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Design Concepts of the New Sukyo Mahikari
Spiritual Development Center in New York
Several key concepts guided the design ideas of the new, eco-friendly Sukyo Mahikari Center for Spiritual Development in New York.

Inspiration was derived from the structure of the building itself. The new Sukyo Mahikari Center for Spiritual Development is a vertical center of four floors plus a full basement. Each level represents, in ascending order, the sea, land, and sky.

All of the design decisions are based on the concept of moving from water and earth, or the material aspect, to fire, the spiritual aspect. In the basement, the walls are white, the doors are blue-green-the color of the sea-and the laundry rooms are the pale green of sea foam.

As you enter the first floor, you see blue-gray stone, which represents water, and as you move further along the first floor, it changes to a golden-green stone, representing earth. The first and second floors have wood flooring, and
all the paints are subtle earth colors, with names like "limestone" and "linen." The meeting area on the first floor adjacent to the rear garden is painted a calming green called "wasabi," which symbolizes vegetation nourished by the earth. The colors of the furniture in the meeting area continue this theme.

The only exception to the earth colors on the
first floor is the wall behind the reception desk, where the red letters of Sukyo Mahikari and its emblem are featured. These are designed to be a focal point upon entry into the building and to relate to the design of the fourth floor. The second floor is used for administrative offices.

The director of the center wanted the third and fourth floors, the floors for spiritual use, to be markedly different from the lower floors.
He wanted the upper part of the center's building to be patterned after the main sacred building in Japan. He asked also that the design of the altar inspire awe and wonder.

Therefore, the colors on the top two floors represent fire and the spiritual realm. The walls on the fourth floor are a soft yellow that gradates to a deeper shade as you approach the altar. The altar was designed and
constructed by a Sukyo Mahikari practitioner in collaboration with his family. The rich colors of the fabrics surrounding the altar represent fire-the silk panels on either side, the altar curtains, and the large Roman shade that drops from the ceiling. The gold leaf on the altar represents the sun itself, and was installed as a gift from an expert in wallpaper application, who is a Sukyo Mahikari practitioner in Atlanta.

Combining the blue of water and the red of fire results in purple-the color of the rugs on the top two floors. Even though the rug itself is physically horizontal, therefore, its color contains an element of fire, or the vertical, within.

The selection of artwork-most of which was
donated-followed the same principles, with each floor displaying some aspect of God's presence in nature.
On the first floor, Patricia Nolan, a well-known artist, donated original artwork, which elevates the overall feeling of the space and creates a vibration of beauty and elegance for the whole center. These are the three images of green ferns and golden light that are exhibited just past the reception desk and perfectly relate to the colors in the Sukyo Mahikari emblem displayed over the reception desk. The same artist made a gift of the brilliant images of flowers displayed on the third floor, again designed by the artist to incorporate the colors and other design elements of the space.
The third floor houses photographs of two sacred waterfalls: an image of Iguaçu Falls in South America on the south end of the building, and one of Niagara Falls on the north end. The flower images on this floor are the brilliant purples, reds, and oranges of the spiritual realm that reflect the colors of the floor.
Photographs of sacred architectural buildings of Sukyo Mahikari hang on the fourth floor. In the flower preparation room is a photograph of a flower arrangement by a practitioner of the center who is an Ikebana flower arrangement master, capturing all the colors of the fourth floor.
The room where flowers arrangements are prepared incorporates a backsplash that depicts two white cranes. These special tiles, along with the two beautiful kitchen backsplashes, were donated by Pratt and Larson Ceramics, a high-end custom tile factory. Also donated were the cutting-edge recycled counters in the kitchens on the first and second floors and in the flower arranging room, as well as the attractive recycled glass mosaics in all five restrooms.
The artwork and their frames were selected to harmonize with each other and with the concept of the entire building. The frames for the first two floors are wood or silver, representing the earth and moon. The frames on the top two floors are white or gold, representing the spiritual realm and the sun.
The photographs in the stairway are planned to continue the theme of ascendance and expansion. In the first floor stairwell will be an image of New York City, the vibrant home of this center. The second floor stairwell will display an image of North America. On one side of the third floor stairwell will be an image of the earth, and on the other will be an image of earth within the solar system. Finally, on the fourth floor landing, just outside the main hall, will be a photographic image of the universe.