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Currently open in Los Angeles is the experiential installation, “The Art of Bloom,” designed by Daigo Daikoku. Open through the end of the month, it explores our relationship to nature, and specifically flowers through real plants, light, and AR interactions. Visitors are invited to connect on a physical and digital level, thanks to sensor technology and interactive projections.
Whitewall spoke with Daikoku about the multi-sensory immersion of sight, smell, and sound at the Edison Theatre in Long Beach.
WHITEWALL: What was the early inspiration for “The Art of Bloom”?
DAIGO DAIKOKU: I was most inspired by the Japanese Sakura—the cherry blossom. Flowers are beautiful not only when blooming but also when they are scattered and have fallen to the ground. When you look up, you can see many real white flowers, and when you look down, you can see petals creating a sort of carpet. I believe that this experience elicits deeper emotions in people because this kind of sense is universal regardless of race, gender or age.
WW: Flowers are symbols for occasions, feelings, relationships in multiple cultures. How did you choose which flowers to include in the installations? What do they represent for you and for the project?
DD: Throughout history, people have seen flowers as vessels to project a variety of meanings and messages. We selected a variety of sizes and shapes of white hydrangeas, roses, baby’s breath, and ranunculuses to use throughout the installation. I chose them for both aesthetics and diversity. They represent aspects of both strength and ephemerality.
WW: What kind of immersive experience did you want to create? What senses are activated?
DD: I really wanted to create an exhibition that awakens all of people’s senses, using design and technology. “The Art of Bloom” can activate all senses. Physical human interaction impacts your surroundings. You can feel the falling petals touch your skin, hear the symphony of nature all around you, and smell the floral aroma in the air.
WW: Why did you want this to be more than just an opportunity for a selfie? How do you make visitors experience more?
DD: Taking a look at the experiential space today, we feel that there has to be more than just pink walls and selfies. What we need more of, as humans, are deeper experiences that are driven by emotion and meaning. We want to feel something, reflect, and learn.
WW: How can tech and design be harnessed to create sentimental experiences?
DD: Design and technology can stand out and shape the ways in which we want to communicate on a deeper level. I love the physical and exploring the use of new materials, so I really wanted to emphasize not only the technology but also the tactile nature of the work. Featuring real flowers, cutting-edge lighting technology, and AR interactions that blend both the physical and digital, we hope the Art of Bloom will allow visitors the opportunity to connect with nature in an entirely new way.
WW: What do you hope visitors walk away from “The Art of Bloom” with?
DD: I hope that visitors enjoy the experience and gain a deeper understanding of the symbiotic relationship between humans and nature.
WW: What personal relationship do you have with flowers?
DD: Flowers are important to me. I keep flowers in my house every day because they bring me joy and a sense of awareness of my relationship with nature. In some of my earlier work, I created the “Nature Collection” which is an art piece with over 200 flowers, leaves, branches, and mushrooms encapsulated in acrylic resin.