A wall of flower petals explodes into a thousand fragments. A huge ball levitates in the air, going from red to blue to purple. Hundreds of butterflies move around a screen of tiny water particles.
This is not a modern art museum, but the latest creation by Japan’s teamLab collective of engineers, artists and architects, anchored around a maze of seven saunas lit in shades of red, green and yellow.
The Tokyo-based digital art group took over an empty lot in the city’s glitzy Roppongi district and over the past year erected a gigantic tent that houses the sauna rooms and three immersive art installations.
“Art is traditionally exhibited in luxurious places like palaces or museums; we wanted to create a luxurious state of mind for people to experience, ”said Takashi Kudo, a member of the teamLab lab at a demonstration on Saturday.
“TikTok teamLab Reconnect” will be available from March 22 to the end of August. For $ 44 on weekdays and $ 53 on weekends, visitors can go in and out of the hot rooms and cold showers, and walk inside the artworks wearing only bathing suits.
The coronavirus means that seats in the largest saunas have been reduced from 24 to 12 and ventilation has been adjusted to meet government standards for air circulation.
Kudo was under dozens of large hand-blown glass lamps from Italy. The lamps slowly changed color from burnt orange to magenta, illuminating the dark corridors that separated the rooms.
The team said they wanted to affect all the senses, including touch, sound and smell. Aromas like roasted green tea float in one of the saunas and white birch in another.
“Nobody goes to an art museum like this because art is art and the sauna is a sauna,” Kudo said, pointing to his swimsuit. “What we wanted to try is to combine and offer a very different experience, and a very different experience of this art.”