Somewhere in the inland sea of Japan is an idea that strikes me as a truly exceptional exercise in the simplicity of beauty. A few years ago, I went to an island in this inland sea known as Naoshima. It was truly one of the most beautiful experiences I've had traveling anywhere in the world. This island features a series of hotels that are a hybrid between a modern art museum and seaside resort. www.benesse-artsite.jp/en/benessehouse/ I stayed at an installation known as the Park. Throughout the Park were the most stylish yet simply designed accommodations and art installations. One such installation that drew me was a darkened corridor between the main building and the restaurant. As you walked through you were drawn to the strip of light revealed along the lower edge of the corridor wall. It was brightly illuminated by natural light. Something about the light drew me in like a moth to a flame. As I got closer I could see a brilliant band of green moss.
As I knelt down, a moss garden was revealed that contained a single stone slab and a metal sculpture. These elements were placed so subtly amongst the canvas of moss. The feeling of seeing this was so surprising to me. Beyond the thick imposing concrete walls of this corridor was a still life painting. Something was done to draw attention to it. It was purposefully framed to create a certain experience. That experience felt so individual.
You might think all you're looking at is some rock sitting on some grass with a metal stake but in reality you are seeing the coexistence of nature, art, and architecture. The relationship is peaceful. There is no tension. If you allow yourself to forget everything for a moment and take in what's before you...you might just realize that it has the ability to allow you to see something you may consider beautiful. Witnessing beauty is like taking a deep breath or splashing cool water on your face...refreshing.