Omotesando Hills, an upscale shopping mall in the Aoyama district of Tokyo has an integrated media component called Notion Organization Project. I’ve been meaning to write something about it since my visit to Tokyo earlier this year unfortunately I could not find many articles written in English so I’m relying heavily on my poor Japanese skills and translation programs.The project consists of LED screens on the outside facing Omotesando Street. The LED wall is low resolution but large scale so close up it image seems like a rather disconcerting jumble of flashing screens. From across the street or down the block however the illuminated wall is quite striking. Legs in sillouette are the most interesting video, the display alternates between that and an abstract color wash. At first I thought the pedestrians walking by on the side walk were creating the visuals above. That proved to be an illusion but brought to mind the Podium Lights or Memory Wall projects which would be very interesting to see in a busy space like this.
Video taken from a pedestrian bridge over Omotesando Street.
This is a close up view of the LED wall, you can see it is quite low resolution but very large.
Inside the project continues as a projection of light and image from the ceiling. There are directional speakers playing layers of music and natural sound effects, which i suppose is soothing and condusive to shopping. Both the projection and directional speakers are on motors which allow them to trace a path up and down the malls long stairs creating an effect of water cascading down. The imagery on the interior projections is close up video of the famous trees lining Omotesando Street and nearby rivers. Theatrical lights provide color which changes to reflect the current season. Unfortunately they wouldn’t let me take any video of the inside but there are some photos of it on their site. The effect indoors is less spectacular than the outside but it is mesmerizing if your walking down the long stairs.
I imagine the use of interior visuals on the buildings outside and outdoor images inside is supposed to some how merge them through use of media. Which is somewhat ironic since the process of relating inside and outside in the Notion Organize Project has blocked almost all natural light and windows.
The Omotesando Hills architecture has won more than a few critics as evidenced by this critical essay by Mark Devlin, publisher of Metropolis. You can see some of what his writes about these photos of the neighborhood on Flickr.
Finally a couple notes about sources. Omotesando Hills has a quite presentable English site but their Japanese site is more complete. I made use of Google’s language service for translation of these pages in particular
- Technology: Japanese, English
- Team: Japanese, English
- Images: Japanese, English
- Land Song for Omotesando: Japanese, English, in MP3
I’ve been finding out a bit more about the project. It looks like the company Glamoove (GLMV.jp) was associated with the project. It is featured in the book Japanese Motion Graphic Creators 2007 and there is a video of it on their website and there are some photos in their portfolio.