Why Momoko Kudo Publishes a Magazine

建築家の工藤桃子が刊行する雑誌『MMA fragments』。
MMA fragments is published by the architect Momoko Kudo. She brings together fragmentary thoughts lying behind her projects. Where will this passion lead?


Reviewing Architectural ‘Processes’ by Working Around Them

建築家が自身の作品や建築哲学をまとめた書籍や論文は多数存在するが、工藤桃子が発刊する『MMA fragments』は、従来の建築系メディアとは大きく一線を画する雑誌だ。
There are many publications in which architects discuss their work and philosophy.Momoko Kudo’s magazine is completely different. It is not like typical architectural media.

The magazine contains practically no pictures of her completed buildings, nor explanation of them. She assumes the role of editor, not architect, exploring themes from many angles. She deploys comments by researchers, artist interviews, and includes visual pages introducing related items, visits to manufacturing sites and craft studios. As Kudo puts it:

Just no one is an island to themselves, and every piece of architecture is ultimately part of a complex web. Design is not just about the drafting the building itself, but is dependent on a combination and balance of many factors. It includes materials and technological developments, environment and history, people and communication. It must also take into account current industrial and economic conditions. I don’t want to just present a completed work and announce ‘this is the result!’. I want to show what unfolds, how we solve problems, and how we struggle. I want to reflect processes, which I collect as fragments, and re-edit them for presentation.’

As she circulates around some specific matter, object, or project, Kudo looks at it from the front and from side-angles. She thinks in ways that are not conventionally rational. She partly attributes this method to being brought up abroad, and to being devoted to subcultures in her teens. She alighted on architecture after a bit of a detour.

Also unique is Kudo’s choice of the classic magazine format, rather than more contemporary and light-hearted online or SNS platform

While I was thinking about how I could best archive architectural stories and processes, I happened to visit the Ancient Egypt exhibition at the Edo-Tokyo Museum. I saw hieroglyphs written on papyrus, and at once realised they were what I was looking for. Information from thousands of years ago travelled to my own time by being transferred to paper. Sensing its great power, I knew that in the end I wanted a printed record.

Kudo reached this decision, but being a total novice in the field, asked help from Sawako Fukai, an editor whom she knew through business connections. The project began with Kudo and Fukai as co-editors in chief.

Disseminating the Joy Surrounding Architecture

すでに刊行した2号は、工藤自身がプロジェクトのなかで向き合った素材や建材からテーマをセレクト。第1号は、おがくず、麻、米糊から成る天然由来の素材「RRR(Rice-Reinforced Rolls)」に注目し、自然環境への意識や人間のイマジネーションや手からモノを生み出す力に関する記事を展開。第2号は産業とクラフトのあいだを行き来しながら、身近な環境をつくりだす「タイル」にフォーカス。産業の中心地である多治見での現地取材や関連するアーティストの作品などを紹介している。
Two issues of the magazine have already published. Themes were selected from architectural materials that Kudo had worked with. The launch issue focused on RRR (Rice-Reinforced Rolls), a an original material made from sawdust, hemp and rice glue. It also included articles on environmental awareness, human imagination and power gained by making things with one’s own hands. Issue Two focused on tiles, familiar from settings around us, which the magazine looked at from aspects of industrial production and craft. It featured articles on the tile production centre of Tajimi as well as on artists’ work.

The magazine is neutral and plain in topic and in method of analysis, while carrying detailed descriptions. It never, as it were, favouritises architects. It is evident that the editors aim at a general readership, taking on topics with well-illustrated pages andgenerous amounts of impressive graphics.

In order to avoid editorial or layout preconditions, we simply pass text and graphics to a graphic design studio called Siun, run by Shogo Kosakai. We do not provide any instructions. The resulting magazines are considerably longer than I envisaged, but I’m delighted with how they have turned out.

Production also has an eye to portability, using a 140×230mm format. This is the same size that Kudo uses for her notebooks. The binding changed between first and second issues, with Issue One using string, so that the pages open flat. Issue Two has the format of an openable cardboard folder containing two loose sheets of different sizes, both folded uniformly, and removable from the folder, while the largest sheet is part of the folder itself.

今後も年1度のペースで発刊を続け、10号までは続けたいと話す工藤。プロとして建築に携わるなかで目の前に現れる心踊る事象を、「MMA fragments」というメディアを通して伝えていきたいと考える。
Kudo says she hopes to publish one issue per year, up to a total of ten. MMA fragments will go on disseminating information about the exciting matters Kudo encounters in her architectural career.

As I advance each project, I make new discoveries and meet people with interesting ideas. If any of my projects succeeds in standing out, it is not thanks to me alone, but to all those who contributed. It would be negligent for me to monopolize this. Connecting the joy of architecture and society, I believe, is a positive development.

Kudo is already preparing Issue Three, planned for publication before the summer. Each issue of MMA fragments is nurtured and released with great care, so this next one is eagerly awaited.

  • Text: Hisashi Ikai

工藤桃子|Kudo Momoko

東京に生まれ、スイスで育つ。多摩美術大学環境デザイン学科を経て、工学院大学大学院修士課程修了。2016MMA Inc.を設立。主な作品に「SIRI SIRI」、「GARGANTUA」「SKINCARE LOUNGE BY ORBIS」「CFCL OMOTESANDO」などの店舗設計、2020年横浜トリエンナーレ会場設計、細野晴臣デビュー50周年記念展「細野観光1969 – 2019」のデザイン、個人住宅も手がける。https://m-m-architecture.com

Born in Tokyo and brought up in Switzerland, she graduated in Architecture and Environmental Design from Tama Art University, before taking an MA at Kogakuin University. She established MMA Inc. in 2016. Major works include retail outlets for SIRI SIRI, GARGANTUA, Skincare Lounge by Orbis, and CFCL Omotesando, also venue design for Yokohama Triennale 2020, Hosono Haruomi 50th Anniversary Exhibition Hosono Sightseeing 1969-2019. She has also designed private residences.https://m-m-architecture.com

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