Designer creates giant floor manuscript to help people practise social distancing

22 December 2020, 11:36

Designer creates bespoke piano for social distancing era

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

An elegant ‘floor score’ to help people socially distance in pandemic times.

Coronavirus has dramatically altered our way of life, isolating some people completely and generally making us a bit wary of those around us.

This designer wanted to find a way to make social distancing a little more enjoyable – particularly for music-lovers.

On the floor of Japan’s Yokohama Minatomirai concert hall, you’ll now find a giant interactive solo piano score that plays music, as you stand on its socially distanced notes.

It’s set up to play the French composer Erik Satie’s hypnotic Gymnopédie No. 1, depending on how you step in time.

Read more: Google’s new piano gadget means anyone can improvise classical music >

Bespoke piano encourages social distancing
Bespoke piano encourages social distancing. Picture: Eisuke Tachikawa

Each note on the score triggers a different sound, so the order in which the notes are played changes depending on the course you take. The rhythm also changes with your own pace.

“This means that everyone can play a once-in-a-lifetime Gymnopédie No. 1 that can only be played by that particular person in that particular place,” the team behind the project says.

Designer Eisuke Tachikawa calls his installation ‘Social Harmony’, and says he hopes it will help people live through the pandemic in a fun and safe way.

Read more: Hospital installs ‘piano staircase’ to boost exercise >

Designer creates floor piano for social distancing
Designer creates floor piano for social distancing. Picture: Eisuke Tachikawa

The piano project came from a larger idea launched by Tachikawa, the collaborative website PANDAID, through which he shared now-viral posters about social distancing. The site has since gained traction worldwide as an infectious disease countermeasure website.

“By making the most of the power of classical music, culture and art, we aimed to sublimate the act of social distance itself and make it into a rich way of communication between people,” the team has said.

In the words of ARASHI’s Sho Sakurai, speaking to Nippon TV’s News Zero, the team wishes to “bring the pandemic to a halt like a decrescendo on a music score”.

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