Too Much #6
‘There are so many ways of looking at the built environment,’ editor Yoshi Tsujimura of Too Much tells me, ‘But we didn’t want to think about the built environment in terms of geography, landscapes and cities.’ Instead, Too Much is a magazine of ‘Romantic Geography’ – and as Yoshi explains, that means that they’re interested in the things that ‘spaces can invoke in people: powerful memories, stories, a sense of wonder and horror.’
Unlike Europe-based favourites like Flaneur or Space Magazine - which are similarly interested in the stories smuggled beneath a building’s stones – Tokyo-based Too Much still very much comes from an architectural background and point of view. I like to think of it as a (perfect) combination of the magic and wonder found in Flaneur and the rigour and architectural theory found in digital magazine Uncube.
For the new issue – which has taken them a year to complete – the editorial team first decided to make an issue about gardens, especially gardens in Japan. Slowly they realised that what they were interested in wasn’t gardens at all but actually nature, and the places where the natural and the man-made intersect. The name of issue six, ‘Fake Mountain’, summarises their idea, taken from an article about a building in Shanghai that is decorated with a bulging mountain scape (above).
The piece interviews the architect of the monstrous shape as well as the people who live in the neighbourhood in what is true Too Much style – it’s a magazine not just interested in the facts, but the myths and emotions behind a place too. Beautiful photos by Naoki Ishikawa of Indonesian cave paintings explore another space where natural stone and human intellect meet (below).
Spreads are densely packed and effervescent (above), and often reverse headlines out of images, an uncommon trait in today’s indies, to create a sense of texture (below) well suited to the rocky imagery that permeates the issue. Everything in the issue makes you wish you could reach through into the papery pages and touch what’s in the photo – like a collection of oozing colourful ceramics (below), which stand out all the more against a stark black background.
A sense of touch and texture is important to the theme of this issue – evoked again by the crumpled fabrics of a fashion spread, a shoot printed on glossy paper (above). The contrast of gloss and wrinkled trouser creates an intriguing tension, and the shoot reminds me of the hazy but intense boredom captured in Sophia Coppola’s ‘Lost in Translation’.
An article on a city within a forest (above), and another on the landscaping surrounding the new Olympic stadium takes an an encyclopedia-like approach to combining image and text.
Although cleanly designed, there is nothing clinical or distant about Too Much – it’s a touching, intimate magazine, full of articles that genuinely explore the emotions of architecture and space. The theme of ‘Fake Mountain’ is very pure and taps into that odd but exhilarating tension between wilderness and cultivated space, between what comes naturally, and what is made up and invented.
Editor: Yoshi Tsujimura
Art Director: Akinobu Maeda