Brainstorm Design 2019: Tokyo's Urban Renewal Project
Mori’s Midori Omori and OMA’s Shohei Shigematsu join Fortune’s Brainstorm Design Conference.
so our discussion today will be about designer and client relationships and collaboration. Onda, We will start with presentations by both. Show A on Midori and show. Hey, you are first. I will stand Okay. Okay. Good afternoon. I'm an architect presenting in front of a client which is of course, quite I'm quite nervous because your typical lectures I can say whatever I want about my project. But now there's a client next door. So I would like dark from I'm running an office in New York doing about 20 projects. But I would like to start from my hypothesis which makes you will be new generic. How Mixed use project will start to occupy the the world. This is a city of Tokyo. What you see big enough to have different colors. We present it representing different areas in the city. If you compare this to dinner table, for example Ala carte style you can share different ingredients different dishes that have a different conversation. But now there are so many big commercial developments that shares a similar ingredients. Similar program set up. Of course Morey had started, but now there are followers. What? That what we call that is a bento box development, which is a little bit more different from the other cart style. Because, of course, what used to be very enjoyable and very diverse in the city as an experience. Now it's a bit more predictable, like mental books. So no matter how much as an architect being, you tried to make something very exciting and well designed, if the ingredients is the same, the experience is inherently the same. What I wanted to emphasize here is that it it's very important work together between client and architect to create something different from the from inside, which is well over not just in Tokyo but globally. I would like to talk about the project that we're collaborating on, which is internal mom, which is closer to the Bay Area, as you can see here on together with three other towers that already existing, which exists in a new Olympic access and also at the kind of edge of the old Tokyo and the new Tokyo at the Bay Mori building may be known as someone who built upon the hills and creating free standing tower, But, uh, now, actually, they're building so many towers So it's about time for them to think about the relationship between the towers, not just want power. So what? We propose a za new tower next to the existing power. It's actually continued activity in the green that is existing in tournament and then not blocking it and isolating as a free standing tower. But this tower is actually dedicated to connect the whole neighborhood and between the skyscrapers that more is building so you can actually create a public loop around. In order to do that, we actually drew a bridge between existing planes into the new tower and that that bridge with a landscape actually penetrates through the center of the tower, which creates this kind of amazing public space in the center that is typically in any skyscraper. The center is occupied by the corps, but we made the core as a side course from the center from the sky lobby, so that you can actually occupy the center as a public space. Not only that, we brought the activities through the entire building and made special programs throughout the center of the tower so that this access for the Olympics is actually readable from anywhere in the Tokyo in order to achieve that. The readability, the Howards little bit distorted to actually have the central band readable from many different vantage points. Not only that, it's actually connected. The new metro station, typically the Tokyo Metro station is directly connected to a building has no plaza. But here because more building owned both side of the new new metro station, we managed to actually create incredibly, ah Grand Plaza in a cone course that the public and arrived. And that's the first time that it's happening in Tokyo and what you see above the bridge above that, I just explain. So the collaboration has been quite intense, and one of the most appreciate able, notable expanse here is that we managed to propose a new AH media center or museum like entity, which we still don't know how. It's gonna be called at the top of the tower, which has a great view to the Imperial Palace. But it also has a lot of capability to hold media events such as this one or business events such as this one, but also have amazing public space above, with a small compared to Singapore. Small infinity pool at the top just to compete against the Singapore. This is it. Thank you. Now I pass it on to Midori. So, um, a Midori. Oh, Marie, from more bidding. So I'd like to talk about a collaboration with a lawyer. May briefly, more bidding, uh, a developer working all mixed with the development project in central Tokyo. Those of you who have been to Tokyo may have hard with name or on the thunder. Kills were also focus on a culture of projects we own and operate the Maury Art Museum and the Tim Love Official Art Museum. I'm responsible for the planning over the develop, new developments and the total Laurette lived new development. It's roughly 2.2 million square meters. So, um, picking out the best designers and business person business partners is one of the most important role is with me. I'm often asked by other Tokyo developers. Why More bidding so open works with over his tactics. They say of a architect, egotistical. They're sub long, and they're out of control. Maybe the truth. But that's the reason we ask them this. Uh, this is a picture from a competition for the trauma uh, station cover some years ago. We have concept design competitions to select a design architect for this project. Um, that's a private competition. It's Kristin's. Or weapons. The victory may ask so many. What do you really want to chip with this project? Or why do you, Amanda per Charles, facilities in this project? This competition set me thinking more deeply on this point. We continue discussion over the phone and having meetings, and finally, the proposed really and proposal. We selected them as of this fine Arctic because their proposal oh, reflected their deep under family off our intentions and also their insights of the program have a competition is going on even now, though, we were commence construction at the end of this year. After the competition, she sent us a new proposal. This is the possible you'll hit it. Show the image of the last one. But this is the first proposal, and I define it. No, The 2nd 1 Mmm. I declined her that day