Environment of Understanding

This project is called “Hope Tree” and it aims to encapsulate you in a world of light and help you to fully immerse yourself in the essence of our natural environment. As the designers put it, “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.” With that problem in their path, they set to work creating a tree.

Shelter, gardener, and friend, this is the tree. The tree has been one of us humans most used objects in history, from a single sheet of paper to a gigantic mansion house. We must take care of this resource before it gets chomped down into oblivion.

Inside a 20 foot shipping container, the tree enveloping the space within it, made up of 670 self-supporting watercolor paper panels this environment then surrounds anyone who enters it. The rigidity of each watercolor panel was further reinforced by edges of cardboard to create a box form. These panels were sized such that they’d be able to assemble a spacial arch based on traditional construction, while leaf-like cutouts were sized and placed in the panels depending on their geometry.

Behind each panel, tracing paper is placed for diffusion, diffusion of an array of LED lights which then shine into the tree. Each leaf cutout exposed itself more and more each day as the watercolor paper’s expansion and contraction based on humidity took place.

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

Designers: Fumio Hirakawa and Marina Topunova of 24° Studio