Citizen @ Salone Milan 2014

Citizen @ Salone Milan 2014

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For the watchmaker Citizen, architect Tsuyoshi Tane of French design studio DGT has created a spectacular 423 sq mtr light and time installation, at the Triennale Museum, that enveloped visitors in a soft gilded cloud.

As visitors stepped inside the cloud of light and time they found themselves immersed in as many as 80,000 basic watch pieces, losing track of time.

A sea of shimmering, twinkling and sparkling cast glittering magic into one of the large halls at the Triennial, showing the brand in its very best light at the Salone in Milan.

toyusho tane

Tsuyoshi Tane

CITIZEN came to take on the challenge of making watches where “time changes by light” in accordance with the company’s philosophy of “watches for all citizens.”

We envisioned a space-orchestration where light will fill the space, composing, through sound and vision, a sense of light and time never experienced by humanity before.

In this exhibition, we have created a space of light and excavated within it three primary volumes to exhibit everything from CITIZEN’s first pocket watch as the company’s origin, through to the latest satellite watches.

We hope attendees will experience and share in CITIZEN’s mission – the search to the question:” What makes a watch.”

“Sunlight is the terrestrial measurement of passing time”, explains Tsuyoshi Tane, “we took that as a starting point and developed the simple concept behind the Citizen installation.”


Light is Time

Light was born at the instant of the Big Bang, the universe’s beginning.

From beyond the horizon, the rising Sun slowly covers the Earth in light, shadows transform into different shapes, the seasons transit colours in nature and the waxing and waning of the Moon changes.

When humanity noticed these things, we unknowingly created the concept of time.

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Citizen displayed at Milan Design Week for the first time and its display featured the concepts of time and light linked by a principle of necessity, in which light adopts the shape of time.

80,000 ‘plates’, the structural base of watches, were hooked to 4200 metal threads hanging from the ceiling, presenting a movement that builds up the foundation of watches

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The light is refracted on the metal discs and becomes the raw material for a stage set displaying, in three phases, the mechanical components that have been used in Citizen watches since the 1920s.

We cannot tell for sure if indeed there was “time”, and if time had already started to run, when light came over the world, and yet it seems that genesis, light and time have always formed an inseparable entity.

And whether you felt you were being showered with time pieces, star-money or tiny spaceships – the trio of space and time and light was sure to make a mighty impression on anyone

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Time is light.

If there were no light, then there would be no time.

In the 20th century mankind digitized time, measured it and continued to economize our time, until eventually we forgot about its relationship with essence of light.

Without light we never would have had the wonders of the universe, the richness of our planet or the joy and pleasure of our life.

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The installation was rounded out by a presentation of the first ever Citizen-produced watch (which dates back to the 1920s), watch components, as well as the latest models


Project Team:

Installation: DGT, Paris
Technical direction: Luftzug, Amsterdam
Project coordination: IXI Co., Ltd. Tokyo
Producer: ADK, Tokyo
Construction: Xilografia, Milan


“LIGHT is TIME” installation in the Triennale Design Museum, received 2 prizes from the “Milan Design Award 2014” :

citizen light

“The project that succeeds in involving the audience in an emotional dimension of entertainment, in close relation with the unique features of the product.”

“The project that best utilizes sound as a vehicle of communications in support of the conceptual and scenographic aspects, overwhelming and surprising the public

citizen award



About DGT Architects


DORELL.GHOTMEH.TANE / ARCHITECTS  ( DGT ) was founded in January 2006 in Paris and practicing Architecture, Urbanism and Space Design.

It is lead by three architects: Dan Dorell, Lina Ghotmeh and Tsuyoshi Tane and collaborates with a multicultural team of 14 architects and professionals of interdisciplinary fields.

The partnership gained an international reputation through its design of the Estonian National Museum which is currently under construction and through a series of cutting edge yet phenomenally sensitive projects.

DGT is today one of the leading practices of the new generation of architects.

The winner of the international competition to design the Estonian National Museum, DGT is experimenting with architectural creation under the idea of a “Memory Field” from the firm’s base in Paris.

In addition to the ongoing building of the Estonian National Museum (slated for completion in 2016), DGT has projects underway in France, Italy, Japan, Lebanon and Switzerland.

The firm has drawn international attention, as in 2008 when U.K.-based Icon Magazine selected DGT among the “20 essential young architects,” and for “Kofun Stadium,” a proposal for which DGT was selected a finalist in the 2012 international competition for the New National Stadium of Japan.

The Practice has been awarded the NAJAP 2007-08′ – French Ministry of Culture Architecture 2008 Prize, The Ressegna Lombardia di Archittettura 2008 Prize in Italy and has been nominated for Ian Chernikhov 2010 Prize.

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