Design – Each year, Maison & Objet explores the creative scene of a country to give space and visibility to its most promising emerging designers. Seven Japanese rising talents selected by an influential jury presided by Kengo Kuma present their works at the Parisian fair. This year, the designers are Baku Sakashita, Kodai Iwamoto, Satomi Monishima, Haruka Misawa, Yuri Humuro, Toru Kurokawa and Yuma Kano.
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“Although each creator has his own field of expertise, we have observed that they all have a multidisciplinary design expression.” Explained Kengo Kuma. “Thanks to the evolution of technologies, the transposition of digital design into tangible reality is now possible. In their digital creations, designers try to embody an authentic feeling of touch. We perceived that this trend is universal, but the more digital advances, the more design draws a new dimension and leads to innovative experiences.”
Baku Sakashita’s delicate lighting design-crafts
In the Suki lighting project, Baku Sakashita combines extremely thin paper and delicate stainless steel rods to create ethereal handcrafted structures with a distanced LED light source casting geometric shadows on the walls. Inspired by the moon, Phase features a disc capturing the light from an LED source. The magnetic force attracts each joint. The disc can rotate and be fixed in any place, representing the (de)growth of the moon.
Kodai Iwamoto explores the beauty of imperfection
For his PVC Handblowing Project, Kodai Iwamoto blew a PVC tube like it was fine glass. “When people learn that this vase is made with modern materials, while at first glance it looks like a traditional handicraft, they no longer find consistency between materials, manufacturing methods and shapes. The object becomes ambiguous.” Born from low-tech manufacturing, Bentstool is made from flattened and curved metal tubes. At first sight, they look incongruous. Still, they ensure the fixings of the seat.
Satomi Monishima explores skin
Intrigued by human skin, Satomi Monishima questions it from a societal and poetic angle while providing it with tactile information the gaze alone cannot capture. The Skin Tote containers collection narrates the beauty and diversity of skin colour. “Skin color affects social and cultural backgrounds as well as how individuals are treated in our society,” she says. Her Inflatable Leather project is located at the crossroads of natural and synthetic materials.
Haruka Misawa’s moving paper
Can a paper dance? With the Doshi project – moving paper in Japanese –Haruka Misawa explores new frontiers in paper design. Thanks to metallic particles reacting to magnetism, the humble material slowly begins to move. The tactile sensation appears delicately according to its extremely fine irregularities. “I grew up in contact with shoji (the paper wall) and origami, both intrinsically linked to Japanese culture,” explains Misawa. “This led me to feel the delicacy of its skin. This is obvious to me.”
Yuma Kano harvests rust and forests’ primal matter
Rust is synonymous with damage, harm and destruction. From here, Yuma Kano created Rust Harvest, a new material made of rust, rain, earth and seawater treated with a specially developed acrylic resin. The ForestBank™ project was made from Japanese forests’ main ingredients – bark, branches or fruit – mixed with acrylic resin. “In the long term, it is interesting to produce in different places because all the original materials are born according to the localities, the seasons and the forest environments.”
Toru Kurokawa’s mathematical sculptures
Artist and sculptor Toru Kurokawa presents handcrafted clay pieces with flaunting distinct silhouettes whose inside and outside are visually indistinguishable, mirroring the shapes associated with the Klein bottle or the Möbius strip. “Working with natural materials every day encourages new discoveries and sparks creativity.” They may appear incongruous with mathematical concepts but, in fact, they interact with the very materials that make up our world, allowing us to understand its structure better.
Yuri Himuro’s fabrics unfold stories and patterns
By exploring new ways of interacting with textiles, Yuri Himuro encourages each user to create their own patterns by cutting directly into the material. This is how the Snip Snap project was born, designed and developed from double structure fabrics. The scissors circulate and cut the threads floating on the surface. Gradually, new stories unfold. At Maison & Objet, she also presents the Bloom project thought out around a double-sided weaving structure composed of various patterns. The refinement of the flowers and leaves is highlighted thanks to the different weaving textures.
All images: courtesy of Maison & Objet.
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