Creating a different world: Takanori Aiba

I recently came across a piece of art I felt I had to own.  For the record, I don’t feel like I need to own an artwork often but Takanori Aiba  (相羽高徳)’s work is so magical and fascinating, I feel I can look at it for a very long time.  The details in Aiba’s works are so intricate, it is impossible to fully appreciate a single piece of artwork in one viewing.

Born in Yokohama, Japan, Aiba studied Japanese traditional textiles and dyed clothing at the Tokyo Zokei University.  He was a maze illustrator and eventually an art director for architectural spaces.  Ninja Akasaka, a popular Ninja-themed restaurant with its interiors decorated in Ninja style was one of his major projects. In 2003, he decided to combine his 30 years of experience as both a maze illustrator and an architect to create three-dimensional artworks.  In September 2010, he held his first solo exhibition Adventures of the Eyes at Kakiden Gallery, Tokyo Japan.

Aiba’s skill in drawing is fantastic and his collaboration with model-maker Kazuya Murakami is phenomenal.  The result is a series of handcrafted sculptures that can transport us to a different time, a different place and most importantly, a different space.  Like little snow globes, the sculptures grants you a peek into Aiba’s crazy and bizarre world but immediately sucks you in so that you are part of the story.

In Aiba’s words, “these works make use of an aerial perspective, which like the diagram for a maze shows the whole from above while including minute details.  If you explore any small part of my works, you find amazing stories and some unique characters.  The early bonsai-type models look like bonsai art.  Bonsai reflects the Japanese traditional aesthetic sense of expressing the magnificence of nature in a small potted plant.  However, the density of decoration and the rich stories of my works contain extraordinary times and spaces which differ from the bonsai world determined by plants physiology.”

Drawing for Hôtel de Michelin

Front and back view of the sculpture Hôtel de Michelin

Drawing for The Rock Island

Sculpture The Rock Island

Drawing for the Lighthouse B

Sculpture for the Lighthouse B

No doubt the sheer amount of details make the artwork creation process a long one; some sculptures take 12 to 18 months to create.  I bet the process is tedious but meditative at the same time, as with the process of viewing these works.

x Sybil

(Images from

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