Since our first review of the glorious launch issue of Pleasure Garden, another five issues have been published, each as good – if not better – than the last. Issue six, subtitled ‘A Japanese Dream’ is full of ‘subconscious travels and interpretations of the Land of the Rising Sun’
Issue six kicks off with a pair of front covers but our favourite one is Marton Perlaki’s photograph, an image that will inspire a double take: a mini landscape of plastic fingers scattered on a table. In the foreground sits a particularly crooked one, taller than the tiny Mount Fuji on its right. Towering above them both is a single branch of pink berries, indistinguishable shapes pile up in the background. It’s dreamlike logic: nothing is to scale but somehow everything makes sense.
Inside is run through with links between East and West. Don’t miss the full-page illustration by Tove Jansson that accompanies a feature called ‘Silent Partners’ – a piece remarking on the similarities between Finnish and Japanese design. Both countries celebrate ‘simplicity of living and appreciation of nature’ when it comes to craftsmanship, according to Japanese textile designer Akira Minagawa.
‘My Own Kyoto’ by Amy Merrick is a gem of a piece, a guide to green Kyoto so personal it’s like reading a letter from a friend. Merrick reveals her newfound joy in the ‘ordinary gardens’, the ones ‘not kept behind stone walls’: the flea market that sells orchids the size of bees, or the window behind a sweet stand, where a spray of flowers is changed daily ‘a weekly report of what’s in bloom’.
The photos that follow Merrick’s feature make full use of Pleasure Garden’s massive pages, as does the surreal fashion spread on page 160, more of Marton Perlaki’s finger motifs everywhere. I also particularly enjoy the quotes that often title a page, out of context – in this issue they’re sometimes haikus, sometimes not.
This really is one of the most special issues of any magazine I’ve seen in recent weeks, jam-packed full of secrets. Everything you can imagine is contained in its 200+ pages: cooking, art, travel, photography and stories. And of course there are the gardens, as varied as they are lush.
Editor-in-chief: John Tebbs
Art director: Éric Pillault
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