Cibrèo Restaurant, ‘The Wall’, Tokyo

-ザ・ウォール –’ ‘The Wall’, Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan


In 1990, Brian designed an integral artwork in the form of a stained glass screen for architect Nigel Coates’ building ‘The Wall’ in Tokyo. Running along the full length and height of the main dining room of Cibrèo, an Italian restaurant occupying the top floors of the Post-Modern building, a latticework of leaded blue squares makes up the base of the subtly-canted wall of mouth-blown glass, the majority of which is a milky white. Subtly streaked with blue, this opalescent field, across which plays a calligraphic sequence of amorphs, the cut-out forms which were Clarke's visual fingerprint through much of the 1980s and 90s, is interrupted at one point by a brilliant rectangle of red. Intimate in scale, the movement of daylight fills the room with a changing wash of colour. The interior of the restaurant, founded by Florentine restaurateur Fabio Picki, was designed by Naoki Iijima and Marcia Iwatate; a blue canvas in oils from Brian's Sienna paintings was also produced as part of the interior scheme. 'The Wall' is located next to Nigel Coates' Penrose Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA), a sister building of the London Institute for Contemporary Art, at the Nishi-Azabu Kasumicho intersection. 

The painted, hand-cut collaged design (later reworked by Brian at 1:1 scale, with revisions, for the fabrication of the work) has three figures from fashion shoots at Brian’s 80s New York studio, photographed by Yoshihiko Ueda, where sitters included Miles Davis, Alan Ginsberg, Andy Warhol, Annie Leibowitz, Tony Shafrazi and Brian himself. The 516 square foot glass artwork uses a mix of daylight and concealed lighting to function through an 18-hour day, both within the restaurant and when viewed from the exterior, screening diners off from the outside world, appearing like sliced alabaster in the day and as a glowing wall of nocturnal stained glass at night.

"The top floor of a five-storey Nigel Coates building in Tokyo, the Cibrèo restaurant is, in comparison to other Brian Clarke projects, very intimate in scale. Responding to the limited space Clarke designed a work passive in colouration, interrupted by very restrained dynamic elements that recall his earlier painterly interest in Japanese screen painting and calligraphy." – from the 1993 monograph Designs on Architecture.

Architect: Nigel Coates; interior architect: Naoki Iijima. 48 square metres (516 sq ft) of stained glass.