These Japanese designers stand by zippers as the next architectural material for versatile, on-the-go construction.
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.
Below, more images of Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki's kaleidoscopic Wink installation: