Photo © molo design

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Nebuta House is enclosed by ribbons of twisted steel, enamel-coated deep vibrant red and individually shaped to create variation: openings for light, areas of opacity, views, or opportunities for pedestrian circulation.The ribbon screen façade creates a sheltered outdoor perimeter space called the “engawa”, a spatial concept originating in traditional Japanese houses.

Photo © molo design

It is common to see visitors to the building playfully interacting with the ribbon screen. They simulate pushing or pulling the ribbons at the points where they are swept aside, squeeze between ribbons that are close together, or stand half inside and half outside the engawa.

Photo © molo design

During manufacture the steel ribbons were manually adjusted so that each appears unique. Part of this process was completed during prefabrication, when the ribbons where individually crafted, and part on-site during installation. This manual process of positioning ribbons allowed for variation and an organic appearance – no part of the finished screen was the result of digital fabrication. Design and crafting of the screen incorporated the functional repetition associated with serial production with the opportunity for randomness. Like all things handmade, the spontaneity of human intervention enlivens the necessities of function and, in this case, invites interaction.

Photo © molo design

Nebuta House, designed by molo and team, is a museum and centre dedicated to all aspects of the Nebuta festival and its creative culture in the Northern Japanese city of Aomori.