The artist Ryuhei Nadatani, Director of the Toyama Design Studio, designed and managed an art installation that included 1000, ¼” thick lathe-carved kiln-glass bars measuring 1” x 35” for the walls of the Hokuriku Shinkansen rail line* at Toyama Station in Toyama, Japan. Not including framing, the glass cladding encompasses a space nearly 86’ long by 15’ tall.
Our collaboration with Nadatani was made possible through his relationship with Junji Miwa of Jujo Co., a Bullseye Glass Co. distributor in Japan. Nadatani needed special colors of glass for this project and Junji brought him to Bullseye Glass Co. in 2013 to discuss the possibilities. Ultimately, Bullseye produced custom glasses for Nadatani based on a color sheet he provided: Toyama Blue (the color of The Gulf of Toyama), Toyama Jade Green (the color of Jade produced near Toyama), and Toyama Amber (the color of Toyama’s “gold waves” of rice ears). These special production custom colors remain named with the Toyama prefix in honor of our relationship with Ryuhei Nadatani.
Bullseye Studio cut the colored glasses into narrow bars and hand-lathed five distinct patterns into 6mm thick bars of clear glass. The patterns mimic certain Japanese wood carving motifs of the region which would traditionally be carved into Japanese architectural woodwork. The custom-colored glass bars and their carved counterparts were sent to Nadatani’s studio in Japan where they were tack-fused together and glued to float glass in specific orientations. The glass panels were then installed as cladding on the walls of the Hokuriku Shinkansen tracks.
This kiln-glass artwork is actually the larger backlit installation of a two-piece work at Toyama Station by Nadatani. The second work, set to be completed in 2020, is roughly two-thirds the size (~64.5’ long x 9’ high) and is located 16’ across the way at the station of the local rail line. Commuters and travellers will be able to see both works at once. The Hokuriku Shinkansen line wall is themed in the color green to represent land, while the local line wall is themed in the color blue to represent the sea.
Ryuhei Nadatani says that our work on their project has helped bring to it a feel of Portland’s “artisan-spirit.”
*This Shinkansen train (aka “bullet train”) is operated by Japan Railways (JR) Group companies and features some of the fastest trains in the world, traveling at up to 199 miles per hour. The station at Toyama links Takasaki in Gunma Prefecture with Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture on the Sea of Japan coastline.
The Japan News: Glass art decorates street car station [Toyama]