yagyug douguten’s atelier in japan ‘dresses itself’ in visitors’ clothes

Yagyug Douguten completes studio for Yoshinari Nishio

Drawing inspiration from a Japanese demon that strips off clothes from the dead, Yoshinari Nishio’s DATSUEBA atelier which ‘dresses itself’ opens doors to the public in Nara, Japan. A shared space of learning where the local community can learn about sewing, art and culture alongside the artist as he works on his creations, the studio sits draped and enveloped in discarded pieces of clothing for a playful, creative experience.

Interior design studio Yagyug Douguten centers the space’s concept around uniting the acts of ‘dressing’ which the work of Nishio explores, and its reverse act of ‘undressing’. By presenting these two opposing actions, the artists and designers invite visitors to strip off theirs ‘clothes of common wisdom’ and embark upon a new start with a fresh mindset. Paradoxically and somewhat ironically, as they take off their clothes, the building dresses itself, and becomes ingrained with people’s memories infused in clothing.

Yoshinari Nishio in his studio all images by Natsumi Kinugasa, courtesy of CHISOU / Nara Prefectural University

evoking memories infused in worn clothing

The Tokyo-based interior design studio installs a sloping internal roof over the entrance staircase to create an exhibition space for displaying completed works. Across DATSUEBA, curated selections of clothes are draped along the walls, hung from the ceiling, and even lined along the external terrace as if they have been left out to dry under the sun.

Fumitaka Suzuki, founder of Yagyug Douguten notes that: ‘The act of clothing the body is inseparable from stripping off your clothes, doing laundry, and hanging out the wash to dry. By using the entire terrace to dry taken-off clothes, the ordinary building is transformed into something antithetical to the act of clothing the body. It also becomes a locus of communication with people in the street, and, paradoxically, the laundry hung at the terrace ‘dresses in’ the building.’

DATSUEBA atelier by Yagyug Douguten in Japan 'dresses itself' as visitors take off their clothes
a seminar room and workshops where the community can learn about sewing, art and lifestyle culture

Back inside, a playful cut-out in the roof has visitors peering through the hole into the atelier, with no idea that they are being made to try on a set of clothing placed just below their heads. The space further features a hole for visitors to throw away their old garments, sewing tool bags made out of old pockets, and a fitting room made from clothes. Dominating the space with an installation-like presence is the feature curtain wall made by stitching together the arms of worn-out shirts.

‘Nishio stepped out from the curtain as if he was pushing his way in a crowd. It was a charming sight to see that the curtains were stripped of their negative overtone associated with its function of hiding things behind,’ Suzuki recalls.

DATSUEBA atelier by Yagyug Douguten in Japan 'dresses itself' as visitors take off their clothes
Yagyug Douguten installs a sloping ‘roof’ sheltering the entrance and displaying artworks

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