Next time you wander down Kensington High Street, be sure to look out for an unusual zebra crossing – one where the zebra’s stripes have been wiped and replaced with electric blue squares, all spiralling into one dreamy kaleidoscopic mosaic.
This large-scale geometric public artwork was designed by Japanese artist Tokolo Asao and commissioned by cultural centre Japan House London as part of its summer season spotlighting Japanese designers at different Olympic Games throughout the years. This includes an exhibition showcasing the cultural legacy of Tokyo 1964 that’s open until November.
Asao designed the ‘harmonised chequered emblem’ of the Tokyo 2020 Games – a similarly patterned geometric motif that was recreated through a drone display during the opening ceremony (if you can cast your mind back that far).
Speaking about the crossing, Asao said: ‘As an artist working with patterns and signs all themed around the idea of connectivity, it is a pleasure to not only work within the context of the London landscape but to launch a crossing at the heart of the city that has provided much inspiration throughout my career.’
Meanwhile, Emma Will, lead member for culture at Kensington and Chelsea Council, said: ‘The new crossing by Tokolo Asao is a wonderful addition to the bustling Kensington High Street and certainly reflects the diversity of the borough and its strong influences of arts and culture, as well as celebrating the Olympic Games.’
A 20-year retrospective of his Asao's work is currently on display in Japan House for anyone who is curious to see more.
Japan House London, 101-111 Kensington High St, W8 5SA.