a gigantic kaleidoscope within a shipping container by Masakazu Shirane

garden kaleidoscope by Masakazu Shirane

garden kaleidoscope by Masakazu Shirane

For the Kobe Biennial’s Art Container Contest, numerous designers were challenged to create an environment with the confines of a standard international shipping container. Designers Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki decided to create a gigantic kaleidoscope that people could walk inside and experience (sort of like the entrance to Tokyo Plaza).

But it wasn’t just about putting mirrors at every angle so the environment would radically change as people walked through it, explains Shirane. “We wanted to create the world’s first zipper architecture. In other words, this polyhedron is completely connected by zippers. And in order to facilitate even more radical change some of the surfaces open and close like windows.”

garden kaleidoscope by Masakazu Shirane

Shirane goes on to explain that typical architecture requires it to be strong, heavy and immobile. They, however, needed to make their structure soft, light and mobile. You can see some making-of shots here. And their work wasn’t just in vain. The project went on to win an award at the Kobe Biennial, as well – more recently – a CS Design Award.

garden kaleidoscope by Masakazu Shirane

garden kaleidoscope by Masakazu Shirane

(all quotes translated from Japanese to English by the author)

via the CS Design Awards


  1. oh man, that is just MAGICAL!

  2. I am totally amazed at this incredible talent…what an imagination!

  3. This also bears an uncanny resemblance to this project by Olafur Eliasson called La situation antispettiva.

  4. This is pretty friggin’ awesome. It’s the best use of a shipping container I’ve ever seen, and could be easily translated for different uses, such as amusements, or at arts fairs.

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