A summer's day. The sun about to set, but not quite. Day would turn to night in less than a wink. Looming along a rustic, rural highway was a pale outline giving off a faint light, like a firefly. It looked as if it might fade away at any moment. The magic of moonlight was added to the image to create a warm, silhouette-like scene one would never encounter in a city. The landscape of just moments ago had changed in an instant into something totally unfamiliar. It was truly a midsummer night’s dream.
Today we urbanites have become so accustomed to the various devices and contraptions associated with city life that urban landscapes seldom fill us with dreams anymore. So we momentarily stood amazed by this structure as if seeing it for the first tine. Perhaps it has continued to exist quietly in the rural 1andscape, attracting little attention in broad daylight. Even if we did notice it, it certainly left hardly any trace in our unreliable memory. Ordinary things that come into our view every day begin to look extraordinary only when we gaze at them intently or regard them with extreme partiality.
This facility, built along a highway in the mountains of Hiroshima, includes a multipurpose hall, restaurant, public rest room, display hall and shops. It is designed to be a place for people to meet and subdue their loneliness. One reason why public spaces or monuments have been built since ancient times is so that people may gather to make contact and exchange information. This small town, without a railway station, had no such meeting place.
It was against this background that the thing was named “Road Station.” In short, it was built to embody the notion of a present-day station that serves as the information hub of modem life. Various facilities were incorporated, including pure white cubes of five meters on a side on which images are continuously projected, and floor lighting based on optical fiber. Events of one kind or another are staged in a space cowered with a glass dome. The highway looks like a sort of runway from which visitors can take off on their journey to a world of dreams in this facility.
It’s a space which acts as something of a luring lamp to which visitors are naturally drawn. The lighting is just right. The only trouble is that, as soon as it is exposed to that brutal form of lighting, the car headlight, the runway reverts to an ordinary rural highway. One shouldn’t seek the identity of the illuminant object.
This is not a bustling place-like city roads - where people hurry along. Rather it is a simple spot where people are tempted to go unannounced, without any special purpose or deep commitment. Such midsummer night's dreams may be hidden here and there in our routine lives. At least that's how I felt.
Text by Hiroshi Innami 1993/9