“unnamed -form emerges only sometimes, so does meaning-” at Tokyo Midtown DESIGN TOUCH 2021

The “unnamed -form emerges only sometimes, so does meaning- “ is the main installation of the Tokyo Midtown Design Touch, an annual event in its 15th year. This year’s design theme is “Behind the Scenes of Design.” We responded by designing a set of three interactive installations that present themselves as works-in-progress.

While a design is usually the end-result of a design process, a completed form without possibilities for change, we were interested, in this case, to create installations which could vary in form depending on how they are used or perceived. By releasing freedom to the form, it becomes more important for the users to observe and use rather than for the designers to design. Such unlimited possibilities of different interpretations provide additional values to a design in a whole new way. The ideal design here, “generates” its own meaning and value every time users see or use it. In a way, users would get a chance to experience the generative process behind the act of design.

Due to the pandemic, however, this event was postponed for one year from 2020 to 2021. We originally planned to build a jungle gym that allowed children to climb about and find various silhouettes of toy motifs while playing. The idea didn’t work with social distance protocols and had to be changed to something that didn’t involve the installation being touched by visitors. “How could we design a static object that people could interact with by simply looking at it?”, we wondered, and eventually came up with the idea of creating an interactive experience that could happen as visitors move around the work.

We eventually modified the design silhouettes of motifs could be seen from a combination of panels, when visitors find a certain view angles outside the structure. Visitors interact with the works by physically moving around the work, finding the set of view angles by chance. In order to achieve this, we started by setting two viewpoints with their corresponding projection planes intersecting at 90 degrees. Then, we applied one motif on each projection plane and extruded the volume from the viewpoint to the motif’s outline, in order to get the intersecting volume between them. This was followed by setting the panels in random positions and directions; XY, YZ, ZX planes along with pipe structure on a 600mm grid which were cut by the intersected volume. The height of the viewpoints was set at 900mm above ground based on children’s height, while sun orientation and evening lighting conditions were simulated with a real-time rendering engine, allowing each motif to appear throughout the entire day.

During the event, it was moving to see children making interpretations on their own. “I can see Pikachu!”, “I can see an elephant!”. The children made us think, there is no correct answer in reading our design. Every image that the interpreter sees is correct.

【Tokyo Midtown DESIGN TOUCH 2021】 2021/10/15 (Fri) – 2021/11/3 (Wed), Tokyo Midtown and various places

Year: 2021

Category: exhibition

Status: Built

Location: Tokyo, Japan

Photo Credit: Yasuhiro Takagi

Link: Tokyo Midtown DESIGN TOUCH 2021

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