‘World’s first’ inflatable concert hall goes up in Japan’s disaster area


A giant purple structure touted as the world’s first inflatable concert hall is ready to open on the disaster-hit northeastern coast, promoters said.

British sculptor Anish Kapoor and Japanese architect Arata Isozaki created the unusual Ark Nova, a balloon made of a coated polyester material that has been erected at a park in the town of Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture.

The structure, which organizers say is the first of its kind anywhere, measures about 18 metres high and 35 metres wide when fully inflated, creating enough room for about 500 people.

It can be easily deflated and travel around the region to host events that “help bring people together,” a press statement said.

Wood from the area’s fallen cedar trees will be used for seating.

The first event will run from Friday through Oct. 14 and will include performances by the Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra and traditional kabuki theater.

The event was arranged with the help of Switzerland’s Lucerne Festival, a prominent gathering of world-renowned musicians.

When the March 2011 disasters wrecked havoc in the Tohoku region, killing nearly 19,000 people and sparking the Fukushima nuclear crisis, the tourist town of Matsushima was largely unscathed because of its protected bay.

  • Mike Wyckoff

    This is a novel concept, but I question the promotors real intentions. According to the Ark Nova website, there are 9 events with 4 for free. If this was truely for the benefit of all those affected by the tsunami, they would do 100% for free. What erks me is that, inparticularly, 3 Japanese performs are getting paid for their performances. I guess its all about the Yuichis