UNStudio Envisions Giant Observation Wheel in Japan

Courtesy of UNStudio

Consider a social-networking experience that combines real-time amusement with an awareness of your surroundings. Dutch architecture firm, UNStudio, together with Ferris Wheel Investment of Japan, have laid out a colossal vision that expects to attract millions of visitors to a mixed-use retail, food and beverage center anchored by an architecturally-iconic observation wheel, Nippon Moon. The concept utilizes a user’s smart phone or tablet, extending the rider’s experience far beyond the moment they physically enter one of the 32 single or double-decker capsules.

The Nippon Moon app will utilize ‘active queuing,’ allowing users to shop and eat while they wait for their scheduled ride time. Image Courtesy of UNStudio

A user’s device becomes a portal to a network that notifies them of waiting times – essentially doing away with long, exhaustive lines – and enables users, who are otherwise visually or physically separate, to communicate from one capsule to another. The intent is to encourage active participation in one’s own experience of culture, the environment and self.

Courtesy of UNStudio
Courtesy of UNStudio
Courtesy of UNStudio

The pill-shaped capsules completely enclose the users, displaying digitally altered views upon its transparent glass shell thereby mediating between the real and the virtual. To fully understand behavioral trends and user-experiences, UNStudio has teamed up with Experientia, an Italian-based design company, to develop a coherent strategy for the proposed augmented visuals. Considerably evolved from traditional ferris wheel carts, the capsules are large enough to accommodate roughly a dozen people meandering on its floors for the duration of the ride. Arup and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, specialized wheel engineers, have joined the design team to consult on structural constraints.

This romanticism, claims UNStudio, is an integral part of the vision to ensure that the design and engineering of the wheel represents the ambitions of modern . “The concept of the itself is not new,” they admit. However, by exploring the relationship between robust engineering and emerging technologies, we can develop a uniquely-Japanese cultural attraction.

Courtesy of UNStudio

Architects: UNStudio
Architect In Charge: Ben van Berkel
Design Team: Gerard Loozekoot, Frans van Vuure, Filippo Lodi, Harlen Miller, Jan Kokol, Wendy van der Knijff, Todd Ebeltoft, Tina Kortmann, Patrik Noome, Jeroen den Hertog, Iain Jamieson
Client: Ferris wheel Investment Co.,Ltd
Structural Engineer: Arup Tokyo + Melbourne, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Interactive Design: Experientia
Animation: Submarine
Visualization: MIR
Building Surface: Terminal and platform 7.200 m2
Building Volume: Terminal and platform 90.000m3
Capsules: 32
Building Site: 18.000m2
Area: 0.0 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Courtesy of UNStudio

Cite: Jose Luis Gabriel Cruz. "UNStudio Envisions Giant Observation Wheel in Japan" 04 Sep 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=424526>
  • Edward Knuff

    Incredible. I’d love to go to Japan merely to see this when it’s built.

  • capt bored

    who the hell still wants these rotating wheels these days. Singapore built one recently and as expected, they’re going broke. I hear they’re looking for people to buy them over cuz no one wants to go in such a stupid thing that offers a redundant view for 30 mins. Ferris wheel are only useful for two things, a unique place to have sex and great place to smoke a joint. By stuffing 40 people in one unit totally defeats the purpose.

  • Piotr Smolira

    UNStudio, you tell us that we’ll be able to see huge planet in Japan when Nippon Moon wil be built, don’t you? “Futuristic” vision…

  • Patrick H

    Will I be allowed to ride without a phone? Can I turn off the “augmented” displays and just observe the landscape? Can I feel the breeze or are the pods hermetically sealed? Can I choose my pod-mates, or am I stuck with strangers? It feels like they are intentionally destroying everything appealing about a traditional Ferris wheel.