This tour route at THE KOBE SHIMBUN Harima factory offers a unique and immersive experience. The factory itself boasts a seismic isolation structure, inspired by the lessons learned from the devastating Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995. Visitors can witness this structure firsthand as they descend into the underground pit. To enhance the experience, a light installation projects newspaper articles about the earthquake across the entire underground space, allowing visitors to vicariously experience the disaster. This program serves as a means to pass on the memories and lessons of the earthquake to the next generation.
From the planning stage, the tour route incorporates various interactive elements to engage visitors. The exhibition utilizes the entire space, from the floor to the ceiling, to create a comprehensive experience. One particularly captivating feature is a wall gimmick that uses the optical illusion of letters, providing a playful experience for children.
The design specifications for this project include materials such as acrylic and cutting sheets for the graphic on the ceiling, inkjet sheets for the graphic on the wall, and bonded steel plates for three-dimensional underground objects. Additionally, projectors are installed to showcase underground movies.
Throughout the tour route, visitors encounter numerous quizzes printed on the walls, encouraging them to not only observe but also think critically. In the multi-purpose room, a panel resembling a newspaper presents the chronology of THE KOBE SHIMBUN's history, spanning over 120 years.
The project commenced in May 2019 and was completed in the same year. One of the challenges faced during the design process was the initial plan to incorporate projection mapping in the underground installation. However, due to cost-effectiveness concerns, the team opted for eight low-cost lighting projectors, which provided greater flexibility and a wide range of image projection possibilities.
The underground pit, with its seismic isolation structure, serves as a space for visitors to learn about the memories and lessons of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake through a special experience. The light installation projects articles reported by customers during the earthquake, allowing the younger generation to vividly experience the event.
This remarkable design by Yoko Umakoshi and architect Noboru Oshita has been recognized with the Bronze A' Design Award in the Interior Space, Retail, and Exhibition Design category in 2023. This prestigious award celebrates designs that demonstrate outstanding creativity, resourcefulness, and technical skills, contributing to improvements in quality of life and making the world a better place.
Project Designers: SPACE CO., LTD.
Image Credits: Image#1: Designer Yoko Umakoshi, Factory tour of THE KOBE SHIMBUN, 2019. Image#2: Designer Yoko Umakoshi, Factory tour of THE KOBE SHIMBUN, 2019. Image#3: Designer Yoko Umakoshi, Factory tour of THE KOBE SHIMBUN, 2019. Image#4: Designer Yoko Umakoshi, Factory tour of THE KOBE SHIMBUN, 2019. Image#5: Designer Yoko Umakoshi, Factory tour of THE KOBE SHIMBUN, 2019.
Project Team Members: Designer:Yoko Umakoshi, Architect: Noboru Oshita
Project Name: The Kobe Shimbun
Project Client: SPACE CO., LTD.