Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Senbonzakura: Developing A Concept

     I felt satisfied with the blackout image I had done that I decided to start with colour tonight so I know I have made further progress with the project. I suppose it does not look too bad, I added a couple of light and shadow layers to give an impression of depth but for now I don't know if it feels solid enough yet. Further refinement and additions of shading could make the whole place more real however so I will keep at it. Maybe I sohuld extend the background illumination so it encapsulates the whole distant landscape? In keeping with Treacy's love of nature I'm planning to scatter these expansive rooftops with greenspaces; gardens, flowerbeds, maybe the odd cherry-blossom to return it to give reason as to the name "city of a thousand petals". I want to uphold the impression that peopel adore nature in this city located in some deeply remote Chinese valley. Maybe these rooftops are where activity also goes on? They seem good enough a site for parks.

    I suppose if I get stuck for now I can always move on to orthographic drawings. For this one I have a couple of key buildings scattered around the foreground. Particularly the one with the sails and the stalk-like building in the centre of the image that perhaps draws the viewer's eye.

    In progressing with this project however, I am being reminded why I considered architecture to sate my desire to build worlds: I wanted these places in my head to come alive, to make them real, to be able to touch them, visit them, perhaps wander around them using a method outside of my mental space. It might be escapism in some aspects but the idea of designing these worlds so that others could explore them and be as awestruck as I am at their vision is what drew me to this course and to a university education. It doesn't matter now if its my city or something someone else came up with. I am starting ot get a real joy out of helping to bring other peoples' creations to life. It makes me exited to press on with this project and towards the final outcome!


  1. Your rendering of your images has become a lot nicer in terms of not over working it, that's great! :^)

    As Senbon Zakura is a Japanese term (I'm assuming from that one Hatsune Miku song...) would it be fitting to use it as a name for your city? Philip Treacy does do a lot with flowers and so cherry blossoms would be justified in that sense.. however he is Irish, not Japanese. That and you talked about your city perhaps being in a Chinese Valley. That could also be very contradicting. The same Kanji is used for "One Thousand Cherry Blossoms" in Chinese and Japanese but it is a different pronunciation. There's a clash of culture.

    Curious about your reasoning is all, sorry if this sounds a little rude, I don't mean to be! ^^

  2. You're not being rude it's fine.

    I asked Tumo the other week to find a Chinese translation for "city of a thousand petals" (which I thought fit a city deeply rooted in flowers given the importance of certain flowers in China's cultural heritage. A thousand-petalled lotus flower is also the metaphoric representation for the crown chakra in TIbetan Kundalini Buddhism) and apparently "Senbonzakura" was it - So Hatsune Miku's song wasn't my inspiration. I was worried that it would in fact be a Japanese translation or that it would actually mean something completely different so I plan to change it if neccessary.

    The China thing comes from an interview with Lux Magazine. Revolving around his Orchid Collection that was shown at the January 2000 Paris Fashion Week:

    Near the end he says “I have my own style of shape so I can adapt what I do to anything potentially. Designing a building would be fun, in Shanghai, China; they are very open to the future." That's what inspired me to put the city in China because it sounds like somewhere he'd be interested in working. Plus China is known for its crazy and often organic buildings. I found several examples of organic architecture in several locations within China.

    1. Ah, that interview is a great find! I'm glad.

      I did some research trying to find the Chinese equivalent translation of "senbonzakura" and found "一千樱花" However, romanized it translates to "Yīqiān yīnghuā" which isn't as memorable unfortunately! (And perhaps not as accurate a term as you'd like)

      Speaking of memorability, when most people think about China a strong sense of historical, oriental buildings, and red is usually imagined. It would definitely be interesting to see how you can incorporate Philip Treacy's fashion with hints of China's culture. - If you can get the balance right!

      Good luck! :^)

    2. @Pin Buns: Thank you for your help. I stumbled across this site while looking for the English meaning of the phrase you found and I got "thousand cherry-blossoms". I used the site to find "花瓣" or "huā bàn" which means "petal" and about seven different ways to say "city" in Chinese although "市" (shì) appears most frequently but is often part of another word. I decided to look into "valley" which was an alternative descriptive and got 流域 (liú yù).

      So my deduction is "thousand-petal valley" (based on how cities in Europe have names like Ox-ford, Ham-burg and Buda-pest) could be translated as 一千花瓣流域 "Yīqiān huābàn liúyù" (probably an apeish translation but its the best I can work out.)

      Again, not as smooth as Senbonzakura and it is a lot more of a mouthful but I feel good I managed to do some research on it. The site has Princeton copyrights in places so I really hope these translations are genuine.

    3. Woo! That's good news. It'll add some "legitimacy" if you can figure out an effective name to describe your city like you're doing. (Although try not to focus too much on that, at the least make sure to reflect the name in your city!! i.e A city with Cherry Blossoms would need to be more pink!)

      If we do a narrative-based project I'm sure you'll love that. :^3

    4. I'll see about adding some plant life on the rooftops and on balconies at some point. It would be wierd to name this city after an abundance of petals...when there are no petals.

      I think narrative-based projects come later. So I look forward ot the prospect.