Lonely Planet Writer

Tokyo's digital greenhouse showcases plants as design

A futuristic digital greenhouse has been created in Tokyo that shows plants as design. The project is called Digital Vegetables, and it is encouraging visitors to smell, touch and learn about the plants.

A futuristic digital greenhouse in Tokyo shows plants as design. Image: Digi Vege/PARTY

The Grass Square in Tokyo Midtown’s garden space in Japan houses a massive digital, technicolor greenhouse, and its interior is planted with seven different types of familiar vegetables. The ceiling is lined with LEDs invoking the sky and water, and when visitors directly touch the vegetables, the LEDs inside the greenhouse react.

A futuristic digital greenhouse in Tokyo shows plants as design. Image: Digi Vege/PARTY

When you touch each vegetable – and the seven being grown there are tomato, carrot, cabbage, mini radish, sweet potato, eggplant and pumpkin – the space is transformed with lights in the colour of its leaves. The experience is enhanced by videos and sounds that are designed to spark ideas about the shapes and colours that are growing beneath the soil.

A futuristic digital greenhouse in Tokyo shows plants as design. Image: Digi Vege/PARTY

The audio was created by sound designer Ray Kunimoto, who recorded actual sounds of rubbing seeds, touching leaves and eating fruit and mixed them with orchestra instruments to make seven melodies. “Tomatoes are violin, carrots are trumpet, cabbages are oboe, mini radishes are flute, sweet potatoes are piano, eggplants are harp, pumpkins are clarinet,” he says. “Gently touch the vegetables, and listen to the symphony of instruments and vegetables.”

The idea is to welcome visitors in to smell, touch and learn about agriculture by creating a richly-coloured interactive experience. Organisers are aiming to take the vegetables that we normally only consider as food and allow for an exploration of their varied aspects as plants and design.

A futuristic digital greenhouse in Tokyo shows plants as design. Image: Digi Vege/PARTY

Digital Vegetables is the work of PARTY and forms part of the 2017 Design Touch event. It runs until 5 November from 11am to 9pm. Admission is free and further information is available here.