Sou Fujimoto will use "only light" to create COS Milan installation

Milan 2016: Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto explains why he has chosen light rather than physical objects to create his Milan design week installation for fashion brand COS (+ movie).

In this movie created by COS, Fujimoto describes the ideas behind his Forest of Light installation, which will open for six days inside a former theatre in Milan next month.

COS installation by Sou Fujimoto

"The concept of this installation is like a forest of light, as the title," says Fujimoto. "It's a forest-like space created by spotlights."

Cones of light will shine down from the ceiling, creating illuminated spaces that will respond to the movement of visitors.

COS installation by Sou Fujimoto

"The light is reacting to the behaviours of people, so it is not a static forest – always changing," Fujimoto says. "You can interact between the space and your body."

The architect – known for his his gridded and latticed architectural structures – chose to use light to create a spatial experience rather than partitions or furniture, due to the short time period for the installation.

COS installation by Sou Fujimoto

"The reason why we finally didn't use any physical things – only light – is kind of a representation of a really short moment," says Fujimoto. "It happens there, and then it's gone without anything left."

His idea to create a "forest of light" builds on a continuing theme in his architecture projects, such as the 2010 Musashino Art University Museum & Library, where the aim was to create a "forest of books" using shelves rather than trees.

COS x Sou Fujimoto movie
Fujimoto chose to use light to create a spatial experience rather than partitions or furniture

"In my previous works, the concept of the forest has been very, very important," he says. "The inspiration of the forest not only comes from the natural forest, but from the artificial forests like Tokyo."

"This COS installation is the most pure realisation of the forest concept, only made by lights," Fujimoto adds.

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COS commissions an architecture or design studio to create an installation in Milan each year. Previous projects include designs by Nendo in 2014 and Snarkitecture last year.

For 2016, the brand asked Fujimoto after seeing his cloud-like 2014 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion – where COS sponsored the Park Nights series of talks.

COS x Sou Fujimoto movie
Sou Fujimoto with Martin Andersson, head of COS menswear, and Karin Gustafsson, head of womenswear design

"I feel we share the concept and feelings of simplicity," Fujimoto said of his relationship with COS.

Forest of Light will open from 12 to 17 April 2016 at Via Pietro Mascagni 8 during the annual Milan design week, which runs at the same time as the Salone del Mobile furniture fair.

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