Tanabata Fukinagashi

Home Project Management Props

Brief: To design and make 10 large weather-proof Tanabata Fukinagashi lanterns for the Festival of Love, to dress the balcony at London’s Royal Festival Hall.

Role: Project Manager, Lead Artist, Tech Drawing, Workshop Leader

Client: Kinetika Design Studios

Commission for: the South Bank Centre and the Japanese Society

In Japanese tradition the Tanabata or Star Festival is a huge celebration where people write their wishes for the year on tanzaku paper which is then used to make colourful decorations, streamers and lanterns. Parades and festivities take place across the weekend in early July and the tradition dates back over 2,000 years.

After agreeing the size (5m) and the technical details of materials since these could not be made of paper (they had to be fireproof and withstand 2 months outside) Edwina worked with a team of Kinetika artists to make them.  In all it was a 5-6 week turnaround and a 2-3 week build.

The bright colours were selected in collaboration with the Japanese Society and meant these 10 large lanterns really stood out against the grey concrete of the Festival Hall.

To keep in line with Japanese Tradition, Kinetika and the Japanese Society ran a family origami workshop at the Southbank centre. Participants could write their wishes onto waterproof paper and fold them into origami shapes that were sewn on to the lanterns. Ten traditional messages for the lanterns were written in Japanese characters by participants that wished for good luck, fulfilled hopes and dreams.

Date: June 2014