We created the signs for the Naoshima Standard 2 exhibition, held at the well-known Benesse Art Site Naoshima contemporary art collection on Naoshima island in Japan’s Inland Sea.
The project included all of the signs at Takamatsu, Miyaura and Okayama, the three ports that serve the island, as well as all of the exhibition signs on the island and the planning for a photography exhibition on the island’s ferries. We wanted the signs to be inexpensive, durable, water- and dirt-resistant. They also needed to be stackable for easy storage after the exhibition run finished, and to be reusable for future shows. Based on these criteria, we decided to use white traffic cones for all of the signs. We also wanted to send a subtle message with them, so we added a hand touch to each and every one of them. When we put lights in some of the cones, irregularities in the metal molds used to make gave them a soft glow like light shining through Japanese handmade paper. We placed 625 of these cones at the ferry dock in Miyaura, the main entrance to the island. Once an hour, the cones are triggered by the waves, and programmed to light up to welcome visitors.
The signs for each art site refer to the design of each artwork. One sign, for the piece by photographer Sugimoto Hiroshi, has a pair of binoculars perched on it as though to say “Look over there. “The cone for the piece by artist Uehara Michiyo sprouts a cat’s tail, and one of them, for the piece by architectural firm SANAA, just swings in the breeze. White traffic cones also serve as rubbish bins, ashtrays and exhibition stands to subtly unify the entire exhibition.

for Benesse Art Site Naoshima
Takumi Ota