What is the future fundamentally? At its most basic, the future is unknown. It can only be predicted on the basis of known circumstances: current technologies, attitudes, and lifestyles. Early 20th century proposals of the future contained fantastic landscapes and preposterous technologies. But as the 20th century drew to a close, futurists shifted focus from the distant future to the near future. At the same time, the “present” became shorter. Instead of lasting three or four years, it was reduced to the brevity of a news cycle. Driven by the ever-increasing speed of technological and social change, the “present” and “future” became one and the same. Without a temporal distinction, how else can the future be conceived? How can we visualize the future, when it is same as the present?
JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles will hold a conversation about the design of the future in an era in which the “future” exists in the present. The discussion will be led by three professionals who specialize in envisioning and creating the future.
Photo by David Vintiner
Sou Fujimoto | Speaker and Panelist
One of the best-known Japanese architects today, Sou Fujimoto (1971) graduated from the Faculty of Engineering at Tokyo University with a degree in architecture. The majority of his work (initially characterized by projects in small spaces) is concentrated in Japan, where he founded Sou Fujimoto Architects in 2000. Fujimoto rose to fame a few years later after winning the Architectural Review Awards prize for emerging personalities in the world of architecture for three years in a row. Fujimoto was awarded the Japan Institute of Architects Grand Prix in 2008, and in 2012 his entry for the Japan Pavilion of the 13th Venezia Biennale International Architecture Exhibition was granted the Golden Lion award. In the following summer, Fujimoto was invited to design the prestigious seasonal pavilion at London’s Serpentine Gallery. He teaches at the universities in Tokyo, Kyoto and Minato (Keio University). Named the Wall Street Journal’s Architecture Innovator of The Year in 2014, Fujimoto has designed public and private buildings around the world since establishing his atelier in 2000.
Peter Frankfurt | Speaker and Panelist
Peter Frankfurt serves as Executive Creative Director and Managing Partner of award-winning creative studio Imaginary Forces, which he co-founded in 1996. A multi-Emmy award winner whose career as a film producer includes such titles as the Blade Trilogy and Ernest Dickerson's Juice, Peter’s desire for telling stories through design continues to be a guiding light for IF. He has been featured in many publications worldwide, most recently: Time Magazine, Bloomberg, and Entertainment Weekly. His work is displayed in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Peter resides in Los Angeles, California with his wife and two children.
Liam Young | Speaker and Panelist
Liam Young is a speculative architect who operates in the spaces between design, fiction and futures. He is cofounder of Tomorrows Thoughts Today, an urban futures think tank, exploring the local and global implications of new technologies and Unknown Fields, a nomadic research studio that travels on expeditions to chronicle these emerging conditions as they occur on the ground. He has been acclaimed in both mainstream and architectural media, including the BBC, NBC, Wired, Guardian, Time, and Dazed and Confused, is a BAFTA nominated producer and his work has been collected by institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum and MAAS in Sydney. Read more here.
Hitoshi Abe | Moderator, MC, Program Curator
Hitoshi Abe is Principal at AHA (Atelier Hitoshi design) an architectural design firm based in the U.S. and Japan. He is currently an advisor to Japan House Los Angeles, while also a Professor in the Department of Architecture and Urban Design and Director of the Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies, both at UCLA.
Japan House Los Angeles
JAPAN HOUSE is an innovative, worldwide project with three hubs - London, Los Angeles and Sao Paulo - conceived by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The initiative seeks to nurture a deeper understanding and appreciation of Japan in the international community. Located in the heart of Hollywood, JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles serves to showcase the best of Japanese art, design, gastronomy, innovation, technology, and more, offering a rich experience that intrigues the five senses.
Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)
Located in downtown Los Angeles, SCI-Arc is a center of innovation and one of the nation’s few independent architecture schools. SCI-Arc was founded in 1972 in Santa Monica by a group of faculty and students from the Department of Architecture at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, who wanted to approach the subject from a more experimental perspective than traditional schools offered. Originally called the New School, SCI-Arc was based on the concept of a “college without walls,” and it remains one of the few independent architecture schools in the world.