Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, Tokyo

In the early 1920s, Imperial Prince Asaka Yasuhiko left his home in Japan to undertake military studies in France. After a car accident in Paris, his wife Princess Nobuko joined him and together they developed an interest in Art Deco. They both attended the Exposition Internationale des Art Decoratifs et Industriels Moderne in Paris in July 1925.

Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art MuseumA few years after returning to Tokyo, Prince Asaka had a residence built for his family. It was completed in 1933 to plans from the Design & Construction Section of the Ministry of Imperial Household. It is a great looking building to come from such a stuffy sounding organisation.

The interior was largely designed by Frenchman Henri Rapin but one of the highlights is the front entrance featuring four frosted glass panels by the Rene Lalique. The panels are every bit as beautiful as any of Lalique’s delicate vases.

The building now houses the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum which allows the public to view the house and grounds as well as the current exhibitions. I stuck it lucky when I visited the Museum since there was an Art Deco exhibition on at the time. I don’t remember much detail of the exhibits since they were labelled in Japanese but that’s OK I can appreciate things for their style alone. I don’t need to know everything about an object.


  1. Hi David. Just stumbled across your great Deco Blog and thought I'd point you to two articles on deco buildings we've posted this year, due to their relationship to Rene Lalique. One is about the history of the Metropolitan Teien Art Museum in Tokyo which is how your blog caught our eye this morning, and the other is about the Oviatt Building in LA, an iconic Deco structure built for another guy that was in Paris at the 1925 Expo. Anyway, you have a great blog, and here are the addresses (if I typed them right): and If you run across other Deco Buildings with Lalique architectural components, please keep us in mind to let us know. Greg

  2. Thanks for visiting Greg.
    The links work and they are great reading. Thanks for bringing them to my attention. They are both fantastic buildings and I consider myself very lucky to have visited both and been into that amazing Oviatt Building penthouse.

  3. Hi David. That penthouse, even without all the outdoor accouterments that were previously there, would still be a great place to hang out. And of course, when that building was built, downtown LA was a bit different. It was was supposed to have had an ocean view back then. Amazing. Anyway, nice blog. Greg