Cities Around the World Are Reimagined as “Tokyo-ized” Versions of Themselves

The city of Tokyo is known for its hypnotizing bright neon lights and signage that lines the streets—a distinction that makes it feel different from anywhere else in the world. But, what if this striking visual characteristic was the norm rather than the exception? Japanese architect Daigo Ishii imagines how this would look in Worldwide Tokyo-lization Project, a series that takes this aesthetic and applies it to cities around the globe.

Ishii has envisioned six places as Tokyo-themed landscapes, including: New York, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, La Paz, Paris, and Venice. Taking the form of animated GIFs, each place shows a present-day view and then switches to its Tokyo-fication. The once-calm streets are bombarded with advertisements, kawaii characters, and a lot of color. Copenhagen's subdued buildings are lit with glittering signage while the Eiffel Tower gets a cherryblossom makeover.

This stark transformation strikes the heart of Ishii’s project, which explores the idea of locality—if elements from one culture are placed into another context, does the host city maintain its own identity, or does it become a brand new place? With Tokyo’s powerful visual culture, the line is often blurred.

Worldwide Tokyo-lization Project, originally produced as a video piece, is now on display at the 2016 Venice Biennale through November 27, 2016.

Above: New York City




Buenos Aires

La Paz, Bolivia

Daigo Ishii: Website
via [Spoon and Tamago, designboom]

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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