Japanese design studio MoNo recently created the ‘Shining Tree in a Sacred Place’ art installation, a piece that the design duo dedicated to those who had passed away or been uprooted in the many disasters of 2011. Japan suffered more than most last year, the massive earthquake and tsunami in March had dramatic knock-on effects, including the Fukushima nuclear plant, and caused considerable damage and profound sorrow to the forward-thinking nation.

‘Shining Tree in a Sacred Place’ was a part of the eighth annual ‘Kusatsu Machiakari Yumeakari Hanaakari’ art installation event, which saw amazing light installations in  held in some historic shrines and temples of Kusatsu city. MoNo’s work was in the grounds of the ‘Oshioi Shrine’, constructed in Heian period more than 1100 years ago.

Acting as the anchor for the installation, was the ‘Shining Tree’, a higher than body length tree-like illumination device, made of non-woven fabric that was cut like Shide (shrine’s white paper). Beneath lay 120 candles in ‘SaSa’, a shade that was redesigned to resemble bamboo shoots. The candles were positioned made to look like the surface of the nearby Lake Biwa and guided visitors through the path of the installation. Each candlelight conveyed messages from the cityscape or life which had perished in an instant from the natural disasters of 2011, and also, those who had to move on to pastures new.

MoNo is a design studio in Yokohama, Japan for artist-architects duo, Fumiaki Nagashima and Mami Maruoka Nagashima. They work without borders and have therefore worked on a varied range of design and architecture, urban, interior and product, art installation, graphic and video.