all photos by Sadao Hotta
Shima Kitchen was originally built in 2010 as part of the Setouchi International Art Festival. It was designed by architect Ryo Abe, who has continued to visit the island for the past 10 years, making small improvements, structural enhancements and replacing roof material. New photographs capture it in its current state, which serves as a community eatery and event space where locals and visitors can come together under a single roof to enjoy good food and art.
The Setouchi International Art Festival in 2010 was a turning point for Teshima Island, which had been subject to one of Japan’s worst cases of illegal dumping. Last year marked the 20-year anniversary since residents of Teshima reached a settlement with the prefecture over the illegal dumping of industrial waste and set in motion a massive cleanup project that would last through the next decade.
To reinvent itself, Ryo Abe worked with the local community to reunite people and welcome visitors back to the island. Shima Kitchen was built in the center of village and was made from an abandoned house. “Mostly, these houses are old, and their facades are covered with traditional charr- burned wooden panels,” says Abe. “We co-opted this material to use for an awning running through the trees for shade. Over the years, this roof material will become worn by wind, rain, and storms.”
Shima Kitchen continues to act as a public cafe and event space. Teshima is one of our favorite islands and should definitely be on your list of places to visit, after the pandemic is over of course.