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What Is Offer In Compromise Help?

Posted July 2nd, 2014 by | No Comments
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wiaoicTaxes should be paid in full amount and on the designated due date in order not to receive any notice from the Internal Revenue Service and avoid any lawsuit for this matter. However, when these taxes are not paid due to some unforeseeable circumstance, IRS offers several options including the offer in compromise help. Basically, the offer in compromise help is not granted to anyone who has IRS problems. There is a certain requirement needed before this privilege will be given and to be eligible, one must be able to submit these important documents and have his/her current economic status assessed.

The Internal Revenue Service will determine if the person is eligible or not and they will ask the individual to pay a certain amount of his tax debt. The offer in compromise is actually a great option for those with tax disputes. However, one should talk to a tax professional in order to further know this kind of option. The Internal Revenue Service offers flexible payment options for taxpayers but they will charge certain fees for those who cannot abide on the rules set by the government. So, offer in compromise help should be taken seriously as an option.

Choosing The Best Tax Relief Services

Choosing the best tax relief services is not difficult as long as you know what you are doing. There are a lot of individuals who failed to secure the right tax professional because they tend not to research carefully the credential of the individual who will be handling their tax dispute. Since they rush things, most of them have paid a big amount of money that turned to waste eventually. For this reason, it is necessary to carefully select the best tax relief services from reliable professionals. It is important to trust only the expert when it comes to IRS problems because this kind of concern can create a negative impact on your reputation. Hence, everyone is advised to make comparisons among these tax professionals and determine their credibility first and foremost.

It can also be helpful to determine the opinions of friends, acquaintances or family members who are familiar with the entire IRS process. If they cannot contribute a good feedback, you can always find reliable sources in the internet. Tax relief services are definitely worthwhile if you have it done from a professional who has years of experience in the field. This will ensure that your tax concern is immediately fixed.

Comparing How Japan Constructs Its Buildings

Posted March 14th, 2014 by | No Comments
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On a trip to Japan this spring, I was struck, as many other Americans have been, by the fine quality of current Japanese construction. This high standard of building seems to encourage design approaches that depend on precise detailing of a kind that is obtained rarely in the United States and then only at extraordinary cost. As one admires the meticulous concrete and steel of a building by Tadao Ando, one has to wonder whether such details could be achieved in this country. And the high quality of construction in the works of such renowned designers as Ando or Fumihiko Maki is not greatly out of line with norms for new Japanese construction generally.

hjcAt a time when our American industrial establishment is gripped with admiration and envy for Japanese know-how, it is important to realize that this quality is not the result of any mysterious, innate Japanese ability. Construction quality in Japan seems to be based mainly on the collaborative character of the effort, whereas in the United States the building industry, in particular, is marked by adversarial relationships. Negotiations and contracts here usually proceed on the assumption that the client and architect want the most product for the least expenditure--and that contractors and suppliers want to deliver the least. In principle, all that keeps their demands within reason is the eternal competition between peers--architect against architect, contractor against contractor, supplier against supplier.

In Japan, by contrast, the whole construction process is much more collaborative. The relevant laws may not differ in principle, but the practice is very different. To begin with, the whole society is less adversarial: Statistics from the early 1980s show one attorney for every 10,250 people in Japan, while the U.S. had one for every 630. And the number of Japanese attorneys per capita has been dropping for decades. What's more, it would be considered out of order to bring a lawyer to a business negotiation in Japan, a country where mutual trust is the only basis for proceeding.

A distinct and controversial feature of the Japanese architecture scene is the strong role played by design-build firms. Takenaka, one of Japan's "big five" leading construction companies, has an staff of 1300, second in size only to that of the independent architecture firm Nikken Sekkei. Such firms are entrusted with most large-scale work--including virtually all major commercial office buildings. Embracing design, engineering, and construction within their corporate structures, these design-build firms are able to support substantial research-and-development departments, which are very scarce in the U.S. Japanese design-build firms do not necessarily design all that they build; Takenaka, for instance, works with other architecture firms on 30 to 40 percent of its projects, and these include such prestigious designers as Fumihiko Maki and Mario Botta.

