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OPPO and Japanese architect create bamboo multisensory installation

Collaboration with Kengo Kuma for Milan Design Week
immerses viewer in soundscape of rhythms and tones

Bamboo (竹) Ring :|| Weaving a Symphony of Lightness and Form by OPPO x Kengo Kuma in Milan Design Week

Leading smart device manufacturer and innovator OPPO has partnered with Japanese architect Kengo Kuma to create Bamboo (竹) Ring :|| Weaving a Symphony of Lightness and Form. The multi-sensory installation bears the theme “Creative Connections,” fusing architecture with music, design innovation, technological prowess, and user experience to create a sense of time and space.

It is on display in Milan’s Cortile dei Bagni courtyard during Milan Design Week until Sept. 19, 2021. This is OPPO’s second time in Milan Design Week; it collaborated with the Royal College of Art in 2019.

This landmark project also marks the second time OPPO and Kengo Kuma have collaborated in design. The first was their original Bamboo Ring exhibition at the 2019 London Design Festival.

Bamboo Ring

The 2019 iteration of the Bamboo Ring installation explored the harmonious relationship between humans and nature, concretized in lightweight yet strong structures made with bamboo and carbon fiber.

This year, OPPO’s experiential installation pushes further the original concept with the use of pioneering technology to engage all the senses through a series of orchestral scores composed by Japanese violinist Midori Komachi with Musicity.

The landmark installation at Cortile dei Bagni in Milan will be moved to Arte Sella Park in Trentino, Italy, after Milan Design Week.

Inspired by sounds found in O Relax, OPPO’s digital wellbeing application that offers comforting nature and city sounds from around the world, Midori composed various soundscapes based on the four seasons, which move with the viewer through the structure.

“When I design architecture, I’m interested in designing the rhythm and the tone rather than the silhouette, and contemporary music gives us many lessons about how to create new rhythms and tones in architecture,” explains the creative visionary Kengo Kuma. “This pavilion is one of the explorations into the new rhythms and tones in architecture combining visual and acoustic experiences of the visitors.”

The installation’s woven structure, crafted from rings of bamboo and carbon fiber, becomes an instrument as music travels through it via structural sound technologies originating from OPPO London Design Centre’s research. Integrating various sound technologies such as haptic motors, MEMS speaker strips, and exciters, the installation produces an immersive base and a range of higher frequencies which reverberate in the bamboo to create an overall effect similar to a percussion instrument.

“OPPO is a human-centric brand, and our focus is on innovating for the people. We are delighted to partner with Kengo Kuma again, an architect who is known for seamlessly integrating nature and culture,” says Jintong Zhu, head of OPPO London Design Centre. “Together, we demonstrate how we can use technology and design to add value to our daily lives drawing on our philosophy principles of ‘Technology as an Art Form’ and our brand mission ‘Technology for Mankind, Being Kind to the World.’”

After Milan Design Week, OPPO will donate the Bamboo Ring installation to Arte Sella Park in Trentino, Italy, a contemporary art museum with outdoor exhibits made from natural materials and backdropped by the mountainous Sella Valley, where it will find its permanent home.

Credit: OPPO Philippines/YouTube

Kuma, born in 1954, decided to pursue architecture at a young age, after seeing Kenzo Tange’s Yoyogi National Gymnasium for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. He studied Architecture at The University of Tokyo, completing a Masters in 1979, and established Kengo Kuma & Associates in 1990.

As professor at the Graduate School of Architecture at The University of Tokyo, he set up the Kuma Lab to research new materials and conduct a course in advanced digital design and fabrication.

His award-winning firm focuses on architecture which naturally merges with its surroundings, proposing gentle, human-scaled buildings. The firm is constantly in search of new materials to replace concrete and steel, and seeks a new approach in a post-industrial society.

OPPO is a leading global smart device brand. Since the launch of its first mobile phone, “Smiley Face” in 2008, OPPO has been in pursuit of the perfect synergy of aesthetic satisfaction and innovative technology. Today, OPPO provides a wide range of smart devices spearheaded by the Find and Reno series. Beyond devices, OPPO provides its users with the ColorOS operating system and internet services like OPPO Cloud and OPPO+. OPPO operates in more than 50 countries and regions, with six research Institutes and 5 R&D centers worldwide, as well as an International Design Center in London.

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