Last November, TeamLab, a Japanese collective of architects, designers, artists, programmers and engineers, installed a large-scale retrospective of its work at the Miraikan National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo.
The two main interactive digital art exhibitions of the retrospective – “Digital Art” that toured the world in 2014, and “Learn and Play! teamLab Future Park” experience park for children – have been so popular at the Miraikan that the show has been extended till May 1, 2015.
In addition to the two exhibitions, the installation event has also included new pieces and components that have rotated from time to time.
One of the recently re-installed pieces is the interactive experience called Floating Flower Garden that involves more than 2,300 living and growing plants suspended from the ceiling.
The plants interact with the visitor so that the plants closest to the viewer float up while the others stay lower. This creates a cocoon or a personal, airy flowering “room” with the viewer at its centre.
The plants are constantly in motion reacting to the movements of the viewers. If several people approach an area simultaneously, the plants react by re-creating the space around them.
TeamLab describes the thinking behind this meditative space: “Japanese Zen gardens are said to have been born as a place for Zen priests to carry out training so that they can become one with nature. The garden is a microcosm of the vastness of the surrounding natural mountain areas where they gathered to train.”
TeamLab’s group of “ultra-technologists” is lead by 38-year-old CEO Toshiyuki Inoko who co-founded TeamLab in 2001. He is also currently serving as a creative industry private sector expert for the Cool Japan project by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. - Tuija Seipell
When the annual London Collections fashion show opens, brands strive to out-do each other not just with their seasonal fashion shows but also with the parties and events.
This year, heritage menswear brand Thomas Pink offered up an unusual setting for the brand’s launch party at the venerable London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts. A cocktail bar made of paper.
Thomas Pink joined with the 170-year-old paper brand James Cropper to produce a stunning centerpiece bar for the launch of Pink’s London-inspired Fall/Winter 2015 collection.
Designer Sam Robins of design studio Flow Creation envisioned the white Corinthian columns and mouldings of the ICA, the pristine white men’s shirt and the White Kendal Manilla paper and created a free-standing bar with paper glasses, lamps and architectural detailing. At the end of the event, VIPs were handed pink pens so that they could leave their personal marks on the white paper surfaces. Tuija Seipell.
In the world of fashion, luxury brands, excess and opulence, brands must shout louder and louder – or at least create something dramatically different and new - to be heard, to be noticed, to cut through the noise, to make an impact.
Moderation or modesty have never been Karl Lagerfeld’s style (an iceberg from Sweden being among his best-known past props), so once again this year, he selected a buzz-worthy location to showcase Chanel’s 2014/2015 cruise collection.
This year’s event was a glitzy do with wall-to-wall actresses, stars and princesses and 300 representatives of the world’s most influential fashion media, on a manmade island – THE Island - off the coast of Dubai.
For one night, and sparing no cost, Chanel miraculously conjured up running water, palm trees, luxury shelter and yes, also a full-scale fashion show with all the necessary AV and ambiance.
And yes, plied with that much gutsy craziness, star power and money, the world’s media has, indeed, noticed. Most likely, Chanel and Karl would call it a success. The rest of us are still slightly blinded by the glitz, wondering how far brands are willing to go to gain attention. - Tuija Seipell.
With our fascination with both minimalism and colour, we’ve kept an eye on Emmanuelle Moureaux, the French-born and Tokyo-based architect famous for her use of candy-hued colours in many of her projects.
Since 2003, she’s run her own Architecture and design firm in Tokyo.
Her solo exhibition, “100 Colours” is currently on at the Shinjuku Mitsui Bldg., 55 Square, Tokyo, as part of the Shinjuku Creators Festa 2013.
For many years, Moreaux has explored the use of colour and the use of the traditional Japanese paper screens as dividers. Many of her projects in retail, hospitality and public spaces express some combination of the two, using colourful screens as dividers and using colour as a space maker. - Tuija Seipell.
See also The Power of Colour
We have written about a Nike store display by the Finland-born, Amsterdam-based illustrator Kustaa Saksi before, but this time, it is his fantastical paper display at the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair that drew our attention.