Even when the architecture firm and the contractor are separate entities, there is considerable collaboration at the detail level. The architect's working drawings carry the process about 60 or 70 percent as far as in the U.S. With documents that set the parameters for the details, but do not spell them out fully, the contractor makes a commitment to construction cost. From there on, details are worked out jointly, with an eye to these costs, largely on the site. Since contractors are usually chosen for subjective reasons (even in cases where there is bidding), there is a strong chance for firms to work together repeatedly. A much larger proportion of the architecture firm's work takes place at the site than in America, and it's customary to have staff members with design expertise in site offices.

All this is not to say that architects, as such, are in a favorable position in Japan. They do not have the power over the contractor that their American counterparts do--at least on paper. They are also poorly organized, with no encompassing professional institute (notwithstanding the efforts of Tange and others to shape one), so they have little effect on government policy.

For American architects, the lesson of Japan's finely crafted new buildings is that we earn mixed rewards for maintaining ethical detachment, separate accountability, and unfettered competition. We are promoting an adversarial situation--typical of our business culture--that may make it harder, and more costly, to build well. In the interest of quality and efficiency, we should be reexamining the more collaborative options available even within the American system.

Aveda Goes For Broke In Tokyo

Posted January 4th, 2014 by | No Comments
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After more than two years of planning, Aveda is set to unveil a key piece in its global expansion strategy: launching in Japan.

The company's first mark in the country will be with a three-level facility in Tokyo's trendy Minami Aoyama area this fall, noted Dominique Conseil, president of Aveda, who visited here in May to announce the official launch of the brand to the Japanese market. The space will include a shop and cafe on the first floor and a salon and spa on the second floor and basement, respectively.

agfbitGlobal expansion for the brand has been a goal of Aveda's parent, the Estee Lauder Cos., since it purchased the lifestyle brand in December 1997. And with this launch, Aveda has a president who's at home in the market: before assuming the presidency of Aveda in July 2000, Conseil had previously been president and representative director for Cosmelor Ltd., Japan, the L'Oreal Parfums and Beaute division that oversees the Lancome, Helena Rubinstein and Biotherm skin care and cosmetics brands and the Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani and Lanvin fragrances in Japan.

Still, Conseil isn't complacent. "Japan is always a Western company's biggest-ever challenge, and Aveda is no exception," said Conseil. Also, he added, "the economy is disappointing currently, not only in Japan, but also around the world. The reason we decided to proceed with our launch is that we have a long-term focus. We know it will take 10 years to capture the full opportunity Japan offers us. Obviously, economic cycles are irrelevant over a period of 10 years."

"Aveda's success depends above all on our ability to connect to these customers, the `cultural creative,' that make our brand what it is," said Conseil. "The general state of the economy, positive or negative, is irrelevant to whether or not we manage to connect with this consumer group. One might even think that Aveda will make an even greater difference to these consumers when times are tough."

To underline the brand's commitment to the market, Conseil noted that the brand is planning to open other retail locations in Tokyo, although he said locations and time frames for their openings are still in the planning stages. However, "we don't plan to operate by ourselves any other lifestyle salon and spa besides [our location in] Minami Aoyama. This is because we are not in the business of owning salons; this is the business of our customers whom we don't want to compete with," said Conseil.

After the brand has established itself in Tokyo, Osaka is next on Conseil's wish list, followed by a rollout nationwide. "We intend to roll out a similar plan in Osaka and surrounding areas with one flagship to inspire potential salon and spa owners, and a few retail locations," he said, noting that piece of the puzzle will come only after Tokyo is firmly established.

Conseil declined to comment on projected sales for the brand's first year in Japan, although industry sources estimated the brand could do upward of $500 million in Japan by the end of its first five years there.

