Julia Lohmann



Thursday, February 14th, 2019

Critical Tide at Designmuseo Helsinki, 6 September – 27 October 2019

We’re very happy to announce that the Design Club selected Pirjo Haikola, Gillian Russell, Gero Grundmann and myself to realise our exhibition on critical design and the future of the oceans. It coincides with Helsinki Design Week, 5-15 September 2019. http://www.designmuseum.fi/en/exhibitions/design-club-open-call-2-critical-design/


On Display Magazine 2016, image by Noortje Knulst

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Oki Naganode

‘Oki Naganode’
Seaweed, cane, aluminium
3.5m x 3.5m x 3.5m
Victoria & Albert Museum,
London, 2013

The ‘Oki Naganode’ is a large-scale installation made of Japanese Naga seaweed,
which I treated to remain flexible like a translucent leather and stretched over a
modular framework made of cane and aluminium. The installation showcases the
potential of seaweed as a versatile material for design and manufacture. It was
developed as part of my ‘Department of Seaweed’ residency at the Victoria &
Albert Museum from April to September 2013 and exhibited publicly during the
London Design Festival.


Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

Bound in a Tokyo Nutshell


Gero spent his last night in Japan in a Tokyo capsule hotel, the pinnacle of anonymous abodes. The tiny pods, stacked like bunk beds, twenty per hallway, in who knows how many hallways on six floors, looked like leftovers from the film set of 2001 – A Space Odyssey. The light of capsule 5008 glowed like the eye of HAL. Guests in this men only establishment are issued with pale blue pyjamas and a towel and then left to their own devices in the maze of the hotel. There are communal TV lounges, baths, and infinite-looking washrooms full of mirrors, probably to counter claustrophobia. Most guests prefer to stay in their capsules though, entertaining themselves with a small TV set with channels ranging from traditional Japanese pottery to hardcore Japanese porn.


Capsule 5008


Somewhere in the infinite washroom


The ever-present ‘No Yakuza’ signs

Friday, November 16th, 2007


The contrast between our present location and Koyasan could not be greater. Naoshima is an island dedicated to contemporary art. It is home to the museum/hotel/spa complex of the Benesse foundation and the Chichu Art Museum. Both buildings were designed by Tadao Ando.

The Benesse House and Benesse House Annex could easily have been the setting of a James Bond movie. The three main buildings are set into a hillside with the top part, called the Oval, only accessible via a small monorail. Benesse hotel guests can roam the art collection until 11pm before retiring to their rooms located conveniently inside the museum.





Chichu Art Museum is a collection of minimalist underground spaces custom-designed for the works of art they contain. They are lit entirely by natural light and provide a gallery experience unlike any we’ve ever had. The artists on show are Walter de Maria, Claude Monet and James Turrell. Near the museum is the Chichu garden planted with the same plant species as those found in Monet’s Giverny garden. Photography of the buildings is not allowed but they have a great website that gives information in English and shows the work: http://www.chichu.jp

Dotted around Naoshima’s Miyanoura Port are various buildings belonging to the Art House project. Some draw on traditional Japanese architecture for inspiration while this one is built using local reclaimed materials.


Last but not least, there are many sculptures along the shore of the Inland Sea, the most famous being the red and yellow pumpkins by Yayoi Kusama.




Monday, November 12th, 2007


Today we visited Nara, Japan’s first real capital. The city is home to the Todai-ji temple and its Daibutsu-den hall, the largest wooden building in the world. The temple burned down several times in its history and it is hard to believe the present Daibutsu-den is only two-thirds the size of the original building. The enormous bronze Buddha figure housed inside made us feel like ants in the house of a giant.


The Daibutsu-den hall of Nara’s Todai-ji temple


The Daibutsu, or Great Buddha. To give you an idea of scale: The golden figures in the halo are approx. human-size.


Detail of a smaller wooden figure outside the temple hall


A monk blesses visitors

We found about a thousand other National Treasures roaming Nara’s temple district – deer! Considered divine messengers in pre-Buddhist days they are so pampered that they have lost all fear of humans. They’ll do almost anything for the special deer biscuits sold by local vendors.


A National Treasure


Young supermodel between photo shoots


Biscuit bonanza


Hunter-gatherer meeting a messenger of the Gods