Kengo Kuma: Onomatopoeia Architecture (Palazzo Franchetti, Venice)

Marco Imperadori

ACP Art Capital Partners, Palazzo Franchetti & Dario Cimorelli Editore, 2023


Onomatopoeia is the use or creation of a word that phonetically imitates, resembles, or suggests the sound that it describes. Such a word itself is also called an onomatopoeia. Common onomatopoeias include animal noises such as oink, meow (or miaow), roar, and chirp. Onomatopoeia can differ by language: it conforms to some extent to the broader linguistic system; hence the sound of a clock may be expressed as tick tock in English, tic tac in Spanish and Italian, dī dā in Mandarin, kachi kachi in Japanese, or tik-tik in Hindi.
The English term comes from the Ancient Greek compound onomatopoeia, ‘name-making’, composed of onomato- ‘name’ and -poeia ‘making’. Thus, words that imitate sounds can be said to be onomatopoeic or onomatopoetic.

Using words to explain the idea behind a project is not always easy, especially when it involves an intense dialogue between the architect and the material, when architecture becomes a physical tool for mediating between people/users and nature. This is why Kengo Kuma often resorts to the onomatopoeia, to that sensation of resonant empathy created by his architecture, resulting from a multisensory experience: we can see the volumes, touch the materials, smell the scent of the wood, listen to the sound of the onomatipoeias and we can perceive the architect’s compositional ‘taste’.
To this regard, to present the work of this Japanese master, interpreted through thirteen onomatopoeias, Venice provides the perfect location thanks to its ephemeral beauty, the signs of the time, the reflections on the water, the esthetic perception of non-linearity, and the fleeting moments – all characteristics that are also typically Japanese.
Kengo Kuma’s Venetian Onomatopoeia is like a painting by Turner, a watercolor by Hugo Pratt, a shade of white wine, or mist on the lagoon, whispering someting intimate and universal to us that is impsossible to translate.


ISBN: 9781255610212

140 pagina's, geïllustreerd, 25,5 x 23,5 cm, hardcover, Italiaans/Engels