Cisterns x Sambuichi

Goodwill Ambassador Hiroshi Sambuichi is currently exhibiting at The Cisterns in Copenhagen. The installation has received much praise.


One of the eight Goodwill Ambassadors of the 150 years anniversary, Hiroshi Sambuichi, is currently exhibiting in Denmark. The renowned Japanese architect is collaborating with the unique Danish exhibition space “The Cisterns”, and has made a beautiful installation, which has already gained much appreciation.

In 1853, Copenhagen was plagued by cholera. Due to the poor hygiene of the city’s water supply, the disease kept spreading. In an attempt to contain the contagious disease, the city decided to create a 16 million litre underground reservoir called “Cisternerne” (The Cisterns). In 1996, the Cisterns were turned into an exhibition space unlike any other. The humidity is close to 100 percent, the temperature is constantly cool and the Cisterns have a high concentration of CO2.

“It was an almost magical encounter, when we invited Sambuichi to see The Cisterns in 2015,” says Director of The Frederiksberg Museums, Astrid La Cour.

“The various characteristics of The Cisterns that could be considered problematic – the constant flow of water, the extremely high humidity level, the 17 seconds of echo and the absence of daylight – were to Sambuichi the best possible starting point for a project. He immediately understood the unique character of the place,” says the Director Astrid La Cour.

The Hiroshi Sambuichi installation “The Water” works with the unique qualities of the Cisterns. He has created a pathway for the visitors, an interpretation of the Japanese Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima. A waterfall cascades down the Cisterns and moss covers the stone structures.

In accordance with the working method of Sambuichi, using natural light and resources for his work, the opening hours of the Cisterns vary with the length of the day. When the sun sets, the Cisterns will close. Currently the Cisterns close at 3 pm, but in the summer, the Cisterns will stay open until 8 pm.

Hiroshi Sambuichi is one of the eight Goodwill Ambassadors for the 150 years anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Denmark and has close connections to Denmark:

“My relationship with Danish culture deepens and expands every year, through education, art, publications, media, natural science and architecture. The theme throughout these exchanges is Nature.”

“The Water” runs until 2. February 2018.

Read more about the exhibition here