This year’s London Design Festival saw Kouichi Okamoto of Kyouei Design present two wildly intriguing works as part of the many installations scattered around the iconic V&A. Contrasting the building’s history and grandeur, both Musical Table and Lighting Chair were artwork cum design products steeped in futurism, wonder and curiousity. Staggering beautiful, whilst equally inexplicably bewildering – what were they? What did they do? What were they there for? It’s almost as if an alien race obsessed with intricate electronics had dropped them off on an intergalactic museum visit.
Dig a little deeper, and things don’t get much clearer – Musical Table does pretty much what it looks like it does; trigger 504 single-sound musical box movements, with 504 table top volume controls… the attached Pendulum Sound Machine – a contraption comprising two tea-plates, a record deck and a series of pendulums – adds to the bizarre cacophony, as Okamoto plays out a perverse ambient symphony.
The second work is even more ‘does what you see’ – one chair with electronic sockets, the other with switches, lots of cable and lots of lights. There’s seemingly no hidden messaging behind Lighting Chair, it just looks good – really good – and what the buggery is wrong with that? Bewildering? Certainly. Utterly enchanting? More so. Kouichi Okamoto’s curious new experiments had us in raptures.