Goppion has produced the display cases for the Artizon Museum in Tokyo

07 Feb 2020

The new Artizon Museum, an incarnation of the former Bridgestone Museum of Art founded in 1952 by Ishibashi Shojiro, owner of the Bridgestone company and one of Japan's leading art collectors, has opened its doors in the heart of Tokyo.

The Museum had been located in the company's headquarters, where, however, the exhibition spaces were too small in size and the low ceilings typical of offices prevented large works from being displayed. Then, in 2012, it was decided that the Bridgestone building would be entirely rebuilt on the same site, and thus the museum would be redesigned from scratch. Nikken Sekkei were hired to design the new structure, while Tonerico Inc were employed to design the Museum, located on the lower levels. Work was completed in July of 2019, and on Saturday 18 January the Museum opened its doors to the public with a brand new look.

Thanks to the Ishibashi Foundation, which Shojiro founded in 1956 to fulfil his lifelong dream – to share the art he had collected over the years and to continue sharing it in the future – after 65 years the collection has grown to include 2,800 works of art from the ancient world; the modern period, particularly Impressionist masterpieces; the twentieth century; and the contemporary era. This permanent collection will be displayed in rotating temporary exhibitions.

The new Artizon Museum has now come to symbolise a rebirth, embodying the desire to take on both a new name and new form: a place where the public can not only admire the art but also experience the concept of creativity in the past, present, and future.

The exhibition space currently occupies an area of about 2,100 m2, twice that of the old Museum. The Artizon Museum was designed and built in accordance with the highest standards for earthquake safety, with a view towards totally isolating the works in the event of a tsunami or flooding. To meet the particular curatorial needs of this new, urban-style museum, Goppion, a leading Italian designer of cutting-edge display systems, was hired to create six display cases. One of the main challenges that the Milanese company encountered was the complexity of the motorised and remote-controlled opening systems, which are operated electronically. Of the six display cases, three are equipped with motorised openings, which in the event of a power outage, for example after an earthquake, can still be opened manually so that the works can be handled and secured.

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