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Visionaries of the Kaleidoscope

Asa + Yu is a collaboration between Asako Sengoku and Yusuke Ando.  Both were born and raised in Japan but studied in the UK; currently, Asako is in the UK, and Yusuke is in Japan.  Both are working and active architects. This September, for the London Design Festival,

Asa + Yu present ‘Visionaries of the Kaleidoscope’, a kinetic art installation exploring the connection between cultures in the UK and Japan.

In this exhibition – and in creative adventures in the future – we aim to express the experiences that we gained through the move between two countries, such as discoveries through differences of language and culture, miscommunication, or issues of nationalism and identity.Asako Sengoku, Asa + Yu.

The motif of the project is a kaleidoscope.  Originally invented by English scientist Sir David Brewster in the 19th century, the kaleidoscope was imported to Japan by the East India Company during the Edo era.  Soon, the Japanese began making their own kaleidoscopes, as it engaged with other Japanese traditional crafts such as Japanese paper, glass, and ceramics. Towards the end of the 19th Century, the product became familiar with children as a toy as well. This engagement encouraged the craftsmanship of the kaleidoscope to become more sophisticated, and alongside, the resulting images began to be realised in Origami, known as ‘Kaleidoscope Origami.’

One type of kaleidoscope origami is made of Chiyogami, which is origami made of Japanese paper with Japanese patterns.  It enables people to enjoy changing patterns in various ways as the folded parts are opened or as it revolves.  With this craft, there is no need to utilise the reflections of a mirror to enjoy the change of Japanese patterns.

Asako explains “We hope to provide an opportunity to reconsider the connection and difference between cultures of both countries by exhibiting an installation using the kaleidoscope as a motif.

We would like to refer to the meaning of the title, ‘Visionaries of the Kaleidoscope’. The word ‘visionary’ has two contradictory meanings: ‘the person who has a clear vision,’ and ‘daydreamer.’  These two meanings of the word were combined with ‘kaleidoscope’ to become the title.  We would like to develop the whimsical world of the kaleidoscope that was born from accidental overlaps.

For the creation of the kinetic art of the kaleidoscopes, we utilised digital technologies.  First, we analysed the movements of  kaleidoscope origami with a digital parametric tool.  A few digital models were made using software to plan the installation.  In terms of the control mechanism, we approached the method of Arduino and stepping motors in the field of electrical crafts.

The result of Asa + Yu’s innovative mixing of traditional and digital will be digitally controlled structures that move and rotate; reflective surfaces and projected light will suffuse the gallery walls with constantly evolving pattern and colour.  Visitors will be immersed in a kaleidoscopic experience.

Visionaries of the Kaleidoscope – 10-21 September 2018

TOTO Concept Showroom, 140-142 St John St, London EC1V 4UA

09:00-17:00 Mon-Fri (closed weekends)


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