Design – Japanese design studio Nendo unveils the Hyouri lanterns collection at the Life in Vogue virtual exhibition by Vogue Italia during Milano Design City, the hybrid event anticipating Milan Design Week which has been postponed in September.
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The new series can be discovered in a virtual room on the 4th floor of a digital replica of Condé Nast Milan headquarters and can be explored here. “Just as the lantern Hyouri was created by combining traditional craft techniques and a new idea, the space was designed in the image of traditional Japanese wood and timber architecture in a digital world.” Says Oki Sato, founder of Nendo.
At the center of the room, is a forest of columns, all “made thin and delicate by virtue of the non-gravity, and above them hangs a structure of multiple grids joined together to emphasize a sense of depth in the 3D walkthrough”. The colorless digital space graphically highlights the silhouette of the Hyouri lanterns, enveloping them in subdued light.
Inspired by traditional Kyoto lanterns, the collection was developed by traditional Japanese lantern manufacturer Kojima Shouten and comprises 10 different designs. Known for their strength and durability, Kyoto lanterns are entirely handcrafted, from splitting bamboo to paper pasting.
Some lanterns seem to swallow parts of themselves, some triply nested, others reach inward to peak through the other side. Although Kyoto lanterns are often covered with thicker washi paper for outdoor use, Hyouri has instead a highly translucent silk lining to leverage its characteristics.
Each design features a ring-shaped bamboo frame functioning as the lantern’s bone. A single bamboo strip is shaped into a ring, and after the ends are fixed with washi paper, the loops are fitted into a wooden mold and connected together with thread.
With focus on this process, rather than binding the strips tightly to each other, leaving some slack between the strips and binding them with washi paper yielded mobility as if they were joints. Adding eight such joints in the circumference of one ring thus enabled the lantern to be turned inside out.
Photos by Hiroshi Iwasaki, unless stated otherwise – Courtesy of Nendo.