This summer, Japan House London
s celebration of the ingenuity of Japanese designers at Olympic Games, past and present, spills out onto the High Street with the unveiling of a brand-new creative street crossing specially designed by Tokyo 2020 Games emblem creator, artist Tokolo Asao.
A leading figure in the fields of art, architecture, and design, Tokolos eye-catching works are created using simple geometric patterns arranged around the theme of connecting, with a particular focus on the Japanese colour ai or Japanese indigo, a durable, weather resistant dye that retains its vivid dark blue colour over time.
Launching on Kensington High Street in August, the origins of the crossing design are unmistakeably linked to the Harmonised Chequered Emblem, brought to life so vividly through the drone display during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Artist Tokolo Asao commented: As a student at the Architectural Association in London, the city proved to be a defining experience for me that has gone on to shape my creative practice. I have always thought that there is great potential in working with patterns and signs within the context of transport. As someone who has also dreamed of designing for an airport, this opportunity - my first design for a street crossing at the heart of the city that has provided such inspiration throughout my career - is a genuine honour. I hope it leaves a lasting impression on the pedestrians who use it.
Simon Wright, Director Programming, Japan House London commented: This unique crossing designed by Tokolo Asao is the first in London, connecting Japan House and the London urban landscape. Follow it into Japan House and it leads you into the precisely calculated world of Tokolos designs and gives you a glimpse of the depth of 20 years worth of work. Celebrating the design legacy of the Tokyo Olympics both in 1964 and today - we hope that guests will join us to discover more about Japanese design at Japan House London.
Cllr Emma Will, Lead Member for Culture at Kensington and Chelsea Council, said: Kensington and Chelsea is hub of diversity, arts and culture, so to have the talented Tokolo Asaos design featured on our bustling Kensington High Street is a fitting tribute to the legacy of the Olympics, and of course the fantastic Olympic Games in Japan this year. Through the design and the theme of connectivity in the crossing, I hope all who visit Japan House and our borough also feel a sense of connectivity to the people, place and space around them as well as a recognition for the creativity and undeniable skill and talent that goes into Japanese design.
The large-scale geometrically patterned crossing project is part of a special summer season of exhibitions at Japan House London celebrating the achievements of Japanese designers at Olympic Games, including:
Tokyo 1964: Designing Tomorrow a celebration of the pioneering design and cultural legacy of the iconic Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games, - open now until 7 November 2021.
Tokolo Asao [CONNECT] an exhibition showcasing a sample of Tokolos work from the past 20 years, all united by the characteristic of connection, and exploring his collaborations with craftspeople across a variety of media including lacquer, porcelain and cut glass open now until 7 November 2021.
Olympic and Paralympic Torches real-life Tokyo 2020 torches created by eminent designer Yoshikoka Tokujin. on display until 6 September.
Tokolo Asao (b.1969) studied architecture from a young age and now works in the interdisciplinary fields of art, architecture, and design. Since 11 September 2001, Tokolo has been producing patterns to the theme of connecting. Tokolo has been a lecturer at the University of Tokyo Faculty of Engineering since 2016 and a lecturer at the University of Tokyo College of Arts and Sciences since 2018.