The Zou-no-hana district is where Commodore Perry of the United States first landed when he arrived in Yokohama for his second visit to Japan, on March 31, 1854. Ever since Yokohama was designated as one of the 5 open treaty ports according to The Treaty of Amity and Commerce between Japan and the United States, this area became one of the first fully open ports in Yokohama, and also an important commerce location where people actively traded with various countries.
The Zou-no-hana Terrace was celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2019. The purpose of this project was to get ideas from artists and others for what they would like to see or have at the Zou-no-hana Park/Terrace to make it an even more relaxing and comfortable space. The gathered ideas were exhibited in 2019 as a “Futurescape”, which envisions the state of Zou-no-hana Park/Terrace in 1 year/ 10 years/ 100 years from now.
"Inner Glow" manifests itself as a sensorial augmentation of our immediate surrounding triggered, only when we offer our smartphones in exchange. One main sphere accompanied by smaller spheres will be placed on one mirror with one stand in front. A call-to-action on the stand will prompt visitors to place their smartphones in the designated area. Once detected, the spheres will gently light up with a holographic glow within and around it. Depending on the proximity of the visitors, the spheres will glow brighter when visitors are closer and dim when they are further away. The combination of the spheres and lights reflecting off of the mirrors create a tranquil phenomenon similar to when the sun reflects off of water. The simplicity of this installation is synonymous to how little effort is required on our part to witness the subtle beauty around us. Through learning to recognize when to letting go of convenience, “Solo Reflection” urges visitors to let their senses and appetite for wonder advise where they take their next step.
“Inner Glow” is a sensorial augmentation of our immediate surrounding triggered by the simple curiosity of visitors to Zou-no-hana. Inspired by the mixed-use space of the park and and surrounding natural elements, the spatial installation blurs the lines of reality with a man-made object juxtaposed against a dream-like surrounding. As the day progresses, the subtle glow of the piece increases in radiance until it pierces the depths of night. The unexpected intersection between colour, surface, surrounding, and time is reflective of the beauty we miss as we go about our daily lives.
Illustration: Haruka Aramaki
Since we were designing and manufacturing everything from Canada and we had to ship everything to Japan with no financial support, not everything we planned was feasible. Our initial idea was to scatter spheres and/or half spheres following the shoreline on top of mirrors that would reflect the sky and the light. Mirror was a safety hazard since it might break when people step on it so we decided to work with reflective plastic but even then, the size was too big and we couldn't ship it to Japan. The spheres were a hazard since the wind could knock it into the water or into other people. Any complicated wiring and use or electronics were also rejected since it's an outdoor setup. As a result we displayed a translucent 3 meter sphere with a LED light strip inside that changes when user touches the sphere. The materials was soft and the sphere was secured with weights, allowing users to play with it.
We weren't able to travel to Japan to see the end product and it's a shame that we couldn't create the experience we designed. The language barrier and our low budget that couldn't properly support our idea made the entire process more difficult. As experience designers, we learned a lot about the limitations and safety concerns of outdoor installation.