Garden of Sound. Amazing!

The musical installation created by creative director Morihiro Harano is a mesmerizing fusion of art, technology, and nature.

Known for his innovative approach to blending various disciplines, Harano’s project is an exemplary display of creativity and precision. The installation, set in the serene forests of Japan, features a giant wooden xylophone meticulously constructed to play a classical melody as a wooden ball rolls down its length. This unique creation not only highlights Harano’s artistic vision but also showcases the harmonious relationship between natural materials and human ingenuity.

The installation is designed to play Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” a piece renowned for its soothing and uplifting qualities. As the ball descends, striking each wooden bar, the melody resonates through the forest, creating an enchanting auditory and visual experience. The xylophone is crafted entirely from sustainably sourced wood, emphasizing Harano’s commitment to environmental consciousness. Each note is carefully calibrated, requiring precise craftsmanship to ensure the melody is played perfectly. This meticulous attention to detail reflects Harano’s dedication to creating a work of art that is both beautiful and functional. 

What makes Harano’s installation particularly captivating is the integration of natural elements with technological innovation. The movement of the ball is orchestrated to take advantage of the forest’s natural slopes, allowing gravity to propel it smoothly along the xylophone. The sound produced is organic, blending seamlessly with the ambient noises of the forest, such as rustling leaves and birdsong. This symbiosis between the installation and its environment creates a tranquil yet immersive experience for viewers, encouraging them to reflect on the beauty and harmony of nature.

Moreover, Harano’s project has garnered significant attention for its ability to evoke emotional responses from its audience. The installation not only serves as a musical performance but also as a meditative journey, inviting viewers to pause and appreciate the intricate relationship between art and nature. It has been praised for its ability to inspire a sense of wonder and contemplation, demonstrating the power of creative expression to touch the human soul.

I decided to make a rectilinear xylophone.

It did not take much time for me to come up with the idea to set up a huge xylophone in the forest and play the instrument, but the first design submitted was much more complicated and twisted with gimmicks like the Rube Goldberg Machine. What I have done was to reduce such gimmicks and gave the visual direction: “straight line in the forest.” This process added a unique mystique and narrative aspect to the work.

We used 100% raw materials recorded on the spot.

No CG used. The finish of the xylophone itself became an art work, so we only put an effort into making the scene—the xylophone playing the music—as real as possible.

We chose Bach.

At first, we were imagining more complicated and faster paced music, like Turkischer Marsch. However, due to the structure of the xylophone, we noticed that it was better to choose music that had the same length of notes, and so we decided to choose Bach’s Cantata. We worried a little that the choice might be a little too literal, but looking back, it was a necessary choice to achieve the viewer’s empathy for the wooden sphere.

We worked with Japanese craftsmen who made the finish perfect.

The xylophone was made by (Carpenter/Wood Engineer) Mitsuo Tsuda, the sound designer, Kenjiro Matsuo and the carpenters on site. If even once the installation went wrong, the tempo of the music became unstable. It was very hard project to realize, but the skill of Japanese craftsmen are just impressive. Not only they made it more accurate than the blueprints but also created a visually beautiful xylophone.

The power without our control added different meaning to the work.

The day the film was released, was the day the earthquake hit in Japan. The client had no choice but to cancel the whole campaign. Only this movie uploaded on the website started to walk around Facebook pages and eventually caught the eyes of the blog editor at New York Times Magazine. The article lead the work to the massive success, but I am sure, behind the world’s attention, there is a special feeling towards Japan, the country facing a historical disaster.