Saksi and Swedish architect Gert Wingårdh created the breathtaking display for the Fair’s third annual combined exhibition and talk show area called Hello!
The project is an initiative by the Fair to inspire and start a conversation about contemporary and future workplaces. This year’s theme was Communication.
Saksi created the intricate and delicate display from 1120 stacks of A4-size paper (total of 700,000 sheets of paper) suspended from 44,000 points in the ceiling. Ceiling frescoes, church domes, altars – these were all part of the inspiration for Saksi and Wingårdh who concluded that paper is still them most commonly used means of communication and therefor the perfect material for the display.
The Finnish forestry and paper giant Stora Enso donated the paper for the space that also hosts uses seminars and panel discussions. Tuija Seipell
Photos by Tord-Rikard Söderström
Rope, wood and 39 foam board flowers decorated with fashion patterns. These were the elements of a display of Spanish children’s shoe brands at the 76th annual children’s fashion fair, FIMI (Feria Internacional de Moda Infantil) in Valencia, Spain, at the end of January.
Valencia-based design studio Masquespacio with designer Ana Milena Hernández Palacios at the helm of the project, was charged with creating a stand-out exhibit for the shoes amid the colourful children's fashion exhibitors. They needed to achieve the results by using either materials already in the Fair’s warehouse or materials that could be manufactured at a low cost internally.
Foamboard and vinyl became the key elements for the two-sided flowers, clouds and circles, hand-cut by the fair’s sign makers. When suspended from the ceiling with nylon line, the pastel-hued mobile twirled lightly in the space.
The trees at either end were part of an earlier exhibition, but reused for this stand as a place to hang the information of each of the 39 participating brands.
We like the overall effect of juicy warmth and crafty playfulness achieved with very few elements yet expressing an idyllic child’s world effortlessly. The shoes appear as if they were an afterthought, which makes the display even more appealing, considering that the fair’s visitors were seasoned children's fashion experts who were perfectly capable of zeroing in on the shoes without the display pushing them in their faces. Tuija Seipell
Exposition: David Rodríguez from Cualiti
There’s something about hot air balloons that makes us all smile. Perhaps it’s the colours, the roundness, the weightlessness? Or maybe it is our eternal desire to fly, to be weightless, to float happily in the air?
At home, colourful balloons have been used to decorate parties, and maybe that is one of the reasons why we associate all balloons with fun and happy times from early childhood on.
Outside the home, massive inflatables often decorate celebratory parades, with Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade the best known and oldest (since 1924).
Balloons are part of store openings and sale events, and they create brand awareness in TV commercials and crowd gatherings. Blimps float above baseball stadiums and inside hockey arenas, sometimes towing banners with commercial messages.
Balloons have also been a part of movies, from Jules Verne's Phileas Fogg’s stylish voyage in Around the world in 80 days in the 1956 movie, to Karl Fredricksen’s trip to Paradise Falls in his house lifted by thousands of balloons in Disney/Pixar’s Up (2009).
At country fairs and all kinds of festivals, hot air balloon rides are a big draw and a once-in-a lifetime experience for many.
Interestingly, hot air balloons – like so many technological inventions including the internet – have their beginnings in the military. Unmanned balloons were used in China for military signaling and other purposes more than 2000 years ago.
It’s also been amazing to learn how big a hobby hot air ballooning has become for thousands of people today! Large festivals and races take place around the world with competition categories ranging from speed to size to creativity. It seems that our fascination with balloons will continue for another couple of millennia. - Tuija Seipell
If you have recently seen a super-cool balloon, please let us know!
We have experienced dozens of brand and product launches. Much of the time, we are not impressed. Small baby-steps, same-old-same-old, reiterations of existing and stale ideas, broken brand promises, confusing off-brand presentations, mind-numbing marketing-speak, boring PR. Blah blah blah.
No matter how much we are lavished and pampered with free trips and swag, if we are not impressed, we are not impressed, and we will not write about it. If it’s not cool, it’s not cool. Simply, if it does not resonate with us, we will not write about it.
That is the integrity you our readers expect of us, and we expect it of ourselves, too. So, when we sometimes do publish a sponsored post, we always make it clear that it is a sponsored post. This is not one of them.
