Seven new architects' works on show and touch at London's Royal Academy

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Bonnie Alter
Design / Green Architecture
February 10, 2014

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The best thing about this show is the sense of delight and wonder. Squeezing into tiny spaces and unexpected rooms makes everyone happy and excited about architecture. It's fun!

Japan’s Kengo Kuma has filled two blacked-out galleries with delicate waves of woven bamboo. Each piece has a diameter of 4mm so that it is easily bendable. Lit from below, it's a visual as well as sensual experience as the bamboo has been soaked in perfume. The first fills its room with a smell of tatami, the second with cypress.

Kuma is inspired by traditional Japanese craft and architecture. He says that "the ground is not like concrete – there are leaves and particles of soil, details that provide diversity and richness, which is what human beings need to find in architecture." This view influences his selection of materials.