Design In Japan, a former landfill becomes an art park
Designland art

In Japan, a former landfill becomes an art park

Giorgia Massari

After two decades of work, Sapporo’s Moerenuma Park opened in 2005. It is an open-air masterpiece signed by renowned Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi. Specifically, we are talking about a playground that blends art, nature and entertainment. It is not strange to juxtapose Noguchi’s name with interaction; think of the 1986 Venice Biennale , where the artist reflected on the meaning of sculpture and its function. Indeed, Isamu Noguchi believed in the social function of sculpture, reflecting particularly on its influence in public space. The shape of the park is ideal for experimenting and reasoning about the interactive aspect of art, Noguchi does so with Moerenuma Park even though he may never see it completed. Conceived in 1988, the park was completed a few days after the artist’s death. Despite this sad fact, the long wait seems to have been worth it. Visitors describe it as a “fusion of nature and art” in the city, and indeed it is. Moerenuma Park is dotted with geometric architecture and sculptures that blend harmoniously into the landscape. The layout itself is a fun interplay of lines and shapes, a small peninsula surrounded by a river that makes it all the more striking.

Moerenuma’s gems include a sculptural playground, a towering glass pyramid, and the infamous “musical shell,” which serves as a stage for concerts and dance performances. Another interesting aspect is the relationship between the park and the passing of the seasons, with its many plants constantly changing color palettes. From the cherry blossoms in spring to the explosion of warm fall colors, as well as winter activities such as cross-country skiing and sledding, Moerenuma changes life all year round.

It is important to emphasize the sustainable aspect of the park. In fact, the site on which the park is located is a former landfill site; in addition, the Glass Pyramid has been equipped with an air conditioning system that uses the natural energy of snow, highlighting the park’s commitment to environmental conservation.

Cover: Isamu Noguchi (design) con Shoji Sadao (architetto): Play Equipment a Moerenuma Koen, 1988-2004, Sapporo, Giappone. (Copyright © INFGM / ARS – DACS)

Designland art
Written by Giorgia Massari
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