I started working on this from making the model based on many idea sketches as I normally do. Those sketches were drawn at different time of day and places, and on various sheets of paper.
I first work on the models in most cases since I personally think that showing the three-dimensional models to the clients is much faster and more accurate way to transmit my ideas to them than showing the drawings.
At this point in time I am particular about the touches and colors of everything I make, so that they are what I intend them to be like when it is finished. Setting aside the reduction rate, I make the models with accurate reduction with a calculator beside me. I do that because the models with accurate reduction make it easier for the drawings to be done.
On the other hand, when I decide to give priority to myself being into my work or being encouraged, I occasionally let myself make them without scaling. Needless to say, that would put me into difficult situations later.
As you can see in the photographs, I make each model in fine details because I would like my clients to have the right pictures of what it looks like from different perspectives with vivid images as if they are actually looking at it when it is finished.
Making the models in fine details brings the benefit of being able to reasonably foresee the procedures afterwards and the expenses needed.
Best of all, models cannot make up any fantasies such as the perspective drawings of finished work, that have some fleecy clouds floating in the blue sky with the trees and green leaves rustling. I show the models to my clients as much as possible also because it is a token of great faith of Hoshinogumi.
The fun part of model making is to go to paint stores and hobby model stores to look for materials, or to go to different places to collect some reference books. Or, should I call it the most favorite moment for me through the entire construction processes?
What we thought indispensable in order to reproduce and reconstruct the legendary Kowloon Walled City that is now the phantom, was those signs that fill up the entire city and the varieties of numberless posters on the walls without any spaces left between them. These things are not available in Tokyo of course, therefore there is nothing else we can do but make everything from the beginning.
We did not hesitate to visit different secondhand stores to get various hand properties we would need to produce things that show people’s living - bird cages and chairs, the household electrical appliances such as televisions and fans, and also the teacups and posters of Bruce Lee. At the same time we visited the one-dollar stores and general stores whenever we had time to look for things that would have good tastes when they are distressed (to give worn-out touches by scratching or denting them) followed by aging.
Speaking of what represents the city of Hong Kong, is the high-rise apartment buildings and the bird cages on its balconies that jut out from the walls of each apartments. Kowloon Walled City is no exception but has numberless cages that show stronger individualities with even more chaotic and brutal touches than what Hong Kong now has. Those cages are absolutely indispensable for Kowloon Walled City. As you could not find them in Japan we asked our good partners from Studio Ban to make the perfect Kowloon taste cages for us.
The garbage left on the butcher’s tent and the tin roofs are also indispensable in reproducing Kowloon Walled City. I insisted on using the genuine article and asked my friend and her family in Hong Kong to send a box of their house garbage all the way to Japan (I was later told that they were totally confused about my request. I would like to give special thanks to them for their cooperation.).
The tin mailboxes are from Hong Kong. We got them after negotiating with the residents of the apartment when we were there for research. The acryl-made old electrical sign under the beam of the well of the second floor is from Hong Kong, too. We came across when they were replacing it to the brand-new one on the street. We were told that they were just throwing the old one away, so we simply asked them to give it to us.
The posters written in Cantonese seen in every scene in the Computerized Kowloon Walled City were made by Photoshop using the Japanese-Cantonese dictionary but all other characters on the sings are handwritten.
We did not want any falsehood there either, so I sent the data to Jacqueline, my friend in Hong Kong, who did the final check.
I can always print the characters but I strongly prefer handwriting for the signs since it has much more tasteful and powerful individuals.
Each character on the signs are handwritten with brushes by Mr. Kamata, the representative director of AZUL, Inc. who is technically superior to us.
Mr. Kamata is not only a super top-ranking technique holder but is a great person whom I always highly respect.
After all, the eye-catcher of this computerized Kowloon Walled City is nothing but the aging.
I started designing it based on the idea of transforming the exterior of a household electrical appliance store only by aging.
The processes were under very difficult conditions. First of all, it took a considerable amount of time just to shift our positions on the scaffolds set up along the glassy walls that goes on vertically. In addition, we could not do what we usually do - to step back and check what we have just done from distance and fix it repeatedly.
In spite of feeling stressed, our painting team did a really good job, I conclude. Each part of the well is made in the finest details, and more than that the finishing of it is so dense and outstanding that it gives the sense of its smell and humidity by using our super aging techniques.
We had set the scene - the stores with their fire shutters closed, so we did the aging to give a quite heavy impression to it. It operates perfectly as well.
In many occasions we either have to or should make some changes in the original plans of the finishing processes or the designs to coordinate the entire balance and the conditions of progress. What I always put in my mind is that I do not focus on making changes but adding changes with some new ideas adopted in them so that we have further progress. For example, many window frames placed in the well are all made by aluminum. However, we thought the wooden window frames would fit nicer as we looked through many different reference photographs, so we used the aging techniques to make them look like wood. A small change like this makes big differences in entire atmosphere.
Making small changes in details is not only but also making dramatic changes in the appearance of things effectively is another tremendous thing about aging. I would like to express my gratitude to the genius for aging, Naruhiko Teradea who has exercised his skills in all our work since the establishment of Hoshinogumi.
I have known him for almost 17 years now. He was the one who introduced me to Mr. Kamata.
With his long career and artistic tastes he has cultivated, he has been the leader alone of our painting team in all the work of Hoshinogumi. This time he and Yo Yokouchi, another genius acted as the paint team lead art directors deciding to broadly divide the wide work range into the interior and the exterior so that we could work more efficiently.
I believe that it would be extremely difficult to find people like our team members to work with -- not only in Japan but any other places in the world.
I believe so indeed.