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Tokyo Reflections : Contemporary Japanese Architecture

Tokyo station underground platforms Project, Japan design by Cheunvogl

18 May 2010

Tokyo Reflections

Location: Tokyo, Japan

Design: Cheungvogl, Architects

Tokyo Reflections by Cheunvogl in Japan


Tokyo Reflections is an experiment that aspires to transform Tokyo station underground platforms to become a dynamic public place rather than a thoroughfare. It explores tangible interactive opportunities – with others or ourselves. It understands the mindless minds while waiting for the next train. Just waiting for time to pass. It dreams of small changes to fill the emptiness of thoughts with reflections.

The experiment challenges the everyday sameness. It explores new expansions, new possibilities, new freshness to allow ‘moments’ to happen naturally. This architectural intervention is an art installation acting as a catalyst that binds random people, random minds and random reflections, drawing random hopes into ‘moments’ of dreams.

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Body of Change

‘Moments’ begin with an ensemble of surreal alien installation placed in one of the most traveled places, Tokyo Station. The ensemble is a functional installation that appears as supernatural sculptures where travelers are attracted to pause, reflect and imagine. The magic begins when two people share the same thought, while travelers experience and react to the aliens, the everyday sameness is interrupted, allowing people to connect and interact within such small ‘moments’. The experience transforms an ordinary place into an extraordinary platform for inspirations, imaginations, observations and communications.

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Exhibition panels will guide travelers through their journeys in finding random ‘moments’.

“Long before people made use of the tunnel system, today known as Tokyo Subway system, underground spaces were inhabited by almost forgotten alien species. This ancient species was generally divided into two categories, the ‘observers’ and the ‘inter-actors’.

In an ephemeral installation at the Tokyo station underground platform, one can experience the typical behaviors of our species. In this installation, one can take part as the inter-actor, with open and communicative nature, gathering around in small groups. Contrarily, by acting as the observer, one simply observes rather than exhibits any thoughts. The observer tends to stand near the peripheral next to the inter-actors. Surreptitiously, the observers engage in documenting the activities with their fish-eye reflective lenses.”

As part of the installation, Tokyo Station will undergo various simple measures to enhance the atmosphere of the platform area. The light arrangements will be concentrated on the rail track area, replacing the existing dull light boxes. The back wall will be covered with backlit membrane, reflecting diffused light back onto the platform area.

Cheungvogl is a young international architectural practice founded in 2008. The design studio is based in Hong Kong, led by Chinese-Canadian architect Judy Cheung and German architect Christoph Vogl.

Tokyo Reflections images / information from Cheungvogl, Architects

Location: Tokyo Station, Japan

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