Kumi Okumura








In Spring of 2021 I premiered a private art room in the village of Asuka in Nara Prefecture. My art room resembles an historic Japanese building, and I chose the name “quoto” because of both its meaning and connection. It means something that is both modest, yet elegant at the same time. It also conveys the spiritual connection I feel between places: the historical city of Naniwa, Osaka, the small island of Nakanoshima, and Asuka.
For many years I have been surrounded with works of contemporary art. But lately I find myself drawn to the essential beauty of ordinary, but refined things, including food, fashion, and living. When you introduce a work of art into your life it changes how you feel and improves your quality of life. But how you feel does not depend on how much the art cost, but rather how those feelings align with your core values and principles. By naming this space “quoto” I hope to express my commitment to offering art that enhances your quality of life, beyond just owning art.
The primary goal in designing “quoto” was to maintain the simple beauty of traditional, venerable Japanese architecture and materials, such as washi (rice paper), shoji (traditional Japanese door or room divider), and nurikabe (hand plastered walls). The space was designed by Yoshiaki Nagasaka of Studio Hitotomori, with lighting and illumination designed by Hiroyuki Nagatomi of New Light Pottery. We believe it represents a refined, universal space while remaining distinctly Japanese.
The word “quoto” is from the archaic language spoken in the ancient city of Naniwa. Naniwa was an important historical city located near the present-day Osaka city center. Nakanoshima is a small island, also near the Osaka city center. More importantly for me, Nakanoshima is also the location where for the past eight years I have planned, organized, and nurtured a small art fair: Art Nakanoshima. So, in addition to its meaning, I also chose the name “quoto” because, for me, it spiritually connects Nakamoshima with Asuka. Moreover, with 1,400 years of history, Asuka is the perfect location for my art room because it is an essential component of the coexistence of architecture and nature. The space has a sensual feel, combining natural sunlight with the surrounding gardens. When the windows are open, the space merges with the gardens, and one can experience the comfortable breezes, singing birds, and the natural smells.
Therefore, I believe “quoto” is the natural result of the challenge of incorporating modern art into modern lifestyles by using a traditional space located away from the typical glamour of a cosmopolitan space. I also hope “quoto” helps deepens your appreciation of modern art and provides a place of connection and exchange.


Lighting and Illumination Design: NEW LIGHT POTTERY
Construction: Burg Design Banker
Ikebana Flower Arrangements: MITATE