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In June 2014, Kinetika Design Studio were commissioned by the South Bank Centre and the Japanese Society to create a set of Tanabata Fukinagashi lanterns to be incorporated in their Summer Festival of Love, to dress the balcony at London’s Royal Festival Hall. In Japanese tradition the Tanabata or Star Festival is a huge celebration where people write their wishes for the year on tanzaku paper which is then used to make colourful and vibrant decorations, streamers and lanterns. Parades and festivities take place across the weekend in early July and the tradition dates back over 2,000 years.
The Design Studios’ take on these lanterns was influenced in style and colour by the Japanese lanterns, but adapted to suit the 2 months outdoor installation period. Instead of paper, they were made from longer lasting weather proof materials such as flame retardant ripstop and polyline fabrics. The zany clashing colour schemes were selected in collaboration with the Japanese Society and meant these 10 large lanterns were a fantastic splash of vibrancy and really stood out against the grey concrete of the Festival Hall.
The lanterns, each at 5m tall, took four Kinetika artists just over two busy weeks to complete in our new studio space and whilst the commission was an unusual one for the Design Studio, Kinetika brought together a strong team to deliver them on time.
To keep in line with Japanese Tradition, Kinetika and the Japanese Society ran a Sunday family origami workshop at the Southbank centre whilst the lanterns where being made. Participants could write their wishes onto waterproof paper and then make origami stars and hearts that the design team sewed onto the flowing strips that made up the lanterns. Ten traditional messages were also written in Japanese characters by participants that were later strung upon the lanterns wishing of good luck, fulfilled hopes and dreams.
Kinetika Design Studio were very proud of the finished product and hugely enjoyed working with South Bank Centre and the Japanese Society; it was wonderful having our work on display at such a prestigious and visible location.
Please contact us if you would like to commission your own set of Fukinagashi : firstname.lastname@example.org