Visitors are flocking to Hiroko Koshino's former residence in Ashiya, Hyogo Prefecture, but they aren't coming to see her world-famous fashion designs.
Instead, the renowned fashion designer has turned the rugged concrete building, designed by famed architect Tadao Ando, into an art gallery, to house some 35 of her paintings. The “KH Gallery Ashiya” gallery is attracting visitors, who are interested in both art and architecture, from all over the country. The gallery is open to the public by appointment only through November.
The gallery stands tucked inside the hilly mountainside of Rokko Mountain, surrounded by a leafy forest. For the opening, Koshino revealed six new paintings done in rich bright colors, all inspired by Mexico. The paintings are based on her experience in Mexico, where she visited the bright and colorful buildings designed by the Mexican architect Luis Barragán (1902-1988).
“It feels as if I added a violent burst of color to this building that was created by Tadao Ando,” said Koshino, 76.
In addition to the paintings, there are other works that make use of different mediums such as textiles designed by Koshino. There is a huge piece, sumi ink on paper, which measures more than two meters. Visitors walking around the gallery can also see the kitchen area and the dining room that have been preserved the way they were when the house used to be Koshino’s residence.
Hiroko Koshino is the eldest of the famous “Koshino sisters” from Kishiwada, Osaka Prefecture. Hiroko, Junko and Michiko Koshino all became successful fashion designers. Hiroko Koshino’s house was built in 1981. Ever since, Koshino, who has always been a painter at heart, has been devoting her efforts to creating art and calligraphy “that suit this building.” She has been holding solo exhibitions of her paintings in Ashiya, Osaka and Paris.
When Koshino asked her old friend Ando to design her home, the famed architect asked, “Why would a designer want to live in the mountains?”
Koshino explained that, “It is important for me to live in a place where I can sense the changing of the four seasons, in order to create with a deep understanding of the Japanese culture.”
Koshino’s house atop the mountain became world famous as a private residence designed by Ando. About 200 architects would make the pilgrimage each year to view the building.
Koshino cultivated a keen interest in traditional Japanese arts such as Kabuki and bunraku from a very young age. She loved to paint pictures of the stage. Then, she studied illustration for fashion design--which influenced her style as an artist. In September 2012, Koshino opened the KH Gallery Ginza in Tokyo’s tony Ginza district. She then decided to turn her former home into a gallery to serve as a place to show her work in Ashiya, where there is a strong interest in arts and culture.
“Eventually, I want to use this space as a place where I can collaborate with other artists from around the world, and for activities to lend support to young artists,” Koshino said.
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The gallery is open by appointment only through November.
Opening hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., except for Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
There is no charge.
About 20 minutes by car from JR Ashiya Station or Hankyu Ashiya-gawa Station.
For more information, call KH Gallery Ginza at +81-(0)3-5159-6877.