Lighting Designer Creates Self-Illuminating Modular Tiles Inspired by Traditional Japanese Screens

Inspired by traditional Japanese screens, New York-based Japanese architectural lighting designer Michiru Tanaka takes it to a new level by introducing “KUMIKO”. In collaboration with Japanese chemical manufacturer Kaneka, Tanaka has created a series of magnetically-backed modular tiles with unique patterns which can be used to decorate walls or counters in commercial and residential spaces. The series is “fully customizable” which means that the tiles can be arranged in any desired manner. The tiles themselves are made from reflective steel, and they emit pleasant diffused light.

The tiles are illuminated by means of OLED lighting panels, produced by Kaneka Corporation. The 1-mm-thin panels use an original film sealing technology to gain both stability and light weight, and they can live for up to 50,000 hours. In addition to being energy efficient, OLEDs produce no ultraviolet rays and minimal infrared rays. When turned off, they act like mirrors allowing for a range of light tricks and unique installations. The diffused light emitted by the panels has a reduced glaring effect which makes it suitable for use in various spaces, including light sensitive facilities like galleries and exhibition rooms.

Designer Michiru Tanaka is a Tokyo native, and she was inspired by the dazzling nightscape of the Japanese capital city to pursue a career in in architectural lighting design. She graduated from Musashino Art University and started her career path in Tokyo, before moving to New York City. Tanaka’s work is influenced by Japanese culture, and she aspires for efficiency and sustainability in all her designs.

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