SNOW rendered IN COLOR BY toshihiko shibuya


for 12 years now, artist toshihiko shibuya has been creating site-specific land art every winter in and around the japanese city of sapporo. this year, the artist continues the ‘snow pallet’ project with numbers 14 and 15, which are also the smallest and biggest installations in the series to date.


for each artwork, fluorescent paint is applied to the underside of a metal object that stands just above the snow. the vivid colors are then reflected onto the snow’s surface.

snow pallet 14 and 15 two different stories 1
images courtesy of toshihiko shibuya



snow pallet 14


snow pallet 14 has been installed in tomakomai, a coastal city located 65km away from sapporo and an area with the least snowfall in hokkaido. the artwork is situated in the courtyard of tomakomai art museum, on a site measuring just 19 sqm—the smallest snow pallet site in history.


it is toshihiko shibuya’s first attempt to install ‘snow pallet’ in an area with little snow. the artist set up 10 tall objects with the wish of snowfall, but he also created them so they could be enjoyed without snow. shibuya painted the top plates of the objects with fluorescent colors. when you look up at the sky, you can see vivid reflections on the overlapping parts of the top plates. the artist says, ‘I named this object ‘rainy pallet’ on a rainy day… you can see the brightly colored dancing raindrops on the top plate.’

snow pallet 14 and 15 two different stories 2
snow pallet 14 at tomakomai art museum


amazingly, on january 5th of this year, over 30 cm of snow piled up in tomakomai. shibuya explains that this is a record snowfall for the region. ‘this time too, the climate was unexpected and beyond my imagination. the low objects were completely covered with snow in one day. from there, the snow gradually melted and I was able to see the reflection effect that appeared. the snow on the tops of the tall objects looks like shaved ice.’




snow pallet 15


for snow pallet 15, the artist went back to sapporo and to a huge site of 3,000 sqm. he installed 65 objects in the middle of a large outdoor platform. the new objects are named ‘butterfly’ as they display a butterfly-shaped form with spread wings. 


there was little snowfall in december. however, january 2022 is breaking snowfall records every day. in the near future, all the objects will be completely covered with snow. 

snow pallet 14 and 15 two different stories 12
snow pallet 15 in sapporo

snow pallet 14 and 15 two different stories 9
the biggest snow pallet installation to date

snow pallet 14 and 15 two different stories 10
toshihiko shibuya created butterfly-shaped metal objects for snow pallet 15

snow pallet 14 and 15 two different stories 5
vivid colors are reflected in the white snow

snow pallet 14 and 15 two different stories 3
snow pallet 14 with an unexpected heavy snowfall





project info:


name: snow pallet 14 / a courtyard awaiting snowfall・thin snow

artist: toshihiko shibuya

location: courtyard of tomakomai city museum, tomakomai, hokkaido, japan

dates: october 9th, 2021 – march 13rd, 2022



name: snow pallet 15 -snow on anthropocene- ICE ART LABO 2022

artist: toshihiko shibuya

location: geimori w-awesome, outdoor platform, sapporo, hokkaido, japan
dates: (december 9th, 2020) january 15th – february 27th, 2022


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lynne myers | designboom