Founded in 2001, the international art collective teamLab has gone on to become a cultural phenomenon in Japan and globally with exhibitions in New York, London, Paris, Singapore, California, Beijing, Taipei and Melbourne among others. Tokyo, however, remains the heart of teamLab as a collective. There were two museums in Tokyo before the one in Odaiba closed on August 31, 2022. While teamLab Planets remains in Toyosu, a new museum is opening in February 2024 in the new Azabudai Hills urban complex. Though the new teamLab Borderless is still under construction, Tokyo Weekender was given the opportunity to visit several artwork spaces.

The new museum opens its doors on February 9, 2024. Tickets went on sale starting January 16 and at the time of writing they are nearly sold out for this month.

New teamLab Artworks Unveiled

teamLab, An Existence Without Center or Boundary © teamLab

An Existence Without Center or Boundary – Unveiled on February 5, 2024

Many of teamLab’s works are meant to be touched and interacted with and “An Existence Without Center or Boundary” in particular shouldn’t be passed by. Located just before you enter the En Tea House, this artwork is akin to a hologram. Try to touch it and watch your hand go through it.

“What was thought to be the center, and what was thought to be a boundary of a wall, both do not actually exist,” states teamLab. “This artwork explores the notion of cognition and existence, and how humans look at the world.”

The Light Sculpture Series

Creating with light is what teamLab is known for and it’s particularly evident in their new Light Sculpture series. The small room expands into a surreal vast space with the help of mirrors and lights and can hold massive light sculptures. These objects made of light look three-dimensional, our senses telling us we can reach out and touch them. In fact, in one of the light sculptures if you reach out and touch where the light intersects you are bathed in sudden bright light. Other light sculptures sweep towards you, pulsate, and expand. At the time of writing, there are 15 different light sculptures that cycle through various colors, shapes, speeds and sounds.

“We’re working on the new Light Sculpture artworks right now, and it’s incredible. I have no idea what’s going on in the space. I was pulled into the universe, and became one with it,” Toshiyuki Inoko, the founder of teamLab, was quoted as saying in the company’s PR materials.

new teamlab museum

Microcosmoses – Wobbling Light | teamLab, teamLab Borderless: MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM, Tokyo © teamLab

Microcosmoses – Wobbling Light

Reminiscent of the popular “Crystal Universe” or the new teamLab “Bubble Universe” (unveiled in November 2023), “Microcosmoses – Wobbling Light” creates a truly vast borderless space. It’s difficult to comprehend where it starts and ends, as all surfaces are mirror-panelled. The titular wobbling lights are encased in spheres that move around the space and beyond, leaving the room. They glide effortlessly, autonomously and continuously on rails, changing intensity and colors as they do.

This artwork is part of teamLab’s latest art project called “Cognitive Sculpture” which aims to create art in our cognitive world. It hopes to make the viewer ponder whether the random movements and colors are connected on some deeper level, like an ocean where all creatures and matter behave differently but are part of a greater system.

New Tokyo teamLab Museum Opens in Azabudai Hills

teamLab, Bubble Universe: Physical Light, Bubbles of Light, Wobbling Light, and Environmental Light © teamLab

Bubble Universe

Covered in mirrors and filled with seemingly infinite lights, the artwork titled “Bubble Universe: Physical Light, Bubbles of Light, Wobbling Light, and Environmental Light” is one of the brand-new teamLab artworks.

“Inside the spheres, countless lights converge; material lights that exist in the physical space, large and strong light like a soap bubble, huge, weak light that wobbles like a mass of jelly, and light that emerges from the surrounding environment,” the teamLab staff shared with the press during a preview on November 20, 2023.

The light from the spheres is dynamic, changing color and size, moving and twinkling. Although it might look random, the movement is interactive and influenced by the people in the room. Standing near a sphere makes it shine brightly and then that light is spread to the next sphere and so on. “The light born from an individual person and the light born from others intersect,” according to teamLab’s art statement. As with most teamLab artworks, there are layers of meaning in addition to how aesthetically pleasing it looks.

Megalith Crystal Formation

Currently labeled a “work in progress,” Megalith Crystal Formation is a space where different artworks come in and out of the room, showing the true meaning of “borderless” in teamLab Borderless. “At the new teamLab Borderless, this group of artworks without boundaries will evolve, moving into more spaces, connecting in more complex ways, eternally changing and creating one borderless world,” reads the company’s statement.

We saw “Flowers and People – Megalith Crystal Formation (work in progress)” that shows a cycle of growth and decay of red flowers. In fact, the flowers are influenced by the people moving around. When they move, the petals scatter. When they stand still, the flowers bloom more. The artwork is not pre-recorded. It’s created by a computer program that continuously renders the work in real time. 

The other work in the same space we saw was “Black Waves – Megalith Crystal Formation (work in progress).” It shows rising waves washing over the jagged walls of the space. 

teamLab, Proliferating Immense Life, 2020, Interactive Digital Installation, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi © teamLab, courtesy Pace Gallery

From the Previous teamLab Borderless

In addition to the new works, teamLab Borderless also features many popular artworks from its previous location. “Universe of Water Particles on a Rock where People Gather,” sometimes referred to as the “waterfall area” remains a central spacious meeting spot. There’s the beloved “Infinite Crystal World” that features expressions of elements. Visitors can participate in the “Infinite Crystal World” through the teamLab app.

You can still sip tea at the beloved En Tea House and see flowers bloom inside your teacup. The teahouse now also offers vegan ice cream, in addition to a number of tea flavors and tea lattes.

teamLab, Tea Tree © teamLab

Sketch Ocean” is not the same work, but it’s in the vein of a previous art space in teamLab that was based on the concept of collaborative creation. While in the old teamLab Borderless there were drawings of salamanders and frogs, in this renewed art space, visitors color in marine creatures that then get scanned and appear swimming on the walls. The creatures respond interactively to people too. You can scan a QR code to order a T-shirt, a tote bag or a handkerchief with your creation, which you then pick up at the museum shop outside.

More information

TeamLab Borderless will open February 9, 2024. Tickets available from January 16, 2024.

For more information, please visit the official teamLab website

To see more of the November 20 preview, take a look at TW’s Instagram video. 

Read more about Azabudai Hills here