again and again. They sent many, many proposals and finery. I received a planted I considered work while to go ahead with, uh, this is the final one. Took a 10. It's working on very hard now to realize this idea in this manner, the project of his om. It took time, but various objects of the projects have been improved. For example, a second reach over was reversed by a park. And also because your opportunities uh huh, chest significant so in out of the project is infused with a single passion wanting my land from ripping his What's that? Objects may not mind, of course, since kids so much, but they proposed the bidding. They really want a visit live in. And what can the energy makes? Never put our life and still attract large numbers of people. It's a product of the depths of the composition. With those food, those in church and with a top management, I believe what one person truly desires. It's actually the desires of many people, and it eventually leads to business. The development We're working on it. It's like developing a city within a city. No, everyone has to live there, work there or play there. So if you're truly considered a successful business, it makes him like the tour. But I think knowing people two wishes and giving them form its true power of design. Our development, which is the bidding of a neighbor barefoot through dialogue with many, sometimes hundreds, of land owners, is a public matter whom its very inception, planning and construction picks at least 10 years. But the neighborhood, it's tough, remain for Potter 100 years. The secret of success is not a marketing survey, but the dialogue with many people with real passion. So to the question. Do you believe that upon even our tactics, results in business are confident? Tree? Yes. And to be honest, it made It might be tough, and we need a little patience and mutual respect. So how do you feel about thank you very much? Thank you. On Thank you, Midori, for presenting in English. I believe you'd be more comfortable. Yeah, in Japanese. So we will need headsets. So thank you so much. Both of you for joining us. And this discussion, which is primarily about the clients and the designer relationship on this, um, project Midori was I would imagine a very hotly contested competitions for many different architects. You mentioned you liked Om Maze approach by asking questions, but could you elaborate a little more on what you like so much about their projects on what set him apart from the other. We're under the rock on the reason why I selected the limit. But you Jheri And then when I usually we after the active facade on these I only that in this case on the program itself, we are way made a proposed a lot, So we saw that it was interesting. So his status and actually, uh, a lot of memories of the company is also joined and all temporary and the right throw down that the answers. And then we voted on and off course that ah finalised the order that they make the decision. And before that, a decision. Everybody and the road down there, our opinions on the questionnaire and then we decided, show how you're you. This concept was your idea when we met in New York. I remember that often it the architect for the designer gets all the the praise on the the opportunities to talk about the work of a particular project on get the client relationship. He's often far more important than were legendary. Can you explain a little about the relationship with Murray? Yeah, well for me, There was early discussion today also, but how the city is changing so rapidly. And also there's so many issues that are rising in the city very important for us to work together, not just, you know, architect trying to resolve ourselves. So it's very important to. And I felt it during the process, how integrated we are to actually propose something that is more for the public and more for bringing Tokyo as something that is credible as an experience between different skyscraper, the new area. So I thought, you know, that collaboration between client and architect but like everyone else, is quite, uh, critical thio from now on. So I really wanted to bring ah client on the stage so that at that point it becomes more clear. And you know, often this kind of conference architects present them their work. And I think sometimes it's one sided. Yes, and you've also said sometimes that designer is only as good as their client. The client has much more of an impact on the work than is often given credit on dhe. Matori, could you explain a little more about the design philosophy off Mori way sort a little there. How design is so important to the development. But the CEO recently said that he wants to make Tokyo the number one city in the world and that through design, yes, from the more buildings we consider the designs quite important. And it's quite a famous about that reading took you off the nation in my presentation. Our defense is actually must project. If we only I are short and the thing king, it won't to be enough. Is it more important to access the different ideas and thinking room over people from overseas that come out of success and come out of our region and design? And we have full of the same policy and process present from the past, and this is over philosophy, the regardless of a design or not. Window is a huge project, a development. We can expect people to join the development in that area. So we have to think about for the knees off any beauty of person and by respecting that really over business success Texas and we did over there. So the company people care about the opinions from the silly old and high accepted, so they people have a tendency to hesitate to speak of their opinions. And when it comes to the provincial with over people that would work worth, but by toxicity, different ideas from over. He's an architect and designers, and we have to have the discussion. I know it is quite a difficult, but that would be a trigger off. Our successful business actually shared the mental books to them even before we did a competition. That was why I was quite risky off course, because it could be taken as a criticism. Tow them. But actually, they really liked our critique to the current issues. And I think that they have there, You know what? They have vision, but they also have self criticism ourselves awareness and know how they have. They want to, uh, you know, advance their strategy for yeah, program. Yeah, I think that that was a kind of grid shared. Um, hard to say. Take on how we're both kind of self critical and also observing the changes that are happening in the world right now. And then again, as a relationship, you mentioned