Conseil is hopeful of the brand's success in the market, pointing out the synergies between the brand and the culture. "The nature-loving spiritual environmentalism that Aveda promotes has made sense to Japanese people for thousands of years," he said. In fact, Conseil thinks that Japan's hotly competitive market will become a major source of inspiration for Aveda's marketing and research and development teams. Indeed, the market has already spawned one hair care line: Light Elements, a four-item styling line formula, which began rolling out in the U.S. in February. And Conseil expects more lines to come: "By submitting our existing products to the `torture test' of more demanding consumers and by addressing specific needs by new products, we became able to not only address the needs of the Japanese consumers, but also become a lot sharper around the world, including our home market," said Conseil. "In other words, instead of globalizing from the home market, we started to globalize from any market where the consumers are the most demanding vis-a-vis one particular product category."

And Conseil sees the entry into the market as a partnership. "Aveda's introduction in Japan is very timely," he said. "Consumers have suffered from too many corporate responsibility flaws like misleading product labeling. Once Japanese consumers understand that Aveda's culture is truly founded on transparency and disclosure, there is little doubt they will partner with us."

Arts And Crafts: Japanese Style

Posted July 9th, 2013 by | No Comments
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Although much has been written about the influence of Japan on Western design movements (the Aesthetic Movement. Arts and Crafts, and Art Nouveau), far less is known of Western influence on Japan. Yet, from about 1900 to the 1910s, Japanese designers, educators, architects, and craftspeople launched a "new style" of art and craft by incorporating elements from French Art Nouveau, the Vienna Secession, and the Glasgow School into traditional Japanese arts. In a later phase, in the 1920s and '30s, Japanese artists instead drew on the ideals and philosophy of John Ruskin and William Morris to create their own response to the modern world. This utopian phase of the Japanese Arts and Crafts Movement will be explored in the next issue of Style 1900. For now, we focus on the initial blending of Western design with traditional craft that first enlivened Japanese decorative arts, architecture, and graphic arts just after the turn of the century.

Japan Presents Herself to the West through Craft

ancA century and a half ago, in 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry led an American fleet into Tokyo Bay, prompting Japan to end some two hundred years of self-imposed isolation. The west had first "discovered" Japan in 1543 when a Portuguese ship, blown off course en route to Macao, landed on the islands. Trade developed with Spain, Portugal and Holland until the 1630s, when, fearing the destabilizing spread of Christianity, Japanese rulers closed the country to outside contact save for a limited number of Dutch ships, permitted to sail only into Nagasaki harbor.

The ensuing two centuries of isolation were a time of peace and great artistic achievement for Japan, when crafts such as lacquering and cloisonne attained heights unimaginable in the West.

Thrust again onto the world stage in the 1850s, and without mechanized factories, railroads, and the like, Japan found itself unable to compete commercially with industrialized nations. Drawing upon the nation's creative strengths, the government encouraged artisans to produce hand-crafted export goods of stunning technical quality, which were showcased at world's fairs, such as those in Vienna (1873), Paris (1867, 1878, 1889), Philadelphia (1876), and Chicago (1893). Any search for new forms of expression became secondary to the goal of attaining extraordinary heights of perfection in workmanship. One lacquered cabinet, for example, took ten men seven years to complete.

Time for Change: The Drive for a "New Style"

During the reign of the Emperor Meiji (1868-1912), Japan not only worked to gain status abroad; it also set out to modernize at home. By the turn of the century, elite males had rejected traditional Japanese garb for European-style suits and hats. A Prussian-type constitution was adopted, a British-style Parliament was convened, and education for the entire population became compulsory. A new, Western-style military proved itself with victories over Russia in 1905.

In artistic circles, however, dissatisfaction grew with the Meiji concentration on dazzling heights of craftsmanship. Some artists began to look for a different approach, one based less upon masterful technique and more upon a new aesthetic that would capture the essence of modern Japan.

