Shipping containers have been becoming a lot of things lately—homes, churches, a Subway sandwich shop... the list goes on. We've got another one to add to the list: a larger-than-life kaleidoscope that you can actually walk into. The effect is much the same as a house of mirrors. Designers Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki are responsible for this psychedelic project, titled "Wink Space." At first glance, the structure comes off as a blinding beacon of mirrors—catch it at the wrong angle you'll be seeing sunspots instead of symmetry—but step inside and you'll find that Shirane and Miyazaki have a few surprises for you.
My favorite quirk has got to be the fact that the entire kaleidoscope is constructed with zippers—meaning various 'windows' can be unzipped and revealed from the inside. The designers call this "the world's first zipper architecture." Staying true to the quick assemblage/breakdown nature of shipping containers, they wanted this sentiment to translate in Wink Space. "A thin and light material was demanded to build the zipper architecture," Shirane and Miyazaki explain. "Therefore I referred to origami, which is a traditional game in Japan that can be made both light and strong only by folding. In other words, this polyhedron is built by folding one plane of 15m×8m."
When you're in the middle of it all, the installation comes off much more monstrous than it really is (mostly due to the play of light inside of the container), but the designers focused on keeping the construction light and airy—which only adds to the optical illusions. They give us a little more insight into the visual weight of their work:
So far architecture has been hard, heavy and fixed, however, the architecture we intend to create for the next generation should be soft, light and moving. This idea, inspired by FUSUMA and SHOJI—as used in Japanese traditional housing—can transform spaces size-wise and privacy-wise. This work is the third prototype based on this idea. We believe our concept is suitable for the architecture of the 21st century.
The design was created for the 2013 Kobe Biennial Art Container Contest, where it won an award, and has since been recognized with a 2014 CS Design Award and an A'Design Award.
Via Spoon & Tamago