The Aomori Nebuta Festival (青森ねぶた祭り) is a summer festival that takes place in Aomori in Northern Japan. The festival attracts the most tourists of any of the country’s nebuta festivals, and is counted among the three largest festivals in the Tōhoku region. Nebuta are three-dimensional paper sculptures, lit from within, taking on the form of demons and animals from history and myth. Participants in the festival wear a costume called haneto (ハネト) and dance in time with the chant Rasserā (ラッセラー).
“Vancouver-based design and production studio molo has made its name creating products with the most ephemeral of materials—paper. And their newest project—a year-round cultural center dedicated to the Japanese tradition of making paper floats—is as good a metaphor as any for the timelessness of ephemera. The firm, founded by Stephanie Forsythe and Todd MacAllen, is building the so-called Nebuta House in the northern Japanese city of Aomori.
More than 800 individually shaped steel ribbons will encircle a glass-and-steel structure, creating a 40-foot-tall screen that casts a pattern of light and shadow on the interior. In addition to a restaurant, it will contain gallery space, a theater, and a place for visitors to watch Nebuta artists at work.”
From the Architect’s Newspaper
view inside theater looking down to stage
Large sliding doors in the corner behind the stage open up and you see into the Nebuta Hall. In the hall a huge sliding door opens to the outside and you see the harbour (this is where the light is coming in)
framing for sloped seating in theater
view inside the Nebuta Hall (which will be all black) looking toward the volume containing the restaurant (with low windows looking in) and community room
low windows of restaurant looking into Nebuta hall
mock-up of the floor – pigmenting and polishing (grinding) the concrete with a terrazzo wheel
theater (which will be all black wood)
most glazing is now installed; this is the engawa – between glass and steel ribbons
The ceiling will be black plaster and the ground will be black gravel and black porous concrete. The mullions are solid steel, galvanized and treated with phosphoric acid until black.