Bubble universe: a glimpse into teamlab`s new borderless museum at tokyo`s azabudai hills

Designboom_ After operating successfully in Odaiba since 2018, the teamLab Borderless: Mori Building Digital Art Museum is preparing to move to Heatherwick studio’s Azabudai Hills in central Tokyo and reopen in early February 2024. Along with the Azabudai Hills Gallery, which is currently hosting its inaugural exhibition by Olafur Eliasson, and other various public art initiatives inside the new mixed-used district, Mori Building, aims to promote a museum-like environment where art and culture unite. Ahead of its official reopening, teamLab Borderless has unveiled two new exhibitions incorporating the concept of ‘wander, explore, discover in one borderless world’. designboom had the opportunity to visit the museum and experience the immersive ambiance of the exhibitions.

The first exhibition, Bubble Universe, is part of teamLab’s recent art project and is an interactive installation filled entirely with spheres that generate an endless interplay of light. Within these spheres, a blend of different lights, resembling soap bubbles, jelly-like masses, and stationary lights, creates an interconnected environment where neighboring spheres contribute to the ambient light. When someone pauses near a sphere, the closest one shines brightly and emits a tone, transmitting light to its nearest neighbors, creating a singular path of light. This interactive artwork, seemingly random in its arrangement, features resonating lights influenced by people’s interactions. As visitors interact within this space, the lights respond dynamically, creating a mesmerizing interplay influenced by their relationships and movements.

The other exhibition at the teamLab Borderless, currently in progress, is titled Megalith Crystal Formation and is divided into two parts: Flowers and People; and Black Wave. The first depicts masses of various time and space elements connecting harmoniously. Flowers within the installation undergo a natural cycle —blooming, withering, and fading away. When people move, the flowers disperse, but when they stand still, the flowers flourish. Created by a computer program in real-time, this interactive artwork changes continuously with viewer interaction, ensuring each visual state is transient and cannot be experienced again. The second part illustrates various temporal and spatial elements that exist randomly, yet connect to each other. This artwork emphasizes the interconnectedness of oceans and waves worldwide, symbolizing the essence of life. Waves represent life’s energy and vitality, appearing alive as they rise and disappear, eventually merging back into the ocean. teamLab creates these waves using simulations of water particles in 3D space, creating lines along their trajectories through what they term Ultrasubjective Space. This space liberates the viewer from fixed perspectives, ensuring a harmonious connection between the viewer’s space and the artwork itself.