Gucci holds 100-yr anniversary exhibit in historic Kyoto machiya

To celebrate Gucci’s 100th anniversary, three special exhibitions are being held in Kyoto City. One of those exhibitions is taking place in the historic Kawasaki Residence near Sanjo Street. This large machiya is, or was, on the precipice of demolition just two years ago.

Called ‘Gucci Bamboo House’, the 95-year old traditional home has been temporarily transformed into an exhibit centering about bamboo and how it has been a symbol of the Italian brand. Installations include the brand’s bags with classic bamboo handles while also showing the craftsmanship behind the process. The home’s library, covered in Gucci wallpaper, features a curated collection of books. There is also a salon displaying the reissued Gucci Diana bag.  

Gucci Bamboo House is open to the public for free between July 22, 2021 and August 15, 2021. Reservations must be made in advance.

This isn’t the first fashion house or luxury brand to appreciate the traditional craftsmanship and heritage value of Kyoto’s traditional townhouses. In recent years brands such as Hermes, Hublot, and Issey Miyake have all had shops in restored machiya townhouses.

About the Kawasaki Residence:

The Kawasaki Residence was built in 1926 for Risuke Inoue, a wealthy cotton merchant. The large machiya townhouse features a blend of both traditional Japanese and western-style architecture. Architect Goichi Takeda (1872-1938) was said to have taken part in its design. Takeda designed the Kyoto Prefectural Library (1909), Goryu Palace (1921) and Kyoto City Hall (1927~1931). The Kawasaki family purchased the home after WWII, and it had been used as a kimono museum in recent years. 

Back in early 2018 the previous owner sold the house and land to a Tokyo-based real estate company. One year later, the new owner informed the city of their plan to demolish the property, despite it having a city-designated heritage listing. 

The maximum penalty for demolishing a heritage-listed building without first obtaining permission or submitting notification to the city is just 50,000 Yen (approx. 450 USD). While the amount seems paltry, the fine is likely to have not been updated since the law was introduced many, many years ago. If the owner ignores Kyoto City’s warning, the city has threatened to file a complaint with the prefectural police.

PR Times, July 21, 2021.
Images via Gucci.

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