Beauty Innovation 2020
Tokyo-based Design Studio we+ Combine Light, Wind & Shadow For Their Latest Window Installation
Tokyo-based contemporary design studio we+, in collaboration with Shiseido Art Director Taisuke Kikuchi, have created an installation titled Beauty Innovation 2020 on the first floor of the Japanese beauty brand Shiseido’s Tokyo headquarters located in Ginza. The installation, which expresses Shiseido’s corporate philosophy of diversity of beauty leading to innovation for a better world is the second work following their first kinetic window installation for the brand earlier last year.
Inspired by the unpredictable movement of wind and connecting natural environments within man-made contexts, such as a gust of wind leaves amongst tall buildings, the studio aimed to create a sense of deep nature within the city’s steel and concrete-driven landscape. By drawing out the beauty from the familiarity of natural phenomena, the installation aimed to incite greater empathy and immersion in passersby. we+ explain, “Not only the natural environment, but the wind generated in the city is also a source of inspiration. The flow of the wind is always unpredictable, and the movement of the leaves and curtains on the wind is like living creatures dancing.”
Amongst a dark, encased space, find white, delicate fluctuations created by controlling the movement of 80 rounded papers, utilising wind and light to activate their rhythm. we+ continue, “At first glance, it is a very simple and sophisticated design, but the exquisite movement is the result of patient experimentation. These profound expressions emerge from a simple form expressing the diversity of beauty. It implies that capturing and updating the diverse values of beauty will lead to innovation that changes the world.”
The installation was created using vertical directional wires with positioned papers in 5 rows of 16, and a small circulator installed directly below each piece of paper. Although controlled, the airflow would also act independently and once colliding, an incalculable wind flow was generated allowing the paper to move in random form, “as if dancing.” The durable and lightweight paper — specifically TAKEO’s MBS Tech paper stock — was selected for its textural and flexible qualities. The paper’s texture allowed for a particular quality akin to a natural movement. we+’s Hayashi explained, “Although it is a paper, it has a mysterious texture like a cloth, and its appearance as it floats up due to the wind has a lightness that is reminiscent of the moment a bird flaps.”
In the blackened space, lighting played a key role in directing attention to the movement of the floating papers. The studio installed 80 lights on the ceiling connecting to the wires and direction of the 80 pieces of paper, influencing the way they received light and changes as they fluctuated in movement. Hayashi notes, “Lighting played an important role in making the creature-like behaviour of the paper created by the wind more effective. We worked with a lighting designer to find the most suitable lighting, installation method, and production. Spot lights were arranged directly above the 80 sets of circular paper and circulator. We developed an original system so that each light could be adjusted to the vertical movement of the paper. It was designed so that the light shines when the paper floats, and when it approaches the lighting, the paper itself seems to emit light as if living creature.”
Whilst the studio is known for their kinetic and sensorial designs, it is through their strong collaborative spirit that their experimental concepts can be realised. Hayashi details the importance of talented collaborators and particular engineering executed for this installation; “Collaboration with engineers is one of the important aspects of our creation. The core of this installation is how to use technology to eliminate the presence and extract only the behavior of nature. Therefore, we consulted with engineers at an early stage of the project, shared themes and important points, and examined appropriate specifications from the perspective of both expression and technology. We think that the most important thing for the dialogue between designers and engineers is not only technical consultation but also sharing themes and points to be expressed, having discussions, and further improving the quality of the work.”
In a concrete-driven environment, the installation presents an innovative approach in recreating a deep sense of nature through technology and natural phenomena.