Cube Garden


created by TAKASHI AMANO

Cube Garden

Under the concept of simplicity, the entirely glass-made aquarium “Cube Garden” was born free from frame which had been deemed essential for aquarium tanks. In fact, this “aquarium just like a cube of water which reflects the aesthetics of nature” was a kind of sensation when it was launched. Then, what inspired the birth of this sensational aquarium?

“Nature Aquarium is a piece of living nature where an ecosystem exists”

“Anything blocking the aquascape is unnecessary. Nature Aquarium is a piece of living nature where an ecosystem exists; with its beautiful aquascape decorated by colorful aquatic plants expanding to infinity in your imagination,” said Takashi Amano. Conventional types of aquarium tank are mostly practical and usually have blue or black plastic frames and a thick layer of silicon on glass joints. Amano further said, “As a photographer who has been taking aquascape photographs for a long time, I could not stand aquarium tanks with frames and thick silicon. There was a big gap between those aquariums and my ideal image. Why I wanted to make my original aquarium tank was because I wanted to create my ideal aquarium tank, rather than making an aquarium tank for sale. I pursued an aquarium tank which makes layout look very attractive on a canvas called Nature Aquarium, just like a cube of water.”

“In this modern society where practicality is valued, there is a culture we mustn’t forget especially in the relationship between human being and other living creatures”

In 1994, Cube Garden Superior was launched with the Amano’s belief of shaping what he wants. This aquarium tank uses special heatproof glass sheets joined without silicon glue. In making of an aquarium as large as 60 x 30 x 36cm, joining of glass sheets is impossible without craftsman’s outstanding skill. The Cube Garden is produced by craftsmen with utmost care. “I made an aquarium free from silicon joints to make it appear like a glass sphere. I thought it would be necessary to propose an artwork-like aquarium tank for aquarium culture. That’s why I didn’t think much about business at that time.” Originally, Japan has a long tradition of appreciating goldfish in a glass bowl since the Edo Period (a few hundred years ago). Many of handcrafted goldfish bowl are decorated with a trim, colored edge or carved legs and this shows the aesthetic sensibility unique to Japanese people. Amano pointed out that it also represents a wish to keep living creatures in a beautiful bowl or something else beautiful, saying, “Aquarium tank must not simply be a container to keep aquatic plants and fish inside. In this modern society where practicality is valued, there is a culture we mustn’t forget especially in the relationship between human being and other living creatures.”

“A passion for one thing leads to a new standard”

Cube Garden Superior referred to as a ‘cube of water’ was developed under the ultimate concept and it opened us to a boundless horizon of aquascaping. Nevertheless, it was very hard to popularize this product due to the size limitation (only up to W60cm available) caused by special materials used and production method adopted. It was also due to its significantly high price compared to ordinary aquarium tanks. Subsequently, the Cube Garden Series was launched as the popular edition of Cube Garden Superior. This series was produced in the pursuit of ideal aquarium tank and under the same concept of “product making by shaping what I want”. The ultimately simple frameless design of Cube Garden, consisting of joined glass only, is backed by the high quality glass and silicon as well as outstanding craftsmanship. Compared with Cube Garden Superior, this Cube Garden has some advantages such as flexibility and pricing. By using thicker glass sheets, the large size of Cube Garden aquariums can be made. Amano also focused on the color of the glass used. He said, “Colored glass makes the entire layout look darker because the aquarium water and fish are tinted with glass color. The glass used for Cube Garden must be clear so that the layout in the aquarium looks bright and attractive. This type of glass is very sensitive and easily gets scratch or damage; therefore the price is very high. Still, ADA places greater importance on the bright and clear looking of aquascape.” Today, many aquarium manufacturer are selling frameless aquarium tanks. It goes without saying that the advent of this Cube Garden gave a huge impact on aquarium industry. “I have been pursuing the originality. A passion for one thing leads to a new standard,” said Amano.

“The Cube Garden Series truly represents the concept of ADA”

The novelty and originality of Cube Garden also encompasses the stainless steel hooks for placing glass cover on Cube Garden and the stand on which Cube Garden is installed. Unlike the conventional aquarium tanks for which a glass cover is placed on its top frame, the frameless Cube Garden requires support for placing glass cover on it. Amano even got rid of this support and instead, came up with an idea of small and unobtrusive stainless steel hook. Subsequently, the steel aquarium stand Garden Stand, Wood Cabinet and Plain Cabinet were also developed. “It is important that aquarium tanks have a simple structure to bring out the beauty of aquascape. So, I wanted to make an extremely simple aquarium cabinet,” said Amano. What he required of ADA original cabinets is the design that matches Cube Garden and blends into any space, along with toughness and safety. In the ultimate pursuit of such a simple design, Cube Cabinet was created using the same glass materials as Cube Garden. Aquarium tanks used for Nature Aquarium have been evolved in close connection with two factors; functionality and attractiveness as an interior item. Takashi Amano commented on Cube Garden, “I have been introducing the joy of thinking of a layout, creating an aquascape and producing more attractive space. I have been striving to evolve the design of ADA full system in these 20 years and I think the Cube Garden Series truly represents the concept of ADA.”