Japanese architect reuses phone technology to make musical instrument from bamboo and carbon fiber rings | The work

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Bamboo and carbon fiber are woven together to form a ring structure that resonates with the sound of music, in an innovative installation by Chinese consumer electronics maker Oppo and Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.

Ring ‘Bamboo (竹): || The weaving of a symphony of lightness and form was designed to be exhibited during Milan Design Week 2021. It occupies the courtyard of the Cortile dei Bagni in Milan, where it will remain until September 19.


This is an evolution of a 2019 installation that Kuma and Oppo collaborated on for the London Design Festival. It was in this installation, “Bamboo (竹) Ring: Weaving into Lightness”, that Kuma first explored weaving bamboo and carbon fiber to create a strong, earthquake-resistant material that reflected the Design principles also applied to the National Stadium of Japan for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

The 2021 installation merges Kuma’s structural design with technology and classical music to transform the rings into a musical instrument.

The Oppo London Design Center research and development center has integrated technology into the fabric, including new haptic motors, solid-state speaker bands and exciters, to produce an immersive base and higher frequencies. which reverberate the bamboo with the vibrato of the violin and the effect of a percussion instrument.

The bamboo structure itself is vibrated to reproduce the sound of the violin, using excitation technology that transforms surfaces and materials into sound sources, replacing the concept of traditional speakers. The sound produced is characterized by the material properties of bamboo.

Using new technologies originally developed by USound for mobile and portable devices, the microscopic solid-state speakers are arranged in thin, flexible bands to produce rich, vibrant high frequencies.

Haptic motors used to generate vibrations in cell phones and game controllers are capable of producing sound-based haptic patterns. In this installation, Nanoport Titan Haptics’ Impact haptic technology is used to strike the bamboo structure like a drum, recreating the effect of percussion instruments.


These technologies relay a score, composed and performed by Midori Komachi on the violin and inspired by the four seasons. The score (click here for a clip) is superimposed on nature-inspired sounds, developed in a dialogue between the composer and Oppo for his digital wellness app O Relax.


Kuma said: “When I design architecture, I am interested in designing rhythm and tone rather than silhouette, and contemporary music gives us many lessons on how to create new rhythms and tones in. architecture. This pavilion is one of the explorations into the new rhythms and tones of architecture combining the visual and acoustic experiences of visitors. “

Jintong Zhu, Director of the Oppo London Design Center, commented: “We are delighted to partner again with Kengo Kuma, an architect known for seamlessly integrating nature and culture. Together, we demonstrate how we can use technology and design to add value to our daily lives, building on our philosophical principles of ‘technology as an art form’ and our branding mission of ‘la technology for humanity, be kind to the world ”.

After Milan Design Week, Oppo will donate Bamboo Ring to Arte Sella Park in Trentino, Italy, a contemporary art museum with outdoor exhibits made from natural materials and against the backdrop of the mountainous Sella Valley.

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