Hope Tree is a mesmerizing installation seen at this year's Tokyo Designers Week 2010 that combines paper and light within a 20 foot shipping container. Visitors walk into the space to find a toroidal surface composed of 670 self-supporting watercolor paper panels punched with leaf-like cutouts. To make the experience even more ethereal, these openings are illuminated by LED string lighting, which allowed for coverage of the entire space with minimal watt usage. Designed by 24° Studio, Hope Tree was recently announced as one of the winners of the Environmental Container Design & Art Competition sponsored by the Design Association NPO and Dezeen.
“The Hope Tree installation was envisioned as a spatial condition that attended to question our surroundings as we know it and hoping to generate a discussion and understanding amongst the visitors about the place of our everyday life, our environment. 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,” explains 24° Studio about the design.
The entire toroidal space was situated within a 20 foot shipping container, providing an opportunity to emphasize a curvy enclosure (even though the exterior is naturally very boxy) with the representation of a tree at the center of the space. The symmetry of the toroidal form allowed for minimized typological variation of each panel, which made the manufacturing process a lot simpler. The box panels were assembled in a spatial arch (inspired by traditional masonry arch construction), allowing the elliptical ceiling arch load to be equally distributed between the central column and the perimeter wall.
The leaf-like cutouts were strategically sized and deformed and the openings were backed with a tracing paper which acted as a diffusing surface for the LED string lighting behind it. An especially cool feature of the design was that the property of the watercolor paper provided a dynamic response to the conditions within the container. The leaf-like cutouts constantly warped inwards and outwards, changing the play of light depending on the humidity and condensation in the space.