Flowers By Naked 2019

This year’s Flowers by Naked (at the same Coredo venue that hosts Art Aquarium during the summer) was better than last year but not as engaging as the first year I saw it. The art of projection mapped animation has taken such huge strides in three years that it kind of amazes me how wowed I was by the original production, but this group of artists has done a pretty good job of keeping up with the times, even if it’s not on the same scale as the TeamLab Borderless digital museum.

The new twist this year is fragrance, and although there were fewer different things to look at this year, the animations are sophisticated and entertaining.

The entry features two rather baffling “wells” that deliver steamy fragrances and a blooming flower animation that kindles in your hands if you cup them inside, plus a nice animated mural on the right wall…

…and three interactive “windows” on the left. The “shoji screens” pulse enticingly until you stand in front of them and throw them open with a gesture. Then a nice floral animation plays.

The central piece of 360° floral animation is really nice, but the wait to see it is a little annoying. An attendant in formal hakama stops you in a “grove” of bamboo, and invites you to listen to the stalks. I didn’t hear anything interesting before it was time to enter the animation area, which was a sit-down-and-watch-to-the-end affair, not something you could wander in and out of, like before. It also is attended by a guide, which makes it obvious one isn’t supposed to return to watch it again without coming in the front and standing in line.

The corridor from the animation area to the bar is lined with a blooming floral mural…

…and carpeted with two swaths of interactive flower paths. This one “parts” as you walk across it.

At the end, you arrive at the bar (where you can of course buy cocktails and flavored tea to sip in the room beyond) and the fragrance area.

The last attraction is a room where you need the Naked, Inc. app and a QR code scanner installed on your phone if you want the sensor to “scan” you and formulate a personalized scent. I couldn’t get the app to download on site, so do it before you come if you want to try this.

If you’re in Tokyo and you’ve never been to a Flowers by Naked exhibition before, you should go. It’s not a vast interactive environment of projection-mapped animation like the TeamLab Borderless digital museum, (and the Flowers by Naked folks bumped up the price this year, making it less of a must-go) but it’s an entertaining thing to do with friends, and worth seeing the different ways this new tech is blossoming.

Open: Every day until March 3, 2019

Hours: 10:00 – 20:00 (last entry 19:30)

Admission: ¥1600

Address: Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall 2-2-1, 5th floor

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When not fruitlessly trying to download obscure apps to her phone, Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Tokyo

When Detective Kenji Nakamura’s phone rings with the news that his mother’s death wasn’t an accident, his life begins to unravel…read more