Posted by : Anand December 10, 2008

Tokyo Design Week 08

the listening room by MAT Studio and Elastik



The 20 foot shipping container was filled with CNC-cut layers of corrugated fiberboard and compressed-polyester foam panels, which cut out noise and vibration from the outside while the occupant listened to classical music.


Fifteen speakers were oriented towards the visitor’s seat in order to create what the designers hoped would be a “spatial sensation that is in-between the notion of the concert hall and the I-pod headphone.”


The installation was visited by about 4000 people over five days during Tokyo Designers Week.



The following information is from MAT and Elastik:

KT: the listening room is an installation specifically designed for the Tokyo Designers Week 2008.

When the Design Association of Japan together with Dezeen picked MAT and Elastik as one of the winners of a competition connected to 100% Design Tokyo, MAT and Elastik were able to transform some ideas they were working on into a custom made container-installation. When the Australian Creative Director Lou Weis invited MAT and Elastik to translate his work into a spatial design, he had already been working on an installation dealing with Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder for some time.

The resulting combination of these combined efforts: “KT: the listening room”, takes a number of the basic ingredients of the large scale installation and morphs it into a material system for a design event.

KT: the listening room attempts to create a personal audio experience in a secluded and private space in the turmoil of a high-profile design event in the heart of Tokyo.

Whilst maintaining the premise of the Kindertotenlieder cycle as a contemplative pivot for the installation, KT: the listening room integrates several other elements that make this piece attach itself to some key values specific to Tokyo urban culture. The sense of confinement to a small space. The idea of separateness in a multitude of others. The option of self chosen isolation. The ostensive layeredness of the urban fabric. The necessity to occasionally flee the chaos.

The design challenges can be narrowed down to two basic questions: how to instrumentalise a listening room within a 20 foot shipping container? How can acoustic substance inform material organization and vice versa?

Corrugated fiberboard panels and compressed polyester foam panels, that have been CNC sliced, are systematically clustered to form a circle of speakers, all focally oriented towards the listener’s sofa.

The material and acoustic design are intertwined into a whole, where principles of the soundproofing, reflectivity, rigidity and channeling of the reverberation are taken into account. The listening position of a KT container visitor is sound-wise isolating while keeping the visual connection with the outside uninterrupted.
In the KT: the listening room the distinctions between acoustic, structural and ornamental fade into a singular integrated personal space.

“Listening is believing”
There are two conditions of the listening importance of this project. The first one is the establishment of an experience as if one would jump into - and be wrapped by the nucleus of sound cell. The second one is the spatial sensation that is in-between the notion of the concert hall and the I-pod headphone.
Concert hall has a raw yet refined and live-performed sound while headphone has the individually adjusted sound that one can occupy.

By combining the two almost contradicting listening experiences - KT: the listening room enables people to inhabit the sound space of an audio event which absolutely differs from the everyday domestic experience. KT: the listening room allows the people to switch on and off the daily/non-daily event. It can be expressed with the following key markers: non-daily experience, petit-event, habitable audio.

After about 4000 individual visits in five days of 100% Design Tokyo, KT: the listening room container will be shipped to Europe, where future developments and public presentations will take place. The very first, the current prototypical version of a listening room, will be further developed.

November 18th, 2008


London and Cape Town-based designer Fly-pitcher has sent us images of Zero Gravity, his stand at Design Tide Tokyo last month.


Among work on show was Satellite Chandelier, an installation piece featuring nickel-plated TV and radio receiving equipment.


Other projects shown included the designer’s Corian Lantern and a stool prototype made from Nylon.


The following is from Fly-pitcher:

“Satellite Chandelier”

The launch of “Satellite Chandelier” represents a departure into a new direction for South African raised British designer fly-pitcher, in their first exhibition of work in Japan entitled Zero Gravity.


Above: Nylon Stool Prototype

The work forms a random cluster of reflective nickel-plated satellite TV dishes and radio antennae, and comments on our increasing dependence on information as entertainment; CNN, BBC, SKY, ITV and more global news channels than you can shake a stick at, with live coverage of 9/11, Iraq, global meltdown and recent stock market crash all making this piece more compelling.


Above: Corian Low Table

Not considered to be objects of beauty, the ubiquitous satellite dish has been re-contextualised inside the gallery space and given new status as a piece of design, raising questions of stability, permanence and how our society views beauty and function from separate sides of the room.


Piers Mansfield-Scaddan works under the alias fly-pitcher, designing limited edition products, installations and architecture. His individual approach to process provides an alternative to mass production.


Above: Corian Lantern

Other works include experimentation through model making, 3d printing and computer based manufacturing methods including high-end production techniques used in theautomotive industries.


Above: Satellite Chandelier

fly-pitcher is known for its innovative use of materials such as nylon, Kevlar™ and carbon composites, often working with producers and companies like Dupont Corian™ to produce concept pieces which are highly sought after and collected internationally.


“Seft Chair”

Seft is the product of a formal investigation to recreate the feel of an armchair in a contemporary material. Designed to appeal to the eye primarily and that changes profile as one walks around the chair.


More sculptural than purely functional chair, this model was and made in the studio over a period of about 3 years.


“Some ideas are quick to resolve themselves, others just take an unreasonable amount of time to resolve. At the time it was first ketched out, my ability to resolve this piece weren’t there. I struggled to find a way to finish the underside in a satisfactory way, that would feel that it was the same chair on both surfaces.”


Above: Seft Chair

Inspired by a Möbius curve which has only a single surface, the profile changes if walked around, the arm becomes the seat becomes the arm becomes the head rest.


Above: Carbon Steel Chair

Also, the bottom of the chair has been punched through to reveal the point where it connects with the floor.





Swedish designers TAF Arkitektkontor have designed a collection of adjustable furniture called Trestle, which was shown at the Cibone gallery as part of Design Tide Tokyo earlier this month.


The trestles have cast supports at the joints and can be combined with timber elements to create different furniture forms.


“It is about sustainability, timelessness and a dynamic function,” says Mattias Ståhlbom of TAF. “The wooden part is replaceable and can be cut for different heights and needs.”


Photographs by Joakim Bergström.


The following is from TAF:

To live a life with an object. Through a lifetime you have lots of different needs and wishes. We would like to believe that choosing a piece of furniture is not about the owners age.


It is about sustainability, timelessness and a dynamic function. Due to the cast reinforcement, like support stockings, the durability increases. The wooden part is replaceable and can be cut for different heights and needs.


Title: Trestle
Object: Trestle
Client: CiboneDesign: TAF Gabriella Gustafson & Mattias Ståhlbom
Date: 2008


Japanese architects Naruse Inokuma presented an installation called Forest of One Room during Tokyo Designers Week, which ended on Monday.


The installation was held at Gallery West in the Hillside Terrace complex in Daikanyama, designed by Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki.


The following is from Naruse Inokuma:

Forest of one room - Interactive scenery

The project is to realize the idea which won the competition named ROOMS DESIGN PREMIO. This competition was held in the Tokyo Designers Week two year ago.


And one of the jury is Toyo Ito. The idea is to set wood shaped furniture in the room and create rich, fun, comfortable space. The furniture is huge, 4.5m wide! This will be the brand new scenery only emerging for four days.


Forest of one room - Interactive scenery

Gallery West

B1F, Hillside West-B,
13-4 Hachiyama-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, JAPAN

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