The Grand Seiko Vision of the Beauty of Time

Vol.2Interplay of light and shadow
that resonates with the
architecture of Tadao Ando

A signature feature of the Grand Seiko style can be found in the ridges formed by planes. The light and shadow created by the beautifully crafted surfaces evoke a uniquely Japanese aesthetic. A similar world view can be noted in the architecture of Tadao Ando. Here, we explore their designs, both of which are so eloquently rendered by shadows.

Tadao Ando’s architecture expressing succinct design aesthetics and a Grand Seiko timepiece with its finely finished dial—they share a common aesthetic sensibility.

Light and shadow create
a uniquely Japanese aesthetic

In an essay by Junichiro Tanizaki, “In Praise of Shadows,” the novelist eulogizes the uniquely Japanese aesthetic created by light and shadow. This concept had a major impact on Japanese architecture and product design as well. One such example is architecture by Tadao Ando, and another is Grand Seiko timepieces, which make full use of light and shadow to create beautiful designs. Huge architectural structures and small wristwatches—while complete opposites in size, they embrace a similar world view and aesthetic sensibility. The changing light and shadow create expressions that change over time, and eventually fade away. The transience of this also strikes a chord in the hearts of those who behold it.