Japanese artist Yasuhiro Suzuki long has wondered about what lies beneath the surface of Tokyo’s Sumida River, a question he’s symbolically remedied with a sleek vessel that unzips the middle of the waterway. Suzuki’s “Zip-Fastener Ship” mimics the ubiquitous closures as it separates the central river with a wake that splays out just like the teeth-lined tape.
Completed in 2004, the silver vessel grew out of an idea Suzuki had in 2002 after he watched a ship glide down the waterway while flying overhead. “The undertow of the boat, which travels back and forth between Azuma-bashi Bridge and Sakura-bashi Bridge, opened up the water like a zipper to connect the other side of the river,” he says. “(I hoped) that it would change the way we look at the city landscape.”