On the evening of October 4th, 2014, the Villa Kujoyama in Kyoto, Japan, will reopen its doors after two years of renovations. Modeled after the Villa Medici art residency in Rome, the Villa Kujoyama program is supported by the Institut de France as well as the generosity of private donors such as the French business leader Pierre Bergé and the Bettancourt-Schueller Foundation.
For its official inauguration, to be held in the presence of the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Laurent Fabius, the prestigious French cultural institution has commissioned the multi-talented French designer José Lévy to create a special scenography.
Perched on a mountain overlooking Japan’s former imperial capital, the Villa Kujoyama will be inaugurated after nightfall and illuminated solely by 460 custom-made Diptyque scented candles. This luminous and olfactory circuit leads to the villa’s terrace, where Lévy’s “Le Veilleur” (“Watchman”), a seven-meter high samurai lantern, will preside over the event and gaze out over Kyoto city. Inspired in part by Japan’s renowned nebuta fire festivals, this unique piece is a natural continuation of Lévy’s creative work as a Villa Kujoyama laureate, in 2011. It is also a very personal artistic tribute to the designer’s affinity for Japanese art and culture, a story that began during his childhood years spent with his grandparents, the owners of a very special martial arts shop in the heart of Paris….