National

'Floor chandelier' to light Toyama's bullet train gate

by Sayako Akita

Kyodo

With the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line in spring 2015, the city of Toyama plans to welcome travelers with a “floor chandelier” just in front of the bullet train’s ticket gate at JR Toyama Station.

The light, consisting of 800 glass blocks embedded in the floor, will reflect the red and blue lights on the ceiling.

Designed by Toyama Glass Studio, the glass blocks were developed and tested for more than a year and have a nonslip surface that doesn’t compromise the beauty of the glass.

The glass itself is highly transparent and coated underneath with metal to enhance its reflective qualities.

About 10 glass artists are working on the project in cooperation with local companies and want to complete the blocks by the end of March.

“It is a great honor to present my pieces of glass art at a train station, where the building will be used and last for a long time,” says Takeyoshi Mitsui, 26, who studied glass art in college and joined Toyama Glass Studio last year.

Toyama began an effort to spread the techniques and culture of glass art throughout its community in 1985. In 1991, it established the Institute of Glass Art as the first public educational institution specializing in glass in Japan. By increasing the number of rental studios and accommodations, Toyama now attracts glass artists from all over the nation.

Recently, it announced plans to open a museum in the city center in summer 2015.

Tentatively called the Toyama Glass Art Museum, it will serve as an icon for “Glass Art City Toyama.”

A miniature craft studio will also be opened nearby, allowing visitors to watch glass artists at work, city officials said.

“I hope that all citizens and not just glass artists will be proud of (Toyama) being the glass art city,” said Ryuhei Nadatani, head of the planning and development division in Toyama Glass Studio.

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