House of Light by James Turrell
We've been long inspired by the idea of color therapy — using color and light to balance energy centers in the body — that our dual-colored packaging is, in fact, a reference to this. Different hues evoke different responses because certain colors are considered either stimulating or soothing, with an impact on mood and emotion.
The effects of chromotherapy is well understood by the artist James Turrell, widely known for his work within the Light and Space movement. In Japan, he built the House of Light, manifesting this concept into a physical form.
Last fall, we took to the road to finally experience the house he built in Niigata, on the west coast of Japan.
Designed for meditation, the House of Light demonstrates the effect of light and color on our experience with our surroundings. Turrell built his futuristic art pieces into alcoves of a traditional Japanese house, with bursts of serene color and light filtering through select parts of the house.
Outside, the balcony overlooks trees over Shinano River; inside, the space is bathed in soft shadows and varying shades of light.
One of our most unique experiences is having watched the sun set in this house.
"Outside In" is an art installation on a sliding panel in the roof which opens up to reveal the subtle changes in light that take place from midday to sunset. Our backs against the tatami floor, we looked up at the window above framing changes in the sky as it shifts from pearly alabaster to deep navy. With clever light work, Turrell washed the entire ceiling in ethereal glowing light. First, in delicate blush hues and then in striking cobalt tones to further emphasize the blue-ness of the sky. It's hypnotic at every angle.
A soak in the house's private onsen is made more remarkable cloaked in darkness save for strips of fiber-optic lights that shift from one primary tone to another. Like a palate cleanser, it stripped us of our senses; we can only focus on the sensation of the healing, hot spring water on our skin.
Post-soak, stone steps lead us outside to be enveloped once again by wild nature, refreshed, awakened anew — a rebirth for our body and soul.