Asai Chu Brings the "New Style" to the Decorative Arts

This call for a new style gained momentum around 1900, when Asai Chu (1856-1907), a prominent Japanese artist and art educator, brought new ideas home front the great Exposition Universelle in Paris. This world's fair went down in history as an international showcase for European Art Nouveau--in a range of forms, from the sinuous, nature-inspired curves preferred by the French, to the abstract florals and attentuated lines of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow School, to the geometric grid patterns of the Vienna Secessionists. All Art Nouveau designers, however, held a common goal: to reject stale reproductions of historic styles and instead find an expression that would embody the modern era in a particular country. On his return from Paris Asai raised similar questions in a Japanese context: where should Japan turn to this new century and what in the arts and crafts was appropriate for the Japanese of his generation?

For Asai the answer lay in coupling the modern European look with a Japanese sensibility--an approach that was sometimes labeled aru-nubo (a transliteration of the term "Art Nouveau") or shin-bejulsu ("New Art"). By the early twentieth century, the mood in Japan had begun to shift from the social and political sternness of the Meiji period (1868-1912) to the cultural exuberance that would exemplify the reign of the emperor Taisho (1912-1925).

Artists and intellectuals were becoming interested in socialism and romantic literature; the ideal of democracy was spreading. The time was ripe for change when Asai became the first instructor of design at the newly founded Kyoto Institute of Technology, one of Japan's first schools to teach design as well as craft. Asai and his colleagues set out to train "men who can give fresh new approaches" to the Japanese craft world. The curriculum included design theory, instruction in machining, weaving, and textile-dying, and the practical, hands-on application of design to pottery, fabrics, architecture, interior furnishings, and woodwork. Craft skills remained important, but the pursuit of vitality in style became important, too; in fact, the concept of zuan ("design") entered the Japanese language for the first time at this period.

The objects that Asai created at the Kyoto Institute were heavily influenced by what he had seen in France. One piece still on display at the Institute is a vase he decorated in a bold patterning of plum tree trunks against a blue background. Like so much of his oeuvre, it recalls French Art Nouveau, but the simplicity, the subject matter, and the strong silhouetting all refer to the work of earlier Japanese masters. Working primarily in pottery decoration and designing for tiles, lacquer ware, and embroidery, Asai and his associates often coupled the modern European aesthetic with the bold golds and reds of Japanese lacquer and a traditionally whimsical treatment of subject matter.

"New Style" Experiments in Architecture

gaeArchitect Takeda Goichi (1872-1938), Asai's colleague at the Institute, also traveled to Europe. In 1902 he studied in England at the Camden School of Art and Science, where he was immersed in the work of contemporary British designers. During his stay, he produced a series of watercolor designs for interiors incorporating elements from the work of Mackintosh, as well as cabinet and wallpaper designs after Arts and Crafts designer C.F.A. Voysey. (1)

Upon his return to Japan, Takeda continued designing in this Mackintosh-and-Art-Nouveau-inspired idiom, producing a number of residences. Sadly, only a few of these remain. Especially noteworthy was the Fukushima Residence (no longer extant), designed in 1905 for a trading merchant. One would have entered this Secession/ Glasgow-style manor through an iron gate shaped like a spider. The exterior wall was colored a rich burgundy, set off by stained glass windows. Inside, curtains with abstract floral patterns were used, some of" the furniture was painted white a la Mackintosh, and even the ceilings and walls were decorated with Secession/ Mackintosh-inspired geometric patterns.

Architects unconnected with the Kyoto Institute also experimented with the New Style, especially in domestic work. Part of their efforts involved merging the living patterns of the East and me West--for instance, advocating the use of chairs instead of kneeling on mats on the floor and providing house plans with Western-type kitchens and living rooms. Stylistically, these architects incorporated elements from European Art Nouveau and Secession buildings, and even drew upon the American bungalow. One company--still in existence today actually called themselves Amerika-ya ("The American House") and offered bungalow kits imported from Seattle, Later the firm built bungalows from their own designs, as well as homes suited to a more traditional Japanese lifestyle.

