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Hope Tree, an installation piece by 24° Studio, was exhibited at Tokyo Designers Week 2010. 24° Studio was one of the winners of Environmental Container Design & Art Competition sponsored by the Design Association NPO and Dezeen.

From the designers:

The Hope Tree installation was envisioned as a spatial condition that attended to question our surrounding as we know it and hoping to generate a discussion and understanding amongst the visitors about the place of our everyday life, our environment. Lately, we are bombarded with products that try to deal with the consequences of environmental damages throughout the world, but occasionally we overlook the roots of these occurring problems by not fully understanding our environment.

A tree was chosen as a departing point as we universally can identify with. Throughout ages tree has been the most primitive form of a shelter, garden, and, most importantly, our companion. With human innovation and intervention, a tree has been contributing to our lives taking a different form, from a simple paper sheet to a complex house. Every fruit, flower and leaf that bears from tree symbolizes a change and hope for tomorrow. But, even a strong standing tree is frail. If not taken care properly we may eventually cease its presence.

Hope Tree installation invites viewers to experience their surrounding environment anew through a single tree and a space that bears from it.

The installation required to be situated within the 20 feet shipping container. The construction of a toroidal space within a container enclosure was created. Such approach provided an opportunity of emphasizing a smooth enclosure, and also implementing a representation of a tree at the center of the space.

The toroidal surface was composed of 670 self-supporting watercolor paper panels. In addition to the thickness of the watercolor paper, the rigidity of each panel was further reinforced with edges of cardboard to create a box form. The symmetry of toroidal form allowed for minimized typological variation of the box panel easing the manufacturing process.

The box panels were assembled in a spatial arch, inspired by the traditional masonry arch construction. This way of construction allowed the elliptical ceiling arch load to be equally distributed between the central column and the perimeter wall.

Leaf-like cutouts were strategically sized and deformed accordingly to the geometry of the box panels. The openings were backed with a tracing paper, which performed as a diffusing surface for the LED string lighting beyond. The application of LED lighting allowed the coverage of the entire space with minimal watt usage.

Furthermore, the property of watercolor paper provided a dynamic response to the environmental factor within and outside of the container. The humidity and condensation created within the container during the constantly changing weather conditions during the duration of the exhibition allowed the leaf-like cutout to warp out and expose the diffused lighting each day.

Project Information
Project Designer: 24º Studio (Fumio Hirakawa + Marina Topunova)
Project Name: Hope Tree
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Project Team: Fumio Hirakawa, Principal, Marina Topunova, Principal
New York Team: Rain Yan Wang, Jennifer Shively, Motoko Shoboji
Tokyo Team: Taro Fukunaga, Gregory Kay, Yo Konishi, Kumiko Ouchi, Akira Taguchi, Atsushi Takahashi

Jaime Derringer, Founder + Executive Editor of Design Milk, is a Jersey girl living in SoCal. She dreams about funky, artistic jewelry + having enough free time to enjoy some of her favorite things—running, reading, making music, and drawing.