Tadashi Kawamata upcycled wood sculpture

Composed of found objects, construction remnants and other offbeat materials, the art installations of Tadashi Kawamata are urban, gritty, in-your-face creations that are site-specific and evolve, twisting and morphing as they grow to monstrous proportions in public spaces.

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Tadashi Kawamata upcycled wood sculpture overhead
Tadashi Kawamata upcycled wood sculpture pallets
Tadashi Kawamata upcycled wood sculpture chairs for abu dhabi

His early work focuses on construction and deconstruction, challenging highly populated built environments with structure and forms composed of common materials usually ignored but impossible to miss in his massive installations that often stack up objects in semi-sacred and highly public squares and spaces. A pioneer of environmental art, Kawamata has made a big splash in the art world, proving that sometimes, having a vision and something important to say is even more valuable than the ability to craft something artistic with your hands.

Tadashi Kawamata upcycled wood sculpture The Nest
Tadashi Kawamata upcycled wood sculpture The Nest Helsinki

In recent times, Kawamata is almost certainly best known by most for his incredible urban treehouses. Like birds nests, these structures appear chaotic, haphazard, organic and out of place in a highly-planned built environment or against the backdrop of classic architectural forms and masonry materials. “The Nest,” for instance, debuted at Amos Rex in Helsinki in May 2022, wowing onlookers with the way it crashes over the building like a wave.

Tadashi Kawamata upcycled wood sculpture Destruction no20
Tadashi Kawamata upcycled wood sculpture The Wave 2016

About Tadashi Kawamata

“Tadashi Kawamata constructs temporary site-specific structures that ask viewers to reassess their environments. Engaging with ideas of home, shelter, and social contexts, Kawamata creates installations in both public and private spaces. Like an architect, he assembles a team to collectively build works based on his project plans and plywood collage studies. Based in both Tokyo and Paris, he has built humble tree huts that perch on building façades in high-profile urban settings, such as the Centre Pompidou and the Place Vendôme, Paris. His in situ works across Europe and America include Cathédrale des Chaises (2012), a nestlike shelter built of stacked chairs, and Under the Water, a ceiling canopy of reclaimed wood.” via Artsy