“SABIÉ – Zen

Period : April 29th - April 30th, 1992
Venue : Harajuku Quest Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Sponsor : Sabié Cultural Institute

SABIÉ – ZEN brought together more than 50 of the leading designers, contemporary artists, and traditional craftspeople of the time to design a variety of tea rooms, spaces, and tea utensils for a tea gathering-based event, all presented in a single space. Guests were first presented with kaiseki (a traditional tea gathering meal), then traversed a pathway to the tea rooms designed to reflect the traditional roji garden path. It could be said that Masakazu Izumi, the host of the gathering, reconstructed the tea gathering concept so that “the image of modern tea” could be expressed. This project’s concept of bringing together tradition with modernity with chanoyu (tea ceremony) as the base resulted in a project that caused contemplation of present-day chanoyu culture. This project began when graphic designer Ikko Tanaka and Masakazu Izumi met at a party held by Tanaka at his villa with his design friends. At the realization that the necessary tea utensils were not at hand, the partygoers got very enthusiastic about seeing what kind of tea gathering could be hand. Izumi sprang into action, and they gathered together various items that could be repurposed as tea utensils. Izumi then went out into the garden and snipped a single leaf to use in place of a lid for the mizusashi water vessel…and thus an impromptu tea gathering was created. Tanaka was highly impressed with this experience of the creative side of the chanoyu tradition. This meeting set the stage for the production of the SABIÉ – ZEN event.