Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Molecular Cluster in Yokohama, Japan by MoNo / Fumiaki Nagashima + Mami Maruoka Nagashima (designed with 3dS Max)
December 7th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: MoNo / Fumiaki Nagashima + Mami Maruoka Nagashima
This was an installation art work which was exhibited in Berrick Hall, one of old western-style houses and local authorized historical architectures, as a formal program of the 5th Yamate Art Festival. With its unique history of residential area for outsider people since about 150 years ago, Yamate in Yokoha-ma is an area which promotes peculiar town activity plan around famous place, Foreign General Cemetery and some historical western-style houses. Yamate Art Festival is held under an intention of local activation and culture development by cooperation of some art NPOs, local organizations and facilities in February of each year, having various events of all-round art, music, art, drama, dance, traditional performing and literature.
MoNo designed and opened the art work “Molecular Cluster” as the formal opening program “Old and New – a modern space appeared in Berrick Hall” of this festival which was held for about one month. The exhibition place was Berrick Hall which was the largest scale of 7 historical western-style houses Yokohama-city possesses in yamate area. This house was designed for English merchant B.R. Berrick by American architect J.H. Morgan in 1930. Although since 1965 it had been using as a dormitory of St. Joseph College, in 2001 Yokohama-city became the owner of it and overhauled it, and now it is opened to the public.
The house is in about 2,000㎡site with tidy lawn and trees. Basically it is Spanish style, the popular one at the time in America, with orange colored roof tiles, stucco wall and arch windows, but it has an exotic façade with a few small Islamic motif windows of 2nd floor. About interior design, it is integrated with beige colored walls, dark brown colored wooden decorations and moss green colored steel openings. Furthermore the entrance and the stair hall have nifty white and black colored floor tiles and dignified iron works.
The art work “Molecular Cluster” was opened in the living room in this house. This room, about 100 ㎡ having a sun room called “palm room”, was placed next to the entrance hall with plenty daylight from 3 wall sides. For 80 years since this house was born, this room must be the space for many meetings and communications. So at our designing for this space, we set the theme “visualization of memory carved into this space”. Every individual memory was linked beyond time and space, and composed the memory of space looking like molecular model.
The memory was described with clear balloon material. The reason why we selected it was because of its weightless looking and existence on border between visibility and invisibility. About 1,000 balloons were connected in a certain way to express a long cluster of memories. This cluster surrounded visitors in the room, floating in the air and making a circular arc pattern. Moreover, it was heap up at the corner of room and rolled over underfoot. Visitors could enjoy the beautiful room interior and the strange feeling of molecular cluster of memory, walking freely through balloons loop. And it meant that the facts of these visitors’ stay there also were added to the memory of space. The memory of space which appeared by an operation of visualization for a limited time only, it was our art work “Molecular Cluster”.