BEAMS Japan pop-up showcases some of country's finest and quirkiest works, including stainless-steel sake cups, geta sandals equipped with Birkenstock soles, and more.
      Lucy Lau
      Traditional Japanese lanterns offer a punch of colour at the BEAMS Japan pop-up.
      Lucy Lau
      Everyday items such as elastic bands, tea towels, keychains, and baskets are coated in eye-catching hues.
      Lucy Lau
      Although these Japanese-style boxes are made entirely from paper, they remain durable through years of use.
      Lucy Lau
      These prefecture mugs each boast a comical image that nods to the Japanese district it represents.
      Lucy Lau
      Pull-overs, T-shirts, and bags from BEAMS collaborations with labels such as PORTER and Tailor Tokyo should attract the streetstyle-savvy.
      Lucy Lau

      Japan Unlayered takes place at the Fairmont Pacific Rim (1038 Canada Place) from this Friday (January 27) to February 28. Admission to the exhibition is free.

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