Now Open (Again): Tokyo's TeamLab Borderless Digital Art Gallery Is Finally Back on Your Japan Itinerary
This dazzling must-visit gallery features everything from digital waterfalls to a tea house pouring cuppas adorned with blooming flowers.
February 09, 2024
Escaping is the aim of every holiday. When you temporarily swap your own four walls for somewhere further afield, your daily worries should float away. Tokyo in general is great at evoking that sensation; however, the best place in the Japanese capital for forgetting that real life exists is digital-only art gallery teamLab Borderless, where being surrounded by and immersed in art is taken literally. After being closed for a year and a half to move to a new location, this must-visit spot on any Japan itinerary has finally reopened.
As at Friday, February 9, teamLab Borderless now resides at Azabudai Hills with an array of stunning works — some brand-new, some familiar, all glorious. So, if your 2024 resolutions involve seeing spectacular art and travelling, this is one of the best ways to tick both boxes. Everything from bubbles and jelly to flowers and oceans now awaits, plus waterfalls and a tea house pouring cuppas adorned with blooming flowers as well.
When it initially launched in 2018, teamLab Borderless instantly became a Tokyo favourite. It was also anointed the most-visited single-artist museum in the world during its first year of operation. Expect that to happen again in central Tokyo, where it has relocated to from its past Odaiba base. Sadly, you no longer need to cross over Tokyo's gorgeous Rainbow Bridge to get there — but your eyes will have much to feast on inside.
If you were lucky enough to mosey around the OG spot before the pandemic, you'll know that the Borderless experience involves vibrant, constantly moving, always-changing interactive digital art keeps that keeps glowing and rearranging before your eyes. As the name makes plain, nothing is fixed or static here. Pieces move from one space to the next, and interact with other works. Sometimes, several different projections and installations mingle together.
For attendees, peering at the end results isn't merely a passive experience, with the venue encouraging patrons to "wander, explore and discover". This is a place where terms like breathtaking, kaleidoscopic and delightful are all earned, and where the art is worth a trip to Tokyo to see all by itself.
Borderless 2.0 spans both evolved and brand-new artworks. Accordingly, even if you've been before at its old digs, you won't just be seeing the same things (even though they're definitely worth enjoying more than once). Standout pieces include the jaw-dropping Light Sculpture series, which cycles through an array of light formations and colours, as well as an eye-catching mirrored infinity room-style space titled Microcosmoses — although, to be fair, everything is a standout here.
Among the world-premiere installations, there's also Bubble Universe: Physical Light, Bubbles of Light, Wobbling Light, and Environmental Light, which is comprised of spheres that look like soap bubbles and jelly, and moves through various colours. With Flowers and People — Megalith Crystal Formation, you can spy florals bud and blossom, then wither and decay, repeating that pattern endlessly. And thanks to Black Waves — Megalith Crystal Formation, the sea gets a nod.
Attendees can also enjoy Giant Solidified Spark, which is a sphere made from rays of light — plus Wall Without a Wall, which you'll see as a wall even though nothing physical exists. For younger visitors, plus those young at heart, Sketch Ocean turns drawings into art that swims before your eyes.
And after proving a hit at the original site, the tea house ensures that every time that you sip a hot beverage in future will feel flatout average — blossoming projections on your cup while you drink will do that.
teamLab might be best-known for its Tokyo site, but it doesn't only operate in Japan. A second teamLab Borderless has already been open in Shanghai since 2019, and others are slated for Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and Hamburg in Germany — the former without an exact opening date, the latter slated to launch in 2025.
The organisation also operates a different museum in Macao, and has its first teamLab Phenomena on the way for the Saadiyat Cultural District in Abu Dhabi, again targeting a 2024 launch. The list goes on, with teamLab's works a drawcard wherever they pop up.
teamLab Borderless Tokyo: MORI Building Digital Art Museum is now open at its new location at Azabudai Hills, Garden Plaza B B1F, 1-2-4 Azabudai, Minato-ku, Tokyo — for more information, visit the museum's website.
Images: teamLab, Exhibition view of teamLab Borderless: MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM, 2024, Azabudai Hills, Tokyo © teamLab, courtesy Pace Gallery.
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