interconnection by nao tamura at lexus design amazing 2014
image © designboom




on the occasion of milan design week 2014, LEXUS announced the 12 top projects of the LEXUS design award 2014, hosted in partnership with designboom.


to celebrate, the japanese car company presented the second edition of its ‘LEXUS design amazing’ exhibition in which they commissioned three international creatives – fabio novembre (IT), tangible media group (led by hiroshi ishii) from MIT media lab (USA), nao tamura (USA / JP) – to interpret the theme ‘amazing in motion’ in the form of an installation; showcased alongside the 12 winning works at milan’s historic circolo filologic (philological circle), located in via clerici, 10.


designboom met with new york-based nao tamura to discuss her scheme ‘interconnection’, in which each component relies on the other to function – if one ‘leaf’ is removed, the entire piece would collapse – and natural movement to create shifts in space. the light and airy outcome is an exploration into mankind’s interdependent relationship with nature.


‘interconnection’ installation by nao tamura at ‘lexus design amazing’ exhibition
image © designboom




‘there are forces in nature that are beyond the control of mankind. we have learned how fragile we are in the face of such forces. however, we have also learned the importance of accepting nature and learning to live in harmony with it,’ explains nao tamura. ‘interconnected and interdependent, there is a constant give-and-take in nature. life does not rest. our collective motion, and nature’s response to our movements is essential to our planet’s delicate balance. when we are one with nature, we are at our most powerful. our movement together gives us life. our movement forward creates the next generation of ideas. life is always more amazing in motion.’


designboom interviews nao tamura who elaborates on the ideas behind ‘interconnection’
video © designboom




‘by moving around, the visitor affects the air in the space, which in turn gives the piece its motion. by experiencing this calming motion, it is my hope that you can begin to notice that your actions, no matter how small, can affect your surroundings on a scale that is larger than your self.’nao tamura


acrylic ‘leaves’ hover in space, provoked by the movements of passersby
image © designboom




the ‘interconnection’ installation was realized in collaboration with artist and design engineer takeshi miyakawa, sound designer aya nishina and sound engineer fernando aponte.


detail of the mechanisms that connect the leaves together
image © designboom


‘when nao asked me to fabricate this mobile installation last autumn, I thought it would be a piece of cake but it turned out to be one of the most challenging project I’ve worked on. when I made the first mock-up with stainless steel rods and polycarbonate sheets, the whole thing looked very heavy since everything sagged as a result of weight. then nao suggested to use a string to support the weight. fishing line was used first, but it stretched too much so we switched to piano wire and it worked really well. the difficulty was to adjust the tension, so after a few experiments I designed acrylic discs with tension adjustable details and it worked great. polycarbonate discs are cut and glued to create very subtle conical shapes to keep them stiff. when all the structural members stay straight, you don’t feel gravity anymore,’ explains takeshi miyakawa to designboom.


each leaf relies on the other. if one is removed the entire installation would collapse.
image © designboom


up close
image © designboom


‘interconnection’ by nao tamura for LEXUS design amazing 2014
video courtesy nao tamura


takeshi miyakawa and nao tamura
image © designboom


takeshi miyakawa at his NYC studio creating the leaves for ‘interconnection’
images courtesy nao tamura


a closer look at LEXUS design amazing 2014
video courtesy of LEXUS



see designboom’s coverage of the LEXUS design award 2013 installation by toyo ito and akihisa hirata here.