Japan-ized Cities: Surrealistic “Worldwide Tokyo-lization Project”

A team of designers has taken iconic images of major global cities and added a “rich graphic language and vibrant visual effects” to blend each one with elements of Japanese infrastructure and visual culture.

tokyo buenos aires

Presenting their work at the Venice Architecture Biennale, this strange art series from Daigo Ishii + Future-Scape Architects aims to question our ideas of locality and our sense of civic imagery and identity.

tokyo denmark

What happens, they ask, when a familiar underlying environment gets an overlay, sending mixed signals to observers? Is it the underlying shape and form of a place that make it what it is, or those other visual cues that lend familiarity?

tokyo paris

The firm set their cities on cities including New York, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen and La Paz, each time pulling in distinctively Japanese elements, from neon signage to cherry trees.

tokyo bolivia

In each case, the result is a surreal hybrid, playing off cues in source photographs shot in the United States, Argentina, Denmark, France, Bolivia and Italy, becoming something that is neither here nor there, original or artificial.

“The project seeks to present an amalgamation between traditional architectural studies and surprising artistic elements.” The display in Venice consists of “a video work shown on a large-scale monitor, with six surrounding boards displaying the final scenery of each city after ‘Tokyo-lization’ has taken place.”