By day, Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham run Tokyo’s Klein-Dytham Architecture — turning inspiration sparked from the convergence of their myriad global influences (she was born in Italy to German parents, schooled in France, and educated in Britain, where the pair met before moving east in 1988) into building-sized testaments to their creative prowess. They just so happen to have designed our new happy place in Tokyo, Daikanyama T-Site, pictured here. By night, Astrid and Mark foster the global movement known as Pecha Kucha. This isn’t the duo’s first stroke of brilliance — Klein-Dytham designs some of the prettiest buildings we’ve seen anywhere, globally inspired but deeply rooted in the minimalist ethos and diverse natural surroundings of life in Japan. They also run an event space, SuperDeluxe, where they invite young designers to think, drink, collaborate, make noise, eat food, share big ideas, and network their little hearts out — and where, way back in 2003, Pecha Kucha was born.
In the hands of the 99% of us for whom public speaking isn’t a life calling, having to present an idea — no matter how jaw-droppingly awesome it actually is — to a room full of people is a particular kind of hell. And watching someone else bury their own great idea under rambling departures from the point and yawn-inducing over-explanations is just as bad — unless you’re hard-pressed for a nap, probably worse. But Klein and Dytham hit the sweet spot, challenging presenters to distill a message into 20 slides, showing each for 20 seconds. In six minutes and forty seconds, you can really only do so much damage — and as it turns out, it’s led to some of the most powerful and profoundly moving storytelling sessions we’ve had the pleasure of witnessing. Tonight, The Cleaners acts as the Portland headquarters of Pecha Kucha Global Night, alongside about 100 other cities hosting similar events. Starting at 7pm, it’s free and open to the public — true to spirit.