Award-winning illustrator Noma Bar designs his very first architectural project – a view house shaped like a bird.
Born in Israel and now based in London, award-winning illustrator Noma Bar was commissioned by the Momofuku Ando Foundation in Japan to create a view house within the wooded landscape of the Momofuku Ando Center in Komoro, Japan.
Being the first non-Japanese artist to be invited to participate, the project gave Bar the unique opportunity of translating his illustrations into architectural form.
Constructed by a team of 20 Japanese carpenters, the view house takes the shape of a bird, playfully working in three dimensions what Bar’s conceptually driven illustrations do on paper.
For Bar, it was important to retain the visual storytelling of his work, an architectural form translated into the environment in which the visitor interacts with the structure, both visually and as a functioning view house.
“Compared with a two-dimensional image, the three-dimensional bird is a physical journey, and the experience is different than viewing it as a two-dimensional print – it can give my story more angles,” says Bar.
Bar’s source of inspiration came from the chance finding of two leaves on the floor, their position reminding him of the shape of a bird’s profile. The work takes this concept into architecture, revealing the bird shape only from one point of view, as the visitor explores the location. From another approach one sees the leaf shapes gradually transform into stairs that one can use to enter the interior space. Once inside, viewers can enjoy a bird’s eye view of Mount Asama, which is an active volcano.
Bar says that he wanted the structure to be able to blend in with the woods while still remaining visible. “The colour transitions helped me to achieve that. They look like seasonal leaf tones, but also stay visible whenever the colour of the woods changes.”
The 9-metre-high bird structure uses a single tree trunk as support, a reminder of how Bar usually constructs illustrations with simple geometric shapes, using an economy of form to create a sense of discovery and storytelling.