The people behind Torafu Architects realised that art appreciation can be marketed to young children. It’s a good idea in theory, but the results turned out to be somewhat terrifying. The kid-oriented Ghosts, Underpants and Stars (three keywords that symbolise children, according to organisers) summer exhibit features replicas of fine art that are not quite right. When curators approached Torafu Architects to create a ghost house for the exhibition, the design brief was simple–touching, running, and noise are fair play. “The curator of the exhibition wanted to teach the normal rules of the museum paradoxically,” says Koichi Suzuno of Torafu Architects. Over a 10-month-long design period, Torafu designed a space with a “backstage” that allows children to climb behind the walls of the exhibit and poke their head inside the picture frames, terrifying their fellow kid art connoisseurs.
We wanted to make the haunted house as interactive as possible,” says Suzuno. “Children ran into the back room and screamed. They can’t even touch the frame in a normal museum.”
Check out some pictures of the unnerving gallery below.
One child sets off on a ghost hunt. “We placed the frames to fit each wall’s character,” says Torafu Architects’s Koichi Suzuno.
“We wanted to create the shape of a typical museum’s exhibition space,” says Suzuno. “The wall closest to the entrance has almost normal pictures, and the children gradually become aware of the magic frames as they walk through.”
“It was interesting to see a child in the Mona Lisa frame suddenly start to change her famous and beautiful face,” says Suzuno.
“In one of the high-placed frames, it’s really scary when children are illuminated from underneath,” says Suzuno.
“At first everyone thinks the guy with the floating hat and glasses is an exhibition observer,” says Suzuno. “But when they get close they notice he has no skin.”
A small boy distorts Mona Lisa’s face from the backstage area.
“Babies cried when their face bent in the mirror,” says Suzuno.