Graphic Art Embraces the New Style

Another locale for the development of the New Style was Tokyo, then fast becoming a vibrant center of consumer culture as well as of publishing and the graphic arts. Inaugurated in 1900, the Tokyo-based literary magazine Myojo followed in the tracks of Western publications such as The Studio, Art Decoratif, and Jugend by commissioning covers from artists eager to work in a modern idiom. The first issue featured a design by Ichijo Naomi or a Japanese woman with flowing hair holding a lily, executed in the Art Nouveau style of European poster artist Alphonse Mucha.

When Natsume Soseki, one of Japan's greatest novelists. returned home from a visit to England in 1902, he showed examples of Western work to the young artist Hashiguchi Goyo (1881-1921), who went on to design New Style covers for Soseki's books. Other artists, among them Fujishima Takeji 1867-1943) and Sugiura Hisui (1876-1965), produced magazine illustrations, book covers and posters that helped to spread the new Western-influenced aesthetic to the public.

The spirit of the Taisho era was best personified by Takehisa Yumeji (1884-1934). A self-taught designer and illustrator, his series of languid "Yumeji-women" art still popular today. Like other artists, he clipped graphics from Studio and Jugend for inspiration, but he also studied Edo--period woodblock prints, developing a style that successfully melded the Western with the Japanese. Beginning his career in Tokyo in 1901 at age eighteen, Yumeji bridled at his rejection from government-sponsored exhibitions. His fame grew due to the "alternative" shows that he staged near the official ones. Minatoya, a small shop tsar he opened with his wife further boosted his popularity, especially among the fashion conscious young women who avidly purchased his New Style handkerchiefs, notepads, envelopes, woodblock-printed cards kimono accessories, and dolls.

The Decline of the New Style

Tastes Change; Utopian Idealism Grows

In the late 1920s, Yumeji's popularity declined rapidly because of changing tastes and public disapproval of his somewhat decadent lifestyle. In 1930, near the end of his life, he planned to start the Harunasan-Commercial Design Study Center, a school where design and craft could be taught on a farm that would provide the community with fresh produce. It was an idealistic project much like Gustav Stickley's vision for Craftsman Farms, and, as with Stickley's endeavor, it never materialized. Nonetheless, Yumeji's utopian idea was shared by other Japanese of the period, propelling a series of philosophical craft and education movements that were based less on outward style and more upon Ruskinian and Morrisian idealism. This Mingei or "folk-craft" movement, where craft became a vision for a better way of life, will be explored in the next issue of Style 1900.

Tokyo Auto Salon 2009 Models

Posted January 18th, 2009 by | No Comments
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Mazda's commercialization of the Miller-cycle engine, an invention dating back to the 1940s, got more Japanese media attention than any single advance in fuel conservation. The engine generates 1.5 times the torque of a traditional engine of the same displacement, while improving fuel efficiency 10 to 15%. In the Miller cycle, the compression stroke is shortened to attain a small compression ratio with a large expansion ratio. The engine achieves both low compression ratios and high expansion ratios by delaying the close-timing of the intake valves. To compensate for the decreased amount of intake air, caused by the delay of the closing intake valves, a Lysholm compressor pushes a large volume of compressed air into the cylinder with a screw-type rotor mechanism. Mazda's KJ-ZEM Miller-cycle engine is a 24-valve V6 DOHC model with a bore of 80.3 mm, stroke of 74.2 mm, displacement of 2,254 cc, actual compression ratio of 8.0, maximum torque of 30.0 kg-m/3,500 rpm, power output of 220 ps/5,500 rpm, and high expansion ratio of 10. The Lysholm compressor sits in the V-bank between the cylinder blocks and is driven by a V-belt. Rotors take air in and compress it by a factor of two. A 1.5 X increase in air volume goes to the combustion chamber even if a portion returns to the inlet manifold because of the delayed closing of the inlet valves.

