Artists Construct Giant Kaleidoscope Inside Japanese Shipping Container

Nearly two centuries after the kaleidoscope was patented by Scottish physicist Sir David Brewster in 1817, designers have finally given the classic design a run for its money. 

Inside of an industrial shipping container in Japan, designers Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki constructed a life-sized mirrored polyhedron installation. At work on their origami inspired zipper technology since 2007, the two Japanese practitioners have been high hopes for its future usage as an architectural material.

Entitled Wink, the piece, which premiered at Kobe Biennale’s Art Container Contest, is now the third prototype based on their novel idea, and, from the Kobe Biennial to the CS Design Award, the artists have since been lauded for their creations on a rolling basis. 

Made up of 1,100 panels of only two separate triangular shapes, using digital 3D modeling studios Rhino and Grasshopper, the Shirane-Miyazaki team was able to fold a 15mX8m plane into the 40ft container. Given Wink's folded nature, and the additional use of cloth and zippers, the interior form can actually change shape just by adjusting the length of the wires that suspend it.

Visitors are free to unzip it as they navigate the space as well! The design firm states that “the most effect way to exhibit the work in a container, relies on assembling, taking apart and moving simply and quickly. Zipper is very effective for that.” Completed on-site in just 4 hours, the exhibition stood strong for two whole months until it was disassembled. 

The team has also managed to connect hard panels such as glass using their designs, so keep an eye out for zippable-windows in the very near future.

I absolutely adore how interactive this piece is, it's as though you can create your own kaleidoscope to stand in and interact with, and I think that this tactility and inclusion of the audience in the artwork is really important, especially for this project. When I looked at sensory rooms earlier I read about how they were often designed specifically to suit an individual, and in this piece an individual can design their own space and see how the shapes and mirrors interact with each other. I think that this is something that I would like to look into more, and definitely involve some of this audience participation into some areas of my own work.

Mirrored Muqarnas, Hall of Diamonds in the Golestan Palace, Tehran

Mirror Hall is the most famous of the palace halls. This relatively small hall is famous for its extraordinary mirror work. The hall was designed by Haj Abd ol Hossein Memar Bashi (Sanie ol Molk). Yahya Khan (Mowtamed ol Molk), who was the Minister of Architecture, acted as a consultant to the designer.

The Golestan Palace (Persian: کاخ گلستان‎), literally the Roseland Palace, is the former royal Qajarcomplex in Iran's capital city, Tehran.

The oldest of the historic monuments in Tehran, a world heritage, the Golestan Palace belongs to a group of royal buildings that were once enclosed within the mud-thatched walls of Tehran’s Historic Arg (citadel).


The work of the artists above reminded me of this piece of architecture, which is in a royal palace in what is today Iran. Here, I love the colours and the delicate combinations of the smaller panes of glass, creating a multi-faceted diamond effect, and the much larger, reflective planes of glass. This makes the whole ceiling look incredibly complex, and this piece predates the other artist's work. I also love the fact that this acts as not a piece of fine art, but as an interactive piece of architecture, which can be used and seen by many people. It doesn't appear to be nearly as immersive as the other piece of work, as it doesn't surround the viewer on three sides, but I think for pure complexity it is equally as compelling.  

Shah Cheragh (King’s Light) Mosque- Shiraz, Iran

The present building consists of the original portico, with its ten columns, on the eastern side, a spacious sanctuary with lofty alcoves on four sides, a mosque on the western side of the sanctuary, and various rooms. There are also numerous tombs contiguous to the Mausoleum.

The decorative work in a mosaic of mirror glass, the inscriptions in stucco, the ornamentation, the doors covered with panels of silver, the portico, and the wide courtyard are most attractive. The tomb, with its latticed railing, is in an alcove between the space beneath the dome and the mosque. And this custom of placing the tomb in this position, so that it is not directly under the dome, is to be seen in other famous places of pilgrimage in the city of Shiraz, and may be considered a special feature of Shiraz shrines.


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