Tampopo Dandelion Lamp

The dandelion is an invasive weed to some and a beautiful flower to others. To Japanese cinematographer Takao Inoue, the dandelion is a delicate work of art.

Glowing dandelions in acrylic

The Tampopo – Japanese for dandelion – is immortalized in this ethereal lamp, OLED Tampopo. An actual white-headed dandelion, carefully picked in the Spring, is captured and permanently preserved within an acrylic block.

Dandelions preserved

A tiny OLED light is embedded within the stem of each flower, illuminating both the flower and the acrylic block from the inside with a mysterious light.

The lamps are a simple but striking representation of the fragility of nature. They cause us to recall the wondrous days of youth when we made a wish and blew away the seeds of the dandelion head. Inoue says of his project “The mysterious light gives us a moment to release ourselves.”

Dandelion acrylic stool

“As soon as the brain encounters something organised or designed, it starts a process of analysis. This causes tension and fatigue. The things I make are elaborate and complex, but at the same time it looks simple. The quantities of visual information I use are beyond what can normally be assessed, but paradoxically, this relaxes the viewer.”

“It is like looking at, say, the grain of well-thumbed wood, or a city at night, or movement on the surface of water: viewers’ brains give up attempts at analysis via established knowledge and notions. As if tricked, the viewer can gradually accept a pure relationship between the thing in front of them, and what lies within themselves. They are freed from all restraint.”

Dandelion art by Takao

“Modern society is for ever expanding. This is true even in situations where individual consumption shrinks. Society seeks profit, promoting more and more systematisation and control. Established notions also function to constrain people and make them rigid. My work, I hope, finds a chaotic niche within this, and so provides clues to a break from our problems, or even their resolution.”