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Tokyo is a colorful city, and Japanese athletic shoe company Onitsuka Tiger is illuminating one of its most iconic designs in a unique project that vividly highlights both the futuristic vision of Onitsuka and its rich heritage.

As part of Onitsuka's 2008 branding campaign, Amsterdam-based lighting designers Janne Kyttanen and Mads Thomsen created a mini city inside an approximately 3'-long shoe, dubbed Light Shoe, using CAD data and layer manufacturing of micro components. Inside the shoe is a tiny universe of multicolored 3mm LEDs, created by Bart Hakkaart at Logic Light, that allow single items to be lit separately. The narrow beam optics of the tiny LEDs continuously change color, revealing an extremely detailed urban setting in cool white light that features a market, shoe store, metro trains, and a runway.

The market and its billboards are lit with all available colors and 1Hz flashing sections. Inside the tiny shoe store, blue LEDs shine light on every single minutely detailed shoe (all Onitsukas, of course!). The Metro train has white headlights and red taillights with a welcoming blue interior. In case trains are not of interest, the runway beckons with two rows of simultaneously flashing blue LEDs on each side. To warn any of the imaginary thumb-sized planes taking off or landing, a flashing navigational light is mounted on top of the tallest building. In addition to the air and train travel options within the Light Shoe's city, highways are illuminated with 2.3mm aqua blue electro-luminescent (EL) wire (also created by Hakkaart at Logic Light). For the running light on the runway, three 5-stage Johnson Counters are used, driven by a 1Hz oscillator. Driver ICs are used to power the LEDs in sequence.

To emphasize the shoe even more, two rows of LEDs are mounted to the lower left and right rims. Kyttanen and Thomsen chose a 50/50 mix of red and blue LEDs to provide a conflicting yet harmonizing effect.

Delicate white wiring is barely noticeable and connects the approximately 500 LEDs. All electronic circuits are mounted inside a box in the middle of the shoe, with a 12V switching mode power supply to feed the LEDs. Most of the LED strings have adjustable light intensity, as the mood requires.

And just in case the visual details aren't enough, a sound generator, also built-in by Logic Light, produces a repeated string of 20 seconds of traffic sounds.

Control is via pulse-width modulation to make sure there is no color shifting of the LEDs. The EL-wire runs off a high frequency, high voltage inverter of 2.5kHz by 135Vac.

The “Electric Tiger Land” tour will visit each of the Onitsuka Tiger stores this year, and a fully-scaled, 70cm model will be residing permanently in every store by the conclusion of the campaign.

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