The Marunouchi Street Gallery is an attempt to evolve public art—artworks placed in public areas—in the Marunouchi area, which is the main gateway to Tokyo. The idea is to give people an opportunity to experience art appreciation close at hand as they stroll through the area. As the project marked its 50th anniversary in 2022, new works were installed for the first time in four years and some of the earlier works were replaced.
At the beginning of the project, there only were four or five sculptures, but the number of works has gradually increased, and currently there are 19 sculptures scattered along and around Marunouchi Naka-dori Street. “The 2002 renovation of the Marunouchi Building was a turning point of the project,” said Mr. Sakamoto. In the course of the development of the Marunouchi Building area, Marunouchi Naka-dori Street was widened and a new sidewalk was constructed, which led to an increase in the number of works. Moreover, the quality of the sculptures changed dramatically in accordance with the plan to create a space that would be accessible not only to office workers, but also to the general public, and to attract restaurants and brand-name stores to the lower floors of the buildings facing onto the street, which up to that time were occupied by offices.
Marunouchi has been pursuing urban development while keeping in mind that it is a “place for enhancing creativity” where new value is created, and the Marunouchi Street Gallery has played a major role in shaping the area’s image.
Mr. Sakamoto of the Chokoku-no-Mori Art Foundation explained the appeal of the Marunouchi Street Gallery, saying, “The sculptures can be enjoyed by viewing them from different angles throughout the 360-degree range. Also, unlike in white cube galleries, the view changes constantly depending on the surrounding scenery and the weather conditions. As a result, the appearance of the sculptures changes constantly and the view differs according to the time of day and the season. The other people walking around the works also serve as a backdrop, providing a different view every day, and ensuring that you will never get bored even if you visit the area 365 days a year.”