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Onomichi, Japan

Ribbon Chapel

This high design church is made up of two dizzying spirals meant to evoke the weaving together of marriage. 

Tucked away on the grounds of Japan’s Seto Inland Sea Resort the Ribbon Chapel looks like a building in the midst of unravelling, but this swooping dance of walkways is actually all about bringing things together.

The ultra-modern chapel was designed by Japanese architect Hiroshi Nakamura who set out to create a building that could in itself evoke the coming together of marriage. To this end he built the his small chapel to consist of two winding strips of building that weave themselves into a cone that acts as the loose structure of the space. The dual “ribbons” act internally as the tall, ever-tapering ceiling over the spartan event floor, while outside, the ribbons can be used as a winding stair that leads to the building’s peak. Of course the whole thing is set on a bluff that over looks the sea, just in case there was not enough romance in the lush surrounds to begin with.

While the ribbons trace an irregular orbit around each other, the gaps in their coverage is blocked by glass that also serves to allow for natural illumination of the space. At the very top of the building is a skylight where the ribbons converge which lets light in on the congregation or can be stared down into by any bride or groom who cares to ascend to the summit.

From the outside, this bizarre church looks like it could be anything from a contemporary art sculpture to reality coming apart at the seams, but to most people who have held their weddings there, it is a manifestation of true love.