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Message from the Partner

Last Updated: 2008.02.26
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Tadao ANDO, the initiator of Setouchi Olive Foundation

Why and how did you start the partnership with UNIQLO?

I launched Setouchi Olive Foundation together with Mr. Kohei Nakabo in autumn of 2000. Soon after the foundation was established, I was introduced to Mr. Yanai by Mr. Tota Nagao, painter, who has been a friend of mine for 30 years. We asked for support of UNIQLO since our foundation seemed to share common values with UNIQLO's brand image and the company's perspective towards environment.

In the beginning, we were not sure if a successful company such as UNIQLO, that has been growing rapidly, would take interest in our small environmental activity. But the response from the company was very positive. We were deeply encouraged when MR.Yanai 's commented, "This is a very important activitiy."

Why did you start Setouchi Olive Foundation, and not something else?

Setouchi Olive Foundation is a movement that was initiated from islanders' sincere desire to restore the areas natural environment in order to pass on to the future generations. Throughout the 20th century,mass-production and mass consumption has destroyed the natural beauty of many areas. As a result, we have destroyed the nature. The outcome was most visibly presented on the Setouchi islands. Due to the waste disposal, overhunting of soil and rocks, and poison gas emitted from industrial areas nearby, the green has been lost. The beautiful nature has been long gone. Every time I see the sight, I felt terrible. I questioned whether there is something we can do about it. I discussed the issue with Mr. Nakabo, who has fought together with the islanders on the Teshima incident, and we decided to start the foundation.

What do you expect from UNIQLO in the future?

I cannot thank UNIQLO more for the support UNIQLO has already extended to our project-such as corporate donations, setting up donation boxes in all stores, funding of our lecture meetings, and more. If there were anything more I would expect, I would ask the company to further practice its environmental commitment, and take an active role in reviving the nature through tangible efforts such as planting trees.

Tadao ANDO

Profile: Tadao Ando,
Organizer of the Setouchi Olive Foundation

Born in Osaka in 1941, Ando studied architecture on his own, and in 1969 opened his own studio, Tadao Ando Architects & Associates.
In 1979, his Row House Sumiyoshi won the Annual Prize of the Architectural Institute of Japan. He then won the Gold Medal of Architecture from the French Academy of Architecture (1989), the Carlsberg Architectural Prize in Denmark (1992), the Japan Art Academy Prize (1993), and, in 1995, the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize.
In 2003 he was named a Person of Cultural Merit in his homeland, and in 2005 won the Gold Medal of the International Union of Architects.
He has had major successes with exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1991) and the Pompidou Centre in Paris (1993) among others.
Although he has no degree in architecture, he has been a visiting professor at Yale, Harvard and Columbia universities. In 1997, he became a professor at the University of Tokyo and is now an Honorary Professor there.
Ando has continued to put forth plans for a new style of architecture that works in harmony with the environment. Some of his representative works include the Church of the Light, the Chikatsu- Asuka Museum in Osaka, and the Hyogo Prefectural Awaji Yumebutai International Conference Center.

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