Hilton Nagasaki: INISHIE-NO-KESSHO ~Ancient Crystals~ - CODAworx

Hilton Nagasaki: INISHIE-NO-KESSHO ~Ancient Crystals~

Client: Hilton Hotel Nagasaki

Location: Nagasaki, Japan

Completion date: 2021

Project Team

Art Consultant

Kumiko Matsuki



Kana Tanaka

Kana Tanaka Art, Inc.

Glass Fabrication

Kana Tanaka & Alex Abajian

Glow Glass Studio




The glass art installation “Inishie no kessho,” (Ancient Crystals) is a 13’ x 47’ wall installation in the events lobby space of the Hilton Hotel in Nagasaki, Japan.

Inspired by the historic significance of being Japan’s only port city connected to the outside world, and commemorates the peaceful, welcoming waters of the port. The glass elements depict salt crystals reflecting moonlight over the night sea.

Seating placed in front of the installation gives visitors a space for contemplation, healing, and a sense of connection to Nagasaki’s past and present. The artist wrote this poem to capture the essence of the artwork:

Clear glass is seawater in your palms.
Turquoise-blue glass is seawater in the shallow.
Lapis-blue glass is seawater in the deep.


The concept of interior design for the entire floor was “Great Voyage - to the Open Ocean.” Furniture, walls, ceiling, and decorations had been designed based on the concept using the colors and shapes of seawater and ships. The goal of our team was to create a space, which would transcend the simple illustration of the seawater so that visitors’ experience would be transformed to be contemplative, healing and arouse feelings of connectedness. By abstracting the motifs into three colored glasses in the shapes of salt crystals and laying them out spaciously, we conceptually and aesthetically integrated my glass installation into the existing environment.

The choices of color and the layout of glass pieces were inspired by the scenic view of the sea of Nagasaki, which leads to the open ocean. The shimmering reflections on the surface of seawater were reflected into the pattern/placement of these glass pieces, and the variety of colors of seawater came from how water changes its color based on its depth and ambient light. The shape of the individual glass piece was inspired by the salt crystal formation.


In Conceptualization:
Since it was important for the installation to reflect the visitor’s point of view and give a relevant experience, I interviewed people asking what Nagasaki would represent for them. From our conversations, I learned about the importance of its history as the only one port of connected with the world in Japan even with the back shadow of its experience of the atomic bomb. Collaboration with other people in the stage of conceptualization was very significant.

In Fabrication:
In a glass hot shop, the technicians, the assistants, and I worked closely to develop this special hot glass cast technique using custom-made stainless-steel molds. As shown in the video clip, two hot cast pyramid shape was joined into one crystal shape with the colored glass layer in between.

In installation:
An art consultant company team was responsible for onsite installation of glass art. ORIE ART staff collaborated with me to make a mockup for the installation and plan the technical strategies. Artist was responsible for layout design as well as the fabrication of original glass forms, but such a public installation cannot be completed without collaboration with the team.