Pocket Gardens: Contemporary Japanese Miniature Designs
di Michael Freeman Noriko Sakai
Called tsubo-niwa after a unit of measurement that is two person-sized tatami mats placed side by side, the pocket garden has been a part of the Japanese architectural canon for thousands of years. Undergoing a modernization in the last few decades in which a new generation of architects began experimenting with the concept in imaginative ways, the contemporary garden follows a distinct yet global aesthetic, whether as an urban solution to importing nature, as an individual theme set within a larger garden space, or as a buffer between property lines of a house or apartment. Beautifully illustrated and designed with a reflective, contemplative aesthetic, the book offers a broad array of miniature garden designs, including Keno Kuma’s explorations of materials as diverse as andesite and plastic, Takeshi Nagasaki’s art installation gardens with stepping stones of cast glass and bronze, and Yasuhiro Harada’s mobile cube gardens—plantings in stainless-steel trays on wheels that can be stacked and rearranged at will.
* Michael Freeman is an award-winning photographer and an authority on Asian design and art. He is the author of Space: Japanese Design Solutions for Compact Living and Meditative Spaces, both of which were edited by Noriko Sakai.