Martin Lighting brings Japanese ‘Castle on the Sea’ to life


Wataru Ito, a student of the Tokyo University of Arts, spent four years creating ‘Castle on the Sea,’ a one of a kind origami cityscape, illuminated using Martin professional LED and fiber optic lighting sources.


The 2.4x1.8 meter model, made by cutting and folding hundreds of pages of paper, and constructed using only a knife, glue and a hole punch, debuted on April 30, 2009, and won top prize at the university’s Grand Prix of Art Festival.

The artwork is displayed on the artificial island of Umi Hotaru, a crossover point of the Trans-Tokyo Bay Highway, a bridge-tunnel across Tokyo Bay and the client on the project. The model incorporates a church, school and factory surrounding a centerpiece castle, which is loosely based on Spain’s El Temple de la Sagrada Familia. A ferris wheel, windmill and train are motorized to allow for movement.

Lighting the delicate artwork both internally and externally was a collaborative effort between Ito and the Nakajima Tatsuoki Lighting Design Laboratory Inc. Working with a theme of ‘The Seven Seas,’ LED was chosen to light the outside in order to avoid damage from ultraviolet and infrared rays, with fiber optic used on the inside to avoid heat damage.

Two Martin FiberSource CMY150 fiber optic illuminators with CMY color mixing and full-range dimming are used to illuminate the piece from the inside, one mimicking window light while the other exposes the detailed architecture. A total of approximately 800 optic fibers, each 0.75mm thick, supplied by Yamanaka & Co. Ltd., were inserted into the miniature castle.

Installed in the ceiling of the glass display case that houses the work are five RGBW full color mixing Alien LED Downlights – of which four are standard and one high power, used to simulate the various blues of the Seven Seas and to express the light of the sun and moon. A Martin Maxxyz PC is used for lighting control and programming. Special lighting programs can be used with customized color schemes on special occasions such as New Year's, Valentines Day, Pink Ribbon Day, or Christmas. All Martin lighting equipment was supplied through Martin’s Japanese representative, Martin Professional Japan.

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