that some the media center was your proposal. So you're adding content. You're not just building for me Having content is that you think a new area where architects of being a bolted Zoe may a pioneer of that. Well, of course, we need their help to realize it. But I think architect often I was showing in a bento box. If you just following the guideline, then you are only making a kind of facade and, uh, funky shape, whatever the thought. But that won't change the profound, you know? So I think architect should be able to at least propose something to the client or to the development. Discuss the new potential. And I think that will in awake man, the expertise of architect and also developer will also have start to look at architect in a different way. And I think it will become a kind of win win. So it's taking the collaborative process much deeper in a sense that you're you're working in a much closer relationship and solving, actually adding, adding ideas for the proposal. Were there any crazy ideas that were thrown off the table? And you think that you feel the clients could have been a little more? Um, I wish I knew how many things were rejected that we're not crazy enough way learned from Singapore that rooftop activity is actually incredible on for you personally show Hey, it's your born and bred in Japan, but left in 95 developed to study and then on in practice This is your first building in Japan that how how is how is that on a personal 11 On a creative level? Are you the prodigal son That's that's returned and you feel you have to proved something? Yeah, Great question. If I would have stayed in Japan, probably I would not be able to do this kind of project. So the fact that I went well because Japan has its own system and me as I'm quite old, but not as a young architect you never get this kind of chance. Not never, but it's very hard. So I think there is a truth, that truth in it, that I went out from Japan, lived abroad for more than 20 years and now being able to do this with Japanese thinking, which of course, uh, at some, uh, you know, plus, but I think Japanese are always very interested in what's happening outside and also being self critical again and learn from the other culture. And I think that kind of mentality, maybe people think it's kind of close, but actually I think as the mind very open. So I think I had the luck to be able to have a client that is quite open, that somehow it represents Japanese mentality. Now, to some degree, it's available, yes, and he said, Actually, you you're still trying to now find your Japanese or what it represents. Now Midori of you sense that Shohei has a different Maybe, maybe yes. He has been many years in overseas with hockey sticks, Japanese. But when we think about his mentor, it is somehow different from the other Japanese. I pretend like I can't speak for the occasion. That's how it works and I'm somewhere in between. It sometimes helps on DDE questions about the view. The project is now institutes for completing another two years 2023 competition, and it was on the table at what point in the competition was what it's. A company could have got out completion. We're going to start from now by the end of this year, and it would take about four years for the finalization. So it's in the middle of our long adjourning years ago. Fuck yeah, three or four years ago, there's still time about this project to evolve even more. Order things set in stone now or because you have such a close relationship, Could ideas will evolve? Could even in the next few days we might have new ideas. You bent her books, and when we think about, if it's hard from, hardly aside our dear finalize their structure. But we all working on soft aspect. So we're consulting with Sigma, so if I want to change something, we're almost decide. He wants to change form hardest side. So the construction we still would be started soon. But I'm sure we would have so many discussions from one else will if I would have said it's still changing. Then there will be so angry because for now, but again, for me, our collaboration actually really is very hard to tell until what part is hard and what part is soft because we're actually involved in how to the operational side of that. Uh, it's a media center. We propose. Yes, that is still you, doesn't even have a name at this stage of very where to go, Like hearing many people around the world how to, you know, position this facility and also programming. So there's still a kind of, ah, evolution, all the work in progress. Working progress. We just have one minute left. I'm conscious. That may be a question. I see a gentleman to my left who has a question. Do we have a microphone? I know him. Fascinating conversation. Both of you come from thes very different cultural institutions. In a way, Mori building innovator known for his, uh, great admiration for, like, a buffet on building these vertical garden powers, which now everyone has replicated after all these years. And then, of course, Ram, fascinated from early in his career by the metamorphosis or the metabolism movement in Japan, which is a very different school of approaching architecture, design and large project. So I'm curious how much the two of you feel bound by those origins of of your companies, uh, and putting together a project like this. Or did you feel free to just completely innovate in a different direction? Mori found original You notice on the founder. Actually started his fascination verticality in the artificial ground by looking at, um, how low, low density Tokyo Woz and also artificial ground of something that is replicating, creating more ground level activity. So in a way, I think that, um, something that is a critic to uh, exists in Tokyo. And I think Prem ofcourse looked at New York at something that architecture didn't really exist when you know the modernization was happening. It was all about the projection of economical ambition. So I think that that kind of understanding off the profound, you know, the basis of those changes I think it's quite a good match. That's what I'm thinking. But I don't know, Midori, Would you like to has been closed? Uh, well to me. So when we try to do beat us with flooring Arctic, we sometimes give up because of the negative are here. But we can share with the same language. We can be completely open and exchange opinions. Of course, we had some fighters. Will two, we could be completed open each other. Maybe that actually came out of this result having great relationship very much. Thank you, Midori. And thank you show. Hey, but a fascinating insight into the client's designer relationship