Brooklyn designer arrested for “planting false bombs”

I’m writing this post from my phone as i just received this message and am away from my computer all day. Takeshi-san is a good friend of mine. I’ll update this post as I get more information.

Brooklyn-based designer Takeshi Miyakawa was arrested on Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 2am for “planting false bombs” – he was installing a new series light sculptures inspired by the I LOVE NY plastic shopping bags around the city in trees and on lamp posts as part of NY Design Week 2012.

A passerby called in a bomb threat after noticing the sculpture installation. The NYPD arrested Miyakawa while a bomb squad verified that the sculptures were non-threatening. The designer and four of his colleagues co-operated with the police, repeatedly explaining that the hanging bags were an art-installation, and not explosives.

At an arraignment on Sunday, May 20, 2012 the prosecution recommended that the judge fix bail, while his lawyer, Deborah J Blum, characterized Miyakawa’s arrest as a gross misunderstanding as evidenced by his many accomplishments in the field of design.

The Honorable Martin Murphy decided to hold Miyakawa for a mental evaluation, extending his detainment for an additional 30 days.

The 50-year-old designer relocated Tokyo to New York City 23 years ago, working for the renowned New York architect Rafael Vinoly. Miyakawa established his solo design practice, Takeshi Miyakawa Design, in 2001.

[update 10:00pm Sunday, May 20th]
Via Gothamist:

according to the person who made the complaint on Friday, the issue wasn’t that Miyakawa’s art appeared to be a bomb, but how they were going to get it off the tree. “I called 311 asking how to get that thing off my tree, if it was my responsibility or the city’s…the 311 woman put me through to 911 then the cops came. I left for work,” they wrote via email.

Miyakawa is currently still in custody. A facebook group has been set up where you can find, among other things, people and addresses to write to, requesting Miyakawa be set free.

[update 11:30pm Sunday, May 20th]
Takeshi is currently being held at Rikers Island without bail.

[update 3:00pm Wednesday, May 23th]
After spending 4 nights in prison without trial, Takeshi was just released from prison without bail! He must return to court on June 21 for a psychiatric evaluation, but justice has been served.

[update 10:00am Monday, July 30th]
Under the terms of the ACD (adjournment in contemplation of dismissal) ruling on 19 July, Miyakawa will walk free as long as he stays out of trouble for the next six months. He has also been ordered to serve ten days of community service.

We’re all relieved that this issue has been resolved and that now Takeshi-san can go back to making great design work.



  1. Poor Takeshi! Unbelievable that this is actually happening to him. And a mental evaluation as well, the poor man!

  2. What a gross overreaction by the authorities. Bad enough that he was arrested for this but held for mental evaluation? It’s a waste of time and money on someone who is obviously not a criminal.

  3. andrew michler

    May 21, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    This is clearly out of control, he has become a unsuspecting activist. Hope he gets out asap.

  4. ‘The law is an ass’.
    I was going to say…another good reason not to live in the USA but Australia can be just as absurd.

  5. I was also going to say…I Heart This Site.

  6. That’s terrible! The worst part is the “mental evaluation” what are they going to evaluate? How creative he is?

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