Human-sized kaleidoscope at the Kobe Biennale wows with prismatic color and zipper architecture

Architecture Art International
(Courtesy of Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki)

(Courtesy of Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki)

If you’ve ever wondered what the cross-section of a diamond looks like, step inside this shipping container, where a coruscation of 1,100 shimmering triangular mirrors on various planes refracts light and movement, prism-like.

(Courtesy of Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki)

(Courtesy of Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki)

Designers Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki created a gigantic, walk-in kaleidoscope, stuffing a 49-by-26-foot reflective polyhedron into a 40-foot-long shipping container by cutting the mirrored planes using digital 3D modeling programs Rhino and Grasshopper. Each piece was then fitted with zippers so that the whole structure could fold like origami along the zipper seams.

(Courtesy of Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki)

(Courtesy of Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki)

The installation was presented as part of the Kobe Biennale Art Container Contest, a competition in which designers are tasked with making magic happen inside an industrial shipping container—namely, creating an environment worthy of aesthetic merit. With a polyhedron connected entirely by zippers, Shiane and Miyazaki wanted to fabricate the world’s first zipper architecture, proposing it as an environmentally efficient way of dismantling and reassembling in a construction context.

(Courtesy of Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki)

(Courtesy of Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki)

“This idea could solve global environmental problems because it is easy to exchange only [one] part with a zipper,” said the designers, who have been honing their origami-influenced zipper technology since 2007.

The whimsically titled Wink Space is their third prototype founded on this idea. All the interior panels of the structure are connected by detachable cords, and each unit can opened and closed like a window. Each tiny movement viewers make is refracted thousand-fold by mirrors that create a constantly shifting, rainbow-like display. Dress in neon or sequins for maximum effect.

(Courtesy of Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki)

(Courtesy of Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki)

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