Hydrogen powered

Mazda employed a hydrogen rotary engine on its HR-X2 concept vehicle that contains several improvements compared to commercially available versions. Most interesting is the improved torque in the low-to-mid rpm range. Mazda changed the point of hydrogen injection from the side of the rotor housing to the top of the housing. This shortens the distance between the hydrogen-intake valve and the rotor housing. During intake, hydrogen enters the chamber from a different port than air.

The HR-X2 is an updated version of the hydrogen powered HR-X introduced at the last Tokyo show two years ago. Besides the improved rotary engine, the HR-X2 boasts of a cell-type metal-hydride fuel tank. To store large quantities of hydrogen, it takes advantage of the fact that hydrogen passes easily between the relatively widely spaced atoms of metals. Metal hydride absorbs hydrogen when cooled, and releases it when heated. To release hydrogen, warm water is drawn into the tank to provide a heat source. Even if the tank is unintentionally broken, the release of hydrogen naturally cools the metal hydride to prevent any further loss.

The vehicle is also billed as 100% recyclable. Mazda designed the car based on the possible use of liquid-crystal polymer fiber reinforced plastic, which is said to retain strength after recycling, thus allowing it to be used repeatedly. (The version on display, however, was not actually built with this advanced plastic.) Vehicle structure promotes easy detachment of the upper body from the metal under the chassis. Door panel openings have been enlarged to make it easier to remove functional parts such as the regulator and motor. Seat cushions are the press-and-fit type for easy detachment. For the sake of easy disassembly, headlights mount directly under the windshield, and meters and switches in the instrument panel are integrated with the headlights and turn signals.

Juiced up

The EVX is an electric vehicle designed by Honda. It uses a recyclable lead acid battery and solar panels covering the roof. Electricity to be used by headlights, audio, and ventilation systems comes from an auxiliary battery. To reduce electricity use, headlights have discharge tubes and rear lamps are LEDs. Mileage between charges is said to be 150 km, at maximum speeds of 130 km/h. Nissan AP-X

The four-door AP-X is a concept car designed to show Nissan's philosophy for future sedans. It uses infra-red scanners to detect pedestrians or animals on the road at night, flashing an instrument-panel warning if anything shows up. Radar cuts through rain or fog to measure distances to preceding or following vehicles. The car bleeps a warning if the gap narrows too much.

Safety sells

Honda's Future Safety Research vehicle automatically reduces speed for sharp corners and uses bumper-mounted cameras to transmit images to a dashboard display. The tiny front cameras are positioned so the driver can see around corners in urban traffic. Honda did not explain why cameras are better than nose-mounted mirrors, however. Critics call this a perfect example of how car makers are preoccupied with exhibiting technological prowess but unsure how to benefit drivers or themselves with it.

Other features on the vehicle include a rear message board to transmit driver intentions to other cars, a strobe light in the door pillar to make an open door more visible to vehicles approaching from the rear, and a specially designed hood to reduce front impact loads.

Japanese Teahouses And Really Thin Houses In Japan

Posted December 10th, 2008 by | No Comments
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In 1993 the Japanese architect Shigeru Uchida designed three cube-like teahouses that were easy to assemble, dismantle, and move. The differences between the three boxes--each roughly 8 feet square and 7 feet high--lay in Uchida's treatment of the defining element of all Japanese structures: the lattice wall. According to Uchida, what distinguishes Japanese from Western building is the notion of kekkyu-- boundaries. These range in hierarchy from a painted line or a stone at a threshold to a solid fortress wall. In between these is the lattice, a perforated barrier through which a passerby may catch a glimpse of private acts. Among his three teahouses, Ji-an ("house of perception") is an elegant patchwork of square and vertical grids, Gyo-an ("house of memories") has slats intersecting in a tangle of triangles through which the night sky appears as through a dizzying mesh of stars, and So-an ("house of composition") features gridded wall with a vertical emphasis calmly alternating with walls composed purely o f squares. The interiors glow from the golden wood of which they are made. As the late literary and cultural critic Roland Barthes once wrote, "Wood...produces a world of objects easy on the eyes, already human by their substance, resistant but not brittle, constructible but not plastic." Though strikingly modern, Uchida's structures are redolent of what Barthes called "a more vegetal age."

