These amazing model “bonsai buildings” are the brainchild of Japanese designer, Takanori Aiba, who designed them based on his experience of working as a maze illustrator and art director for architectural spaces. ‘I have had a habit of observing small objects from an early age,’ says Aiba.
‘I create my works from the question, “If I could be a Lilliput…” A piece of branch becomes a giant tree, and a rock becomes a huge island. Maybe such small objects can be transformed to become huge-scale buildings and castles, or even the world itself.’
Painstakingly created by manufacturer Kazuya Murakami, the models take between three and eighteen months to complete and are created from clay, plastic, resin, plaster and steel wire. ‘All non-perishable materials can be used for the models,’ says Murakami. ‘I always search for new materials to realize Aiba’s wide imagination.’
Murakami, who also works as a civil engineer, has worked with Aiba on the designs since 2003. ‘Kazuya Murakami has a great talent for modelling,’ says Aiba. ‘His knowledge and experience as a civil engineer makes my ideas more realistic and strong.’
Aiba’s designs go into breathtaking detail, showing both the outside structure of the miniature buildings and tiny elements, such as plants, stairways and decorations. Each structure has a story to tell, with unique architectural touches inspired by elements of the fantastical.
‘I got into raptures over the TV show “Disney Land”, forty years ago,’ says Aiba of his inspirations. ‘In the show, Walt Disney introduced the various Disney worlds and stories – the castle of Sleeping Beauty, Frontierland, Jungle Cruise… Disney’s fantasy and imagination is what fuels my creativity, I think.’
The creative and unique designs have captured attention the world over, with viewers unable to say they’ve seen anything like them. When looking at Aiba’s designs, you easily feel you could walk around them yourself (if only you were small enough!). His ‘lilliput’ vision has created not only stunning works of art, but miniature worlds, carefully created to have lives of their own.