NATURE AQUARIUM EXHIBITION 2021 TOKYO Special interview: Kyoshiro Kameyama & Kota Iwahori

Editors of Aqua JournalEditors of Aqua Journal

Making the Nature Tower 360° was a new challenge. A summary of its features and newly developed system 


Kameyama: The Nature Tower 360° is an eye-catching piece of work, not only for its scale but also for its presence itself at this event.

Iwahowi: Right. Forming a cylindrical structure, Nature Tower 360° is made up of eight Mizukusa Walls based on one of the concepts I initially came across, that is to showcase scenes from tropical rainforests and waterfronts around the world. I used plants and fish from different regions, such as Indonesia and Madagascar, for each of the eight sections, so that the scenery of each section changes as you walk around it. I believe this is a very unique, challenging project that has never been done before. Although the water areas of the Tower are all shallow, I created each aquascape in great details from the composition in order to convey the fascination of aquatic plants of the world.

Kameyama: Well, speaking of the water areas, the tank height is relatively low (40cm), so you can have an overhead view of aquatic plants from the water surface, which is quite unusual for the Nature Aquarium layout style. Moreover, when you look up the Tower, you can see terrestrial plants looking down at you. This also makes it a totally new exhibition approach. How many different kinds of plants did you use?

Iwahori: About 250 kinds in total, which include some rare plants. But not all the plants are unusual, and as a matter of fact, the wall areas are largely covered with ADA’s greenery products such as the Jungle Plants and Wabi-kusa Mat series. I think this makes the exhibit enjoyable for both newcomers and plant enthusiasts. By the way, with the Nature Tower 360° we have given a lot of thought not only to the visual impact it makes, but also to its maintenance system. And that was why I thought it was especially helpful that you had joined the project as an engineer.

Kameyama: I thought it was an interesting idea when you first told me that using mist spray and water showers, you wanted to manage and show each of the eight sections differently in order to control the amount of time that water is given to each wall area in a more natural way.

Iwahori: In terrariums and aquariums, living things are kept in environments where light and mist operate at scheduled times set by people, but that is not the case in nature. With the Tower, I wanted to express the randomness of the natural world, rather than managing it with a fixed time schedule. And so because of that, we developed our Mist Squall System.

Kameyama: Exactly. What this system does is that after a maintenance staff submits details on the daily conditions of the plants in each of the eight sections through a web based-application in a form of questionnaire, the data is parameterized and fed into the System so that it automatically adjusts the operating time of mist and showers. In addition, instead of allowing it to operate just randomly, we adopted normal distribution to give the System a bias and created an expression that is closer to nature’s laws. The program changes the timing of showers and mist every day, so I personally like the fact that the Tower never has the exact same moment as scenery.

Iwahori: Besides the size of the Aqua terrarium, incorporating such a system into aquarium management was a new challenge for us, making a step forward from the traditional approach. I believe that the Nature Tower 360° is the kind of work that will lead to the future progress of Nature Aquarium.

Making the scenery in each section different
The concept is to travel around the world. It was necessary to precisely arrange plants in vast planting areas, taking into account several factors, such as their growing conditions.
Introducing a new system
We have developed a program that adjusts the operating rotation of mist and water spray outputs according to the data of plant conditions collected through a web based-application. All data is aggregated and managed in the Cloud.

Kyoshiro Kameyama (22)
ADA’s young engineer from the Kyushu region, who is in charge of developing the Mist Squall System for the Nature Tower 360°. Right now, he is so into Aroid plants.
Kameyama’s pick
One of his favorite plants in the exhibit is Anthurium vittarifolium. The plant is just perfect for the Tower!
Kota Iwahori (34)
Pursuing possibilities of the world of water and greenery, Iwahori has built the Nature Tower 360°. He says that nowadays, the word “impossible” no longer appears on his smartphone (laughs).
Aquascape for this event
Total height: 3.5m
Perimeter: 13m
Created by Kota Iwahori