jtarthThis year, Uchida's teahouses are traveling to museums and design centers throughout Germany. Their curator is Georg Wawerla, a designer in Kiel, who worked with Uchida and the late Aldo Rossi on the Mochiko Hotel in Japan and now markets the teahouses through his own company, Studio 38. Why bring (and sell) teahouses to Germans? Wawerla's caravan of the wood structures is intended to focus German attention on what he calls "reductivism" (the vernacular form of minimalism) as a decorating principle, the only principle Wawerla finds intact in Germany's post-Bauhaus, post-World War II architecture and interiors.

When Dutch ships sailing from China and Japan first brought tea to Europe in 1610 social life, most indelibly in England, was transformed. The beverage revolutionized ceramic production throughout Europe by creating a demand for new pots and cups based on Asian export wares. But tea (first used by the Chinese in about the 8th century as medicine) failed to doctor Europe's essentially mundane concept of social intercourse, though commercial teahouses proliferated and the drink was elaborately served in aristocratic homes. According to Uchida, the great 16th-century tea master Rikyu intended the tea ceremony to lead the participants' minds unconsciously to "the realm of supernatural necessity. The principle of the tea ceremony is often said to be [that] one meets another only once in a lifetime. Therefore, one must do one's best to appreciate the meeting." Paraphrasing Rikyu, Uchida notes that tea cures one's thirst not just for liquid but also for soul, for relationship. And the building in which we slake the se thirsts is, like all traditional Japanese art--be it woodcut, calligraphic, or ceramic-a material cipher enclosing a silent emptiness at the center of things.

Is the arrival of Uchida's teahouses in Germany simply one more instance of the kekkyu of nations, cultures, or styles being erased from the globe by the haste and superficiality of so much information? Georg Wawerla is too conscious of design history to accept that analysis; he relates Uchida's simple forms to the utopian worker housing created by the Expressionist architect Bruno Taut in the 1920s. Taut himself spent several years in Japan and published The Japanese House and Its Life (1937), which compared the Japanese wooden country domicile with its counterparts in Scandinavia, Germany, and Eastern Europe. Building was for Taut a primal, mystical occasion to redeem modern life, most famously embodied in his faceted glass pavilion for the Deutsche Werkbund exhibition 1914 in Cologne, an attempt, not unlike the Japanese lattice or shoji screen, to open up walls without entirely transgressing boundaries. A teahouse in Deutschland looks back not only to Meissen, but to German modernism's earliest impulse, t he first Bauhaus at Dessau, where Gropius's co-founder, the Swiss symbolist painter Johannes Itten, wore a monk's robe to teach color theory as a form of religion, in his case, theosophy. Meanwhile, the latticed and lanterned Glasgow tearooms designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh (also a theosophist) had been introduced to German designers by the Berlin architect Hermann Muthesis in his 1904 book The English House. Under Walter Gropius and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Bauhaus ideology shifted from spirit to function, but not without a lingering perfume of the meeting between mysticism, craftsmanship, and faith in the humanistic possibilities of technology.

Wawerla notes that response to a short piece on the teahouses in Wallpaper magazine last year has been immense, resulting in orders (at roughly $16,000 per house) from "some very interesting people, many of them in the United States." He and Uchida want to set the exhibition in motion here. Since the average American now moves every three years, owners can pack up their sanctuaries along with the sofa and dining room set. But will those steely Miele built-ins bought so dear prove as mobile?