We’ve attended Mercedes launches before and not written about them. But this time, they got us excited! The last few days in L.A. have shown us that Mercedes is serious about creating cool concepts and producing cars that are more edgy, sporty, cool and engaging for a younger audience, a group whose language they have not spoken before.
Waiters in black t-shirts with tuxedo print which makes it look like a short sleeve jacket - cool idea
We love it that Mercedes is really trying to do something different. In cars, in events, in branching out, in their approach to reaching a new audience.
The “multidisciplinary festival” we attended last Thursday at The Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in L.A. is called Transmission L.A: AV CLUB - presented by The Avant/Garde Diaries and curated by Mike D of the Beastie Boys.
The festival runs from April 20 to May 6 and it is free and open to the public. It is a mixture of contemporary art, design, music, film and food.
The star vehicle of the event is the Mercedes-Benz Concept Style Coupé, the new midsize four-door luxury coupé scheduled for market launch next year.
With the release of the A class later this year, Mercedes started to approach the younger, savvy consumer market. They’ve had to rethink and redevelop their design strategy and marketing but, while the car drives beautifully, the look does not match the promises hinted at during the concept stage. We wanted more. Bolder, edgier, something that really does draw the eye.
We think this latest concept, the Mercedes-Benz Concept Style Coupé, has the potential to make a splash. This week in L.A. Mercedes certainly pulled out all the stops with the festival, celebrations and parties attended by the Who is Who in hipster L.A.
Mercedes launched this new car in a way they have not launched before. They understand that street art matters and they enlisted Mike D of the Beastie Boys to bring into this international meeting point of the avant garde his favorite artists and musicians, including Benjamin Jones, Mike Mills, Tom Sachs, Lauren Mackler from Public Fiction, Sage Vaughn, Isaac from Still House Group, Peter Coffin, Roy Choi and Will Fowler.
Mercedes had the new car as part of an installation with headphones you listen to while the lights above created a light show on the car, bathing the “new baby” in a cool artistic shower. Very impressive.
We have been to many, many car launches before and they are mostly boring. This one was different and interesting, with lots of talking points and lots of ways to engage the audience.
Here's a video of what the exhibition looks like. Go visit it while it’s still on! - Bill Tikos
Just like fireworks, originally used in celebrations to reach up to and greet the spirits in the sky, this LED-light cathedral aimed VERY VERY high! We’re not sure if it was visible from space (or higher) but it certainly glowed brightly.
More than half-a-million people were drawn to the Luminaire De Cagna LED-light display at the 2012 Light Festival in Ghent, Belgium. Luminaire De Cagna became the main attraction of the Festival that included more than 30 other displays and exhibitions.
Constructed of wood, covered with 55,000 LED lights and reaching 28 meters (92 ft.) into the sky above Belfortstraat, the Romanesque cathedral-like Luminaire De Cagna used only 20 kWh of energy.
Luminaire De Cagna is an Italian family business that has created light displays since 1930. They started with oil and carbine lights, moved on to electric and, since 2006, have used LED-lights exclusively. - Tuija Seipell
The incredibly beautiful "A Path in the Forest" by architect Tetsuo Kondo was a temporary installation in the Kadriorg Park near Tallinn, Estonia.
It was part of Tallinn's 2011 European Capital of Culture activities and in particular, part of LIFT11, a festival of 11 urban installations. All other installations in LIFT11 were selected through a design competition, but Kondo was invited to create the Path. It was realized in partnership with the EU-Japan Fest Japan Committee.
Kardiorg Park is an urban forest, only 15-minutes' walk from the Old City of Tallinn. While it has some intact treed areas, it is mostly an urban park of man-made structures and tended gardens.
With his light touch, Kondo created a 95-meter (311-foot) suspended walkway among some of the park's 300 year-old trees. The unobtrusive Path is similar to Kondo's 2010 work Cloudscapes for the Venice Architecture Biennale. Both works put humans on an uncommon level in relation to their surroundings, creating a new viewpoint and inviting further examination. - Tuija Seipell