Our last exhibition, Gesamtkunstwerk, brought tens of thousands of people together in Vancouver to engage in a dialogue around our vision of what city building could look like. Since then we have put on a number of events both here and in Toronto which speak to Westbank’s vision of more equitable and beautiful cities, where artistry is celebrated. Building on the success of Gesamtkunstwerk, our current exhibition — Japan Unlayered — is introducing elements of Japanese culture that are inspiring us.
We are now exploring a concept somewhat similar to Gesamtkunstwerk, but one that is a uniquely Japanese philosophy: the design philosophy of layering and its manifestation in architecture. We have long admired Japanese culture but over the last few years we have immersed ourselves further, with five projects, both large and small under development with Kengo Kuma’s team here and in Tokyo.
In fact, we have recently opened an office in Tokyo to help us continue this exploration. Our hope is that this cross-pollination will help further Westbank’s growth and that ideas from Tokyo will find themselves adding a degree of aesthetic and cultural richness that Vancouver as a very young city, could embrace.
When engaging with this exhibition, we hope you will experience this incredibly rich culture for yourself and see how it can add a layer of cultural depth to Vancouver, that future generations will view as important.
Westbank has evolved into a cultural practice and this exhibition offers a glimpse into a new and interesting part of our world. We hope you enjoy seeing some of what we are most passionate about at this moment and that you experience some of the influences that are leading our practice in new and exciting directions.
On behalf of my team, Kuma San’s team and our frequent partner Peterson Group, thank you for taking the time.
— Ian Gillespie