Exhibition at the Embassy of Japan

The Deindustrial Revolution
Material Culture in Japan and the UK

12 February – 11 March 2016

Open weekdays 09:30 - 17:30, closed weekends
Admission is free, but photo ID is necessary to gain entry to the Embassy.

The Embassy of Japan, 101-104 Piccadilly, London W1J 7JT

The current exhibition at the Embassy of Japan presents the work of ADS6, a post-graduate architecture design studio at the Royal College of Art in London. 

This work investigates material culture in Japan and Britain and how contemporary ideas concerning relations between industry, people, materials and knowledge inform local identities in both countries.

Working under the theme of The Deindustrial Revolution, under the guidance of course tutors Satoshi Isono, Clara Kraft and Dr Guan Lee, the students’ research has focused on how changes in the manufacturing landscape are having a profound effect on architectures and cities.

In 2015, both students and tutors travelled to Japan to visit a variety of emerging, established or declining industries in order to investigate how economic upswings and downturns, technological innovations and shifts have affected the Japanese manufacturing landscape. At four different sites in Japan, those on the research trip were able to look at a variety of industries either in states of abandonment or decline, and those which are well-established or emerging.

X Brick, Vitali Stanila

SuperFlat Concrete Kitty, Iain Jamieson

The island of Naoshima was once home to a thriving mining community which attracted many from the Japanese mainland. Yet when the industry was modernized, the majority of the jobs went and the island went into decline. A transformation of the island has taken place with the introduction of the Art House Project which encourages artists to create site-specific works while actively engaging with the ageing population in the local community.


Hasami in Nagasaki Prefecture is an established centre for the production of ceramics in Japan. Part of the RCA students’ research was to see how large-scale factories and small ceramic workshops work with and alongside each other while maintaining diverse, vibrant and sustainable production embedded in the community.

Adaptable, pre-cut timber-frame houses were the focus for a visit to Koda in Ibaraki Prefecture. The largest CNC (computer numerical control) timber-processing factory in Japan is located there and by using CNC technology the factory can operate 24 hours a day. Traditional Japanese joints can be made in a fraction of the time it would take a carpenter. What would take one month for a carpenter takes only 90 minutes for CNC technology.

ADS6 is interested in the cultural differences and relationships between Japan and the UK and through hands-on investigative work, the students consider how an emphasis on making and material can serve both as a vehicle for experimentation, as well as a theoretical framework for exploring ideas from place to architecture. The studio looks critically at ethics in relation to making and architecture, asking students to create links between place, academia and industry and is keen to develop more projects of this kind, balancing a creative pragmatism between craft, collaboration and community engagement.

CNC milled joinery, Christopher Kelly