Kaleidoscopic Ivy, Hana So Exhibition, Tokyo

Designed by: Nendo + Onndo / Masumi Hotta
For client: Sogetsu Foundation Floor area: 540.00 M² Year of completion: 2017
Nominated for: Best Use of Material

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© Takumi Ota

Over 40,000 shards of polished steel make up this installation, which is designed as an "ivy of mirrors" spreading across a stone garden created by Isamu Noguchi.

About the Project

The installation was designed for the ‘Hana So’ exhibition held by Akane Teshigahara, fourth head (= Iemoto) of the Sogetsu school of ikebana, to commemorate its 90th anniversary. 

While pieces to be exhibited are normally decided upon prior to the design of the space, which is made to accentuate the objects on display, the client in this case proposed the reverse approach. The design of the space actually serves as inspiration for the the ikebana pieces exhibited. A tiered stone garden created by Isamu Noguchi serves as the venue, and making the most of this unique structure is an essential part of the design. 

A 0.5-mm-thick stainless steel sheet with a mirror finish was cut into pieces shaped like collections of linked rhombuses. Each piece was then individually fitted to lay atop the stone garden in order to create an “ivy of mirrors”. The ivy reflects the surroundings while also revealing glimpses of the texture and appearance of the stone garden beneath it, and diffused reflections of the colours and outlines of the exhibited ikebana flowers produce a kaleidoscopic visual effect.

The addition of this extra layer between the two works – the ikebana flowers and the stone garden – creates harmony between the disparate elements, as if the flowers were gently unfolding over the stone garden.

What’s unique about it

The mirrored ivy is intended to fully maximize the spatial features while paying respect to the Sogetsu Kaikan designed by Kenzo Tange and the stepped stone garden by Isamu Noguchi. It simultaneously highlights the building's characteristics and each piece of art, expanding the images to fill the room and immersing visitors in the art.

The lighting effect became an important part of the project by reflecting the colour of the sky from the top, the greenery in front of the building, and the visitors’ movement - enhancing Sogetsu Plaza. 

About the material:
Initial considerations included creating ivy leaves with a 0.5-mm-thick mirror-finished stainless-steel sheet to achieve the effect of a growing plant.
However, after numerous studies, the rounded corner parallelogram with 42 ivy patterns was ultimately chosen.

By placing each piece individually in different directions in the stone garden, a kaleidoscopic visual effect is created. Coupled with the irregular reflection of the Ikebana flower arrangements, it highlights the surrounding scenery and the texture and expression of the garden.

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© Takumi Ota

From entrance

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© Takumi Ota

Each element was then individually overlaid across the stone garden, creating a reflective tableau that echoes the appearance of wildly growing ivy.

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© Takumi Ota

"ivy of mirrors" was then individually placed across the stone garden, creating a mirrored landscape that reflects its surroundings.

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© Takumi Ota

The mirrored installation reflected the surrounding stone garden while also revealing subtle glimpses of its texture, form, and layered architectural configuration.

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© Takumi Ota

A glimpse of the stone garden through a gap of the ivy.

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© Takumi Ota

A glimpse of the stone garden through a gap of the ivy.

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© Takumi Ota

The ivy reflects the colours and outlines of the exhibited ikebana flowers and produces a kaleidoscopic visual effect.

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© Takumi Ota

 Flowers reflected in "ivy of mirrors".

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© Takumi Ota

Flowers reflected in "ivy of mirrors".


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