Light fantastic

How do you make a run-of-the-mill public space into something special? If you’re anything like these designers, you turn it into a bright focal point. This train station outside Kyoto (Japan) is a prime example.

Tokyo design-office Glamorous laid out an installation on Arashiyama Station’s platform that makes maximum use of the available material. It makes an unglamorous, functional station platform into a festival of colour and light.

The designers planted over 600 rounded poles that were filled with light fittings. Each pole is decorated differently. It is covered in a velvet kimono fabric which is dyed in a variety of patterns. These decorations are made by a process called ‘yuzen’, an intricate method in which layers of dye, bean juice and protective rice glue cover the fabric. Controlled heating makes sure that the pattern stays fixed.

In the case of this station, the architects selected 16 patterns for the poles. The yuzen procedure is slightly different; each piece of cloth is dyed in modern colours, and is coated with acrylic that protects the material from the elements. The poles are lit from the inside using led-lighting. The result is lighting that is far less harsh than common light.

Nearby bamboo forests inspired the design. The bamboo was used for its particular qualities: it is lightweight, rounded and diaphanous. This is what the architects convey with the magical design here.

The design covers some 3000 m2 of the station’s platforms, open spaces and surroundings. The lighting makes it easier for people to flow naturally towards the station’s entrance and exits.


Photos by Seiryo Yamada. See the project on the designer’s site.