Junichi Arai has been making textiles for many years, and his life’s work was recently celebrated in a show at the Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery. The exhibition, which ran from January to March 2013, detailed 60 years of his artisanal work. DGT Architects arranged the gallery’s spaces in an effective way to achieve the best view of Arai’s vast collection. ‘I've created textiles for a long time, but most of the textiles that are exhibited, I saw for the first time here today’, Arai said at the opening ceremony.

The exhibit was spread over three spaces, for each of which DGT Architects had created a theme. The first area saw the textiles displayed horizontally with a theme of ‘Self-organisation’. The second gallery had the theme ‘Prayer and Spirituality’ and here the textiles were displayed vertically and on a large scale. Last, but not least, was a corridor where the theme was the ‘Beacon of creation’. Here, photos that Arai had taken on his travels around the world were projected onto the floor. A running commentary streamed from speakers around the space, with visitors regaled by stories as Arai spoke about his textiles.

Junichi Arai, born in 1932, is known for creating textiles that combine contemporary Western technologies with traditional techniques. In the 1980s, he collaborated with Issey Miyake and Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Garçons) to make highly creative textiles for their clothing lines, representing the Japanese fashion design industry.

All images by Keizo Kioku