On mid-January of every year, the iconic French department store “Le Bon Marché” holds its renowned “mois du blanc” holiday sale of white household goods.
White merchandise such as linens, towels and dishes are specially displayed and sold to allow for a fresh and festive start for the year.
Local Parisians look forward to the annual “white exhibition” created by a guest artist, spread across the different areas of the store
After making considerations for this exhibition, the theme of “droplets and flowers” was a developed, representing the sale’s spirit of “a fresh new start”.
Droplets might be perceived as negative, when thinking of heavy rain-drops or tears of sadness.
Flowers, however, usually represent positive notions such as vitality and happiness.
Although they seem as two opposite ideas, one cannot exist without the other, similarly to light and shadow.
And so when developing the design, the two elements were treated equally.
Rain in general, can also be seen as a nuisance; it reminds people of grey skies, wet clothes, and sticky mud that covers their shoes.
However, rain is vital for life on earth and in many cultures people regard rain as a gift from god.
Metaphors addressing rain are abundant, and exist across cultures.
In Japan, rain is perceived as being able to smoothen communication between people like the calm that follows a storm, and in China the mythical Rain Dragon is an admired creature believed to be an emissary of the gods that brings good luck.
Other cultures also have very positive associations for rain, as an element that replenishes the earth, or even described as the tears of angels.
The desire was to express through four different installations that negative elements in our lives can be viewed as positive only by slightly changing our perspectives, hoping that the customers that visit Le Bon Marché will have an illuminating experience for a fresh new beginning.
A rain drop falls into a bottle and gradually blend together into a vase from which a flower starts to bloom.
The flower will eventually wilt and the vase will collapse to form a water puddle, from which flowers reemerge.
It is a small story portrayed using light and sound in the ten display windows by the main entrance of Le Bon Marché.
The 500 sqm atrium is well known for it’s iconic escalators located in its center. Suspended from the 15-meter high ceiling of the atrium are 120 droplet-shaped objects that gently descend like falling rain.
As they move down from the third floor to the first floor, each droplet transforms into a “flower”, gradually changing the rain fall into a bed of flowers.
Each flower then ascends into the sky as if carried by wind, and transforms back into a droplet that will fall back down again.
The dynamic movement of the installation changes the appearance of the atrium on any given moment and from any point of view.
Rue de Babylone Entrance
2The “rain bottle” installation showcases twenty “bottled” types of rain.
Although there are only a few ways to describe “rain” in English, in Japanese, there are dozens of words for “rain”, depending on the yearly season, the amount and size of rain drops.
The installation shows that by focusing on subtle details and changes we can maximise our field of view.
In the installation “uncovered skies” visitors carry umbrellas under bright white spotlights and notice a moving image appear on the shadows that are casted from the umbrellas.
Usually, the umbrella covers the view of the sky when in use, however in this case, the visitor feels as if the skies are “revealed” by the umbrella, making the experience of using it, unique and memorable.
The installation was first exhibited in the Suntory Museum, Tokyo, in April 2019. New animations were created for Bon Marche to fit the concept of “rain”, “flower” and Parisian scenery.