Nendo combines rain and flowers for installation at Le Bon Marché in Paris
Oki Sato's Nendo has designed three displays at Paris department store Le Bon Marché, including a series of kinetic blossom-like raindrops in the central atrium.
The installation, called Ame Nochi Hana, intends to explore the connection and interrelation between the universal elements of rain water and blossom. It is on show at the Bon Marché Rive Gauche department store in Paris until 16 February 2020.
Nendo focuses on these "manifestations of life" in installations on various floors of the store and in window displays, where they appear as "naturalistic reveries".
The most dramatic feature of the take-over is a series of "rain flowers" that hang in the atrium of the department store, between the escalators that customers use to access upper floors.
"I think I was inspired by something Issey Miyake said to me one day: 'you can evoke all sorts of emotion in art: anger, sadness, fear... but as a designer, you have to deliver happiness and joy'," said Sato.
The numerous white forms are designed to look like stylised versions of flowers, with petals that close to transform into raindrops.
As well as opening and shutting, the "rain flowers" can be raised and lowered in the atrium to create a kinetic display.
The installation serves to draw attention to the store's white-goods sale that takes place each January. Called mois du blanc, or month of white, the sale sees prices slashed on fridges, freezers and washing machines.
To celebrate, each year Le Bon Marché invites an artist to create a piece that transforms the interior of the store. Previous collaborators have included Leandro Erlich, Chiharu Shiota and Ai Weiwei.
Nendo decided to focus on the theme of droplets and flowers to represent the sale's spirit of making "a fresh new start" at the beginning of a new year.
"The desire was to express through three different installations that negative elements in our lives can be viewed as positive only by slightly changing our perspectives," explained the Tokyo-based studio.
"We hope that the customers that visit Le Bon Marché will have an illuminating experience for a fresh new beginning."
Other elements of the installation include a set of umbrellas that cast colourful shadows, called Uncovered Skies.
Visitors are encouraged to interact with the display by walking along the plinth. As they do so, imagery depicting raindrops and flowers is projected onto the floor in front of them.
The display is a reference to the tradition of Japanese scroll paintings, in which a narrative plays out along an unfurling horizontal plain.
Elsewhere in the store are a set of 20 bottles arranged on two shelves in a recessed alcove that hold leaves and other natural phenomena in a clear liquid.
Called Rain Bottle, the display references the many words for different types of rain in the Japanese language.
"Giving carte blanche to leading figures in contemporary design highlights the extraordinary inventiveness of artists who play with the boundaries between art, architecture and design," said Le Bon Marché.
"They borrow from various different disciplines to delight those fortunate enough to see their work."
Nendo is Japanese design studio that was established in 2002 by Oki. In the past year the studio has designed a diverse range of products and spaces, including a 3D-printed bonsai tree, a coffee shop in Kuwait, a stackable chair from recycled household plastics and a clock that becomes a perfect cube twice each day.