grand seiko examines the nature of time during milan design week

grand seiko examines the nature of time during milan design week

japanese luxury watch company, grand seiko comes back to milan design week this year to exhibit ‘the nature of time’. the exhibition was held at the poldi pezzoli museum from april 9-14, 2019 and included installations from a select group of japanese artists. the exhibition focused on grand seiko’s ‘spring drive’ movement, an innovative mechanism with glide motion hands enabling a smoother visual of passing time on the dial, and its connection to natural elements.


‘flux’ installation by studio we+



grand seiko is the perfect balance between the delicacy of time and the wonders of japan’s nature. this was the concept behind the milan exhibition, highlighting the company’s view of the nature of time in the continuous, natural flow present in the spring drive movement. commissioning a small group of japanese artists, the play between time and nature was brought to life through several installations.

grand-seiko-japan-nature-of-time-milan-design-week-04-19-19-designboomdisassembled spring drive components in ‘flux’ installation



the first installation, ‘flux’, was created by contemporary japanese design studio we+. the team, composed of toshiya hayashi and hokuto ando, created a video environment paired with a series of delicate objects atop a platform. the installation features a special liquid, which when reflected by light, appears to begin flowing and moving. the light dissipates with time, spreading across the liquid surface. at the same time, a series of glass objects stand on the illuminated platform. these small glass domes represent the micro-cosmos which the spring drive embodies. the domes contain the disassembled components of the spring drive, and are filled with loose, reflective powder that glides along the inside and interacts with light when picked up.

glass spheres in ‘flux’ installation



another installation present in grand seiko’s exhibition is a video by shingo abe entitled ‘movement’. the video shows the smooth motion of time, distracting the watch users from the bustle of daily life, and into a serene world of time when looking at their watch. again, the connection with nature is present in abe’s work, coherent with the namesake exhibition. snow falling and a river flowing, the smooth flow of time portrayed by the spring drive causes the perception of time to change gradually.



disassembled spring drive components in ‘flux’ installation

glass spheres

objects in ‘flux’ installation

‘movement’ installation

‘movement’ installation

grand seiko watch with spring drive movement

we+ is a contemporary design studio established in 2013 by toshiya hayashi and hokuto ando

shingo abe, ‘movement’ video installation designer



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: cristina gomez | designboom

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