Shunmyo Masuno is regarded as Japan's leading garden designer and its most highly acclaimed landscape architect. A professor at Tama Art University, he is also a Zen Buddhist monk and still presides over daily ceremonies at the Kenkohji Temple in Yokohama where he is the head priest.
Zen Gardens: The Complete Works Of Shunmyo Masuno - By Mira Locher ISBN: 978-4-8053- 1194-3 Available at Asia Books, 1,250 baht
Masuno became famous for the unique ability he displays in blending strikingly contemporary elements with his country's traditional design vernacular. The most essential elements in his garden designs are how the land is divided up and the relationship created between the garden proper and any adjoining architecture.
Whatever project he works is imbued with his Buddhist outlook on life and are often considered especially spiritual places in which the mind can comfortably dwell.
Masuno's fame has spread beyond the borders of his native land and last year he received his first commission in the US, for a private residence in New York City.
Zen Gardens is the first complete retrospective of Masuno's work to be published in English.
The author has compiled photographs of 37 major gardens created by Masuno for the book. The gardens come in many different types and settings: traditional and contemporary, urban and rural, occupying public spaces and adorning private residences, as well as temples, offices, hotels, college campuses and guesthouses.
Divided in three main sections - Traditional Gardens, Modern Gardens and Gardens Outside Japan - this 224-page tome features more than 400 drawings and colour photographs. There is also an appendix on the design and construction process that provides several useful tips and techniques for the creation of Zen gardens.
Ripples of raked pea gravel around softly weathered rocks set in beds of thick ground cover create an atmosphere of serenity.
In a combination of traditional and contemporary styles, stepping-stones and a bridge of two stone ‘planks’ lead to the entrance of a room.
Multiple layers—a long flat stone, a bed of small rocks, large primary rocks, a mound with thick ground cover, and trees for verticality —create a sense of great spatial depth in the small garden.
A straight path of rectangular stepping-stones crosses a rock stream with a gently arching granite slab.
Two elements, rock and bamboo, are combined to create a serene garden scene in the genkan (entrance area).
About the author
- Writer: Sukhumaporn Laiyok