Tokyo – Chances are, you’ve seen a Bao Bao bag in the wild: initially part of a 2000 Pleats Please collection from Japanese designer Issey Miyake, the line has since grown into its own brand. Constructed like flexible, colourful tangrams, the accessories have achieved covetable, cultish status among creative dressers.
A new line, Face, is a collection of four bags adorned with abstracted visages, each composed from the same – yet differently hued – triangles that go into each Bao Bao. To celebrate that launch, Hakuten and creative studio Wow Inc. translated Miyake’s vision into an immersive 90-sq-m exhibition experience. Face was held at the Eye of Gyre, a two-room art gallery in Tokyo’s Gyre luxury multipurpose complex, which neighbours popular shopping street Omotesando.
Projection mapping was used to emulate the graphic geometry of the collection: because each bag is flexible, the facial expression appears to shift slightly every time an item is added. Hakuten and Wow Inc. wanted to reflect the design subtleties of this and inject a similar sense of three-dimensionality into the space. In the first room, visitors were introduced to a huge, all-encompassing Bao Bao face. In the second, expressions danced around the walls, and visitors were encouraged to find their favourite.
Though a promotion space, the thoughtfulness shown toward the interpretation of the brand ethos made it seem less so – it put the true face of Bao Bao on display.
Face ran at Eye of Gyre from 18 October to 31 October 2018. The space has been submitted to the Frame Awards 2020 for consideration for Exhibition of the Year. Love Hakuten and Wow Inc.’s execution? Keep an eye on their progress, or submit your best work to compete, here.