Using Japanese origami, Kyushu-based artist Takayuki Senzaki creates beautiful decor, like playing with shadows and creating cute plant patterns with traditional paper with designs that change when it is folded. During this year’s DesignTide, his colourful origami-style chandeliers as part of his ORIKAMI exhibition filled the walls with mysterious shadows creating a magical atmosphere. PingMag just had to visit Takayuki Senzaki right away.
Written by Ryoko
Translated by Natsumi Yamane
First, what exactly do you do?
I work as graphic designer and art director, based in Kyushu. With TETUSIN I’m also involved in design direction of stores and production of spatial and fabric works using plant-themed graphics.
What made you decide to use origami in the first place?
I started when I was in charge of the art direction for the “Lights of the Ancient City of Dazaifu” exhibition that was part of the Sentoumyou Festival at the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine in Fukuoka. The exhibition had three requirements; to be a workshop style exhibition, to take light as its theme – as it was a night exhibition – and to have a concept that matched the Dazaifu Tenmangu festival. So I came up with the image of the origami chandeliers and the origami garden.
A collection of sheets of origami paper printed with Senzaki’s graphics.
A majestic tree on origami paper – when folded it turns into a zebra pattern!
In preparation to that exhibition, I organised several workshops at the Kyushu National Museum in advance, to gather origami works to be used in the large exhibition. At the workshops, I asked people to write their wishes on a sheet of origami paper before folding them. A lot of people volunteered for this project. I also held a workshop on the festival day and showed these origami works at Dazaifu Tenmangu.
Folding a sheet of paper with your wishes and using it as lighting is an act that symbolises dedication to God. I also chose the plush and attractive chandelier as a contrast to the inexpensive origami paper that everyone in Japan is familiar with. I thought that would highlight the appeal of origami, and also remind people of its beauty.
Origami folded by workshop participants with their wishes included…
…and marvelous lighting further accentuates the beauty of the paper craft!
Why do you use plant motifs so often?
In my early twenties, I was really into design and contemporary art and used to visit Tokyo frequently. Then one day I went to Kyoto for no particular reason and found myself deeply moved by a garden I found there! Actually, I was in my twenties but that was the first time something moved me to tears! It was an experience of mixed feelings, with emotions surging from the innermost depths of my body and the denial of my existing values. In that garden existed everything that I believed was modern in design and art!
Since then, I’ve been visiting Kyoto at least once every season to look at various gardens across the city. Actually, I seriously considered becoming a gardener once, but I had no experience in landscaping. The gap between the ideal and the real was so wide that I thought it might be more fun to challenge spatial graphic design works rather than starting from square one with gardening.
For me, wall graphics – painting pictures on walls and windows – are a kind of garden constructed on a flat surface. The viewer can change their perspective by walking around in the room or looking at different times of the day… it might be similar to traditional sliding screen paintings, too. Also, that expression stems from the philosophy that a garden exists within people’s hearts regardless of their religion, and it does not necessarily need to present itself in an actual space…
Are there any of your works you feel particularly attached to?
I tend to start thinking of the next challenge as soon as I am finished with an exhibition or an event, so not really. Also as a person, I’m a positive thinker who doesn’t linger too much on the past. (laughs) And of course, there are still so many more things I want to do…
Finally, can you tell us about your next projects?
I have plans for two window graphics in Fukuoka this month, one is the Christmas decorations for the Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel which I have just finished.
Also in February next year, I will be working on the second “SWEETS” event at the Thrush Cafe in Fukuoka. This is a gourmet and graphic collaboration with the culinary expert Yoshiko Shimokawa. It involves decorating chocolate leaves on top of the graphics of dead trees and representing the centre of a flower with Japanese sweets. This should be a yummy event, both for the eyes and for the palate! As for the rest of the year, I would like to develop more products for my “TETUSIN” brand as well as creating more spatial works.
Origami graphic artist Takayuki Senzaki.
Takayuki, thank you very much for your wonderful origami art!