Project by Gandong Cai MLA ’17 Tackling Loneliness in Tokyo Wins First Place at Bubble Design Competitions

“From Eliminating to Elevating: Tokyo Loneliness Tree Hole Plan,” a proposal by Gandong Cai MLA ’17 and Mingjie Cai RISD MLA ’18, has won first place in the inaugural Bubble Design Competitions, an international design competition. The brief asked what designers can do to eliminate loneliness in society?

Cai’s project tackles loneliness in Tokyo, proposing three “Urban Tree Hole” typologies for the area of Shibuya. “In the space of Urban Tree Hole_01 visitor can enter a pop-up store where he can sit down and look at a street tree through the store window, and start a silent conversation with it. In Urban Tree Hole_02, the visitor will walk through the corridor between two skyscrapers in which the city view is blocked, but the sky is reflected by tilted mirrors on both sides of the corridor. Urban Tree Hole_03 is an underground space beneath the Shibuya Crossing which collects “invisible” Tokyo water through the run- off and utilizes the water to form a water feature for the visitor to immerse,” states the proposal.

“Elegant, intelligent, emotional and enjoyably sad. The storytelling, as the visualisations hit the target. A project that demands a wider audience and another chapter,” noted the jury.

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