"My Thread - New Dutch Design on Films" is a film exhibition curated by Eizo Okada and designed by architect Hideyuki Nakayama, who also built Okada's Kyoto "O" House and was on the design team for Toyo Ito's Tama Art University Library. As part of one of Japan's biggest design events this past September, the 4th annual DESIGN EAST, the exhibition featured eight films that highlights eight emerging Dutch designers, their backgrounds, and their work process. Aside from Okada's films, another aspect of the exhibition was Nakayama's design of the space.
Set on the top floor of a former shipyard building with no air-conditioning or fans and with eight projection screens, the biggest challenge Okada and Nakayama faced was how to ensure ventilation so viewers can comfortably watch the films. As a solution, Nakayama designed a horizontal lighting shield called "5F".
Here are the project details from the press release, provided by Eizo Okada:
"The exhibition will be held at the top-floor (F4) of Creative Centre Osaka where used to be a place for 1:1 scale drawing for shipbuilding. The vast column-free-space measures floor area of over 1200m², and the ceiling structures including beams and trusses are positioned only 2.3 meters above the floor level. On the west and east side of the room, there are many windows for natural light and fresh air, and there are no air conditioning or ventilating fan.
A variety of video clips from 8 different designers will be projected on a number of screens for three days during this September, and when designing the space, the biggest question was ‘how to create a dark space while letting natural airflow for ventilation’ . If the windows were all covered with loads of blackout curtains in hot humid summer, it will no longer be a ‘cool’ exhibition. Considering all these factors, we would like to propose our design ‘5F’ – A new level above 4F where all the videos will be projected. At 5F level, 8 screens will be set up in between the kingpost trusses that are standing at every 6 meter span, and is going to be one screen per designer.
A new floor of 5F will be made by ultra thin (12 microns) polyethylene terephthalate metallized film which is usually known as ‘emergency blanket’ as it reduced the heat loss in a person’ s body in emergency situations. This heat-reflective thin plastic sheeting also reduces visible light transmittance so it shuts out almost 100 percent of natural light to come into the projection space. The total weight of this entire floor is only 22kg for 1200m². This horizontal blackout curtain creates a well ventilated space at 4F and a dark theatre space at 5F. The audience will enjoy the videos played at 5F through several holes created on the sheet.
The sheet will only be attached to the edge of the trusses by using small magnets and will sag down slightly by its own weight, creating a gentle catenary curve in the middle. The bottom of the curve will only be 1.2 meter above from the existing floor level therefore people will move from one side to the other by a rectangular path created in the sheet. This will be a unique experience for people, moving through and feel two very different spatial qualities at one time, which is an experience of going under the water. The sounds for each video will be played by directional speakers set above the sheet and will come through the openings. We are also planning to collect some secondhand furniture and open a workshop to renovate them to create some seating and observing stands for the audience."
All photos by Takumi Ota and Junko Kawauchi, courtesy of Eizo Okada.