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New Zen
The Tea-ceremony Room in Modern Japanese Architecture
by Michael Freeman


230 x 250 mm

240 pages 

250 colour illustrations 

Approx. 20,000 words





October 2007


ISBN 978-0-9554322-0-0


Rights sold: US, Italy, Spain


"You can almost smell the clean scent of fresh tatami and sandalwood coming off the pages. A gem of a book for anyone interested in modern Japanese architecture and in Japanese cultural history."

The Times, December 2007

New Zen is unique — a collection of the most modern Japanese chashitsu (tea-ceremony rooms). The tea ceremony was established in Japan in the fifteenth century when it became an essential part of culture for the Japanese elite, and in particular for the samurai. Traditionally chashitsu are made up of certain elements — an entrance for the host (sadouguchi), an entrance for the guests (nijiriguchi), tatami mats for the floor, a sunken hearth (ro) for heating the tea, and an alcove (tokonoma) with a flower and painted scroll — they never contain furniture and are used for contemplation. 


Since the 1990s Japanese architects and designers have been reinterpreting the chashitsu, creating modern meditative spaces. Their efforts represent some of the most interesting and innovative contemporary interior design and architecture in the world, featuring a vast array of materials, including paper, wood, plastic, stone, aluminium, glass, and concrete.


A fascinating introduction explains the history of the tea ceremony, the function of the various elements of the tea-ceremony room, and the ritual of the ceremony itself. There is also a useful glossary and plan. Next comes a look at recent architectural projects that interpret the tea-ceremony room in vastly different ways, from a treehouse in the countryside in Nagano to a portable example in metal. The work features thirty-seven projects by a range of well-known Japanese architects and designers, including Kengo Kuma, Kisho Kurokawa, Terunobu Fujimori, Takashi Sugimoto, and Shigeru Uchida. 


Michael Freeman is a London-based international photographer who specialises in travel, architecture, and Asian art. His previous works include The Modern Japanese Garden (Mitchell Beazley), Japan Modern (Mitchell Beazley), Savouring India (Time Life Books), Oriental Style (Thames & Hudson), The Spirit of Asia: Journeys to the Sacred Places of the East (Thames & Hudson) and The Source - Inspirational ideas for the home also by 8 Books.

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