As we look ahead with enthusiasm to a future filled with wearable technology, haptic interfaces, augmented reality and smart everything, let’s be mindful to also look back and continue to learn from innovations and wisdom of the past.
Natural dye techniques, wood preserving methods, needle crafts, slow surface design techniques, the working & tooling of natural materials, and living in harmony with nature in order to achieve wellbeing are just a few lessons from ancient Japan, along with restraint and simplicity, which we should value and explore.
Here I’ve brought together my pick of contemporary products that pay homage to Japan’s ancient craft skills. From Sashiko and Shou Sugi Ban to the use of Indigo, these unique products have been made with passion, care and respect. And they provide you with an insight into important design features for Spring / Summer 2016 trends for Interiors.
- The DALMA chair by design trio CARAPACE uses Shou Sugi Ban, an ancient Japanese technique that preserves the wood, making it robust and durable. The wood undergoes a charring process and is then washed and brushed with water to remove excess soot, before a natural oil is applied to seal it. This technique is traditionally used for the cladding of buildings.
- I love the magical glow of Ryosuke Fukusada’s limited edition Wooden Light Bulb available from LEDON. The are made using the traditional Japanese Rokuro technique – the bulbs are handmade by turning pine on a lathe and carving away until the bulb is between 2-3mm thick. An LED light is then placed inside the shell. The resulting bulb looks solid when off, but when switched on, a warm glow shines through the woods grain. Watch this VIDEO to see exactly how they are made in Kyoto.
- The Sashiko Leather Tray is handmade by the wonderfully talented Etsy seller Joey of SubconsciousCrafts, based in Rennes, France. Sashiko (meaning “little stabs”) is a form of decorative running stitch technique from Japan. Traditionally used to reinforce points of wear, or to repair worn places or tears with patches. Usually white cotton thread stitched on traditional indigo blue cloth gives sashiko its distinctive appearance, but here Joey uses hand-stitched white thread on vegetable hand-dyed tanned leather to create this unusual tray, assembled via corner snap buttons.
- The Blue & White Beaker by South African-based ceramicist John Newdigate uses a very similar method to Shibori (the Japanese resist-dye technique described in point 7) but here John uses wax and cobalt oxide on porcelain instead of indigo and cotton/linen.
- The Mökki lamp-pot by architect-designer Caterina Moretti of Peca mimics the shape of a house surrounded by a mini-landscape that the end consumer designs. It pays homage to Zen Gardens and the art of Bonsai. Hand carved from White Onyx & Carrara Marble and with an LED light, it is a pot that gives life, light and a sense of wellbeing.
- The Ki-oke Stool by OeO Design Studio fuses the fine tradition of Kyoto woodcrafting with Western sensibilities. The result is an object of beauty which also pays homage to traditional bucket making in Japan. Handcrafted in Japan by Shuji Nakagawa, they are available in Japanese cypress (sawara) and in a limited edition of Japanese cedar (jindai-sugi) with a natural, 2000-year-old patina.
- The Shibori Tie-Dye Pillow from Posh Living is hand dyed and custom made especially for you when you place an order. Shibori (meaning “to squeeze or wring”) is an ancient Japanese tie-dying resist technique (the earliest known example dates from the 8th century) using methods to bind, stitch, fold, twist, gather or compress cloth so the dye (usually indigo) can’t reach certain areas and therefore patterns are created.
- Think about ways to honor and promote the heritage and traditions of your company, manufacturing methods or products.
- Think about ways to tell the story of the products you sell in engaging ways … not just the technical spec.
- Think about ways to create calming, edited-down retail experiences (this applies to website design and brochures too!).
To find out more about our Spring / Summer 2016 trend forecast or ways in which we can improve your product offer, marketing or store design email Phil.
2015 Design Trendbook for Everything Interiors
For a special price of just £60 you can get all the inspiration you’ll need to support your creativity this year. Purchase our 2015 Design Trends report.
This 75 page document includes 4 different design trends applicable to anything ‘interiors’ and outlines our background research including fashion and architecture, as well as a guide to material, shape, pattern, texture, and surface effects. Each trend includes a colour palette with Pantone Fashion + Home and Formula Guide Coated/Uncoated references. A perfect source of inspiration for product designers, marketing teams, interior designers, retailers for merchandising and window dressing – absolutely perfect. See the wealth of visually stunning inspiration below:
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Craft Industrialism is a new initiative that aims to bridge the gap between the craft maker and the public allowing us to understand and appreciate the process of craft practice. The event showcases a carefully curated exhibition presenting a selection of makers work, each project has a detailed narrative which illustrates the complexity and precision of the ideas from initial concepts, design and development, and finally to the chosen production method. This project also aims to demonstrate the importance of promoting and supporting our local creative businesses.
I went along to the preview evening of the event, there was a real buzz in the atmosphere, everyone seemed excited to learn and understand more about the meticulous presentation of each project. For me, it was interesting to visually see the full thought process of the maker, from project notes, to concept ideas and sketches. It was fascinating to see the tools that are used by the makers, this allows us to comprehend the intricate hand craft techniques and the amount of time and work that goes into the creation of the project.
Since the contemporary craft movement we romanticise more of the handmade because we desire quality, not quantity. With the ‘handmade ethos’ becoming a key driver of consumer aspirations it becomes even more important for us to show a deeper understanding and appreciation of the design elements involved. From the sourcing of materials to the craft techniques through to the maker process, we have moved into a world where we value craft once again, where we want individuality and unique quality, and are happy paying more money for one-off products. In today’s society we want to own less items and look towards owning products we feel mean something or have a story to tell.
Here is a look at some of my favourite designer-makers that are showcasing their work at this event, each maker will present their work over the next few days and discuss the theory or concept behind their designs. Tickets for these talks are available to buy and the exhibition is open to the public until Wednesday 25th March.
Ruth’s studio is centered around exploring ways of manipulating leather into different forms and shapes. She utilises classic moulding techniques and shaping more often seen on a cutting table than in the workshop in order to bring together a new collection of work that challenges leather-working techniques with a modern twist.
Colour Factory is a visual and tactile investigation into the colour and dye world, using natural materials to question the relationship between nature and humans. The design is driven by the traditions of colour; celebrating ancient rituals or alchemic techniques and exploring ways for extracting natural pigments. Colours in nature are infinite, only a few thousand have been described and many others to be discovered.
Generative Scarves is a project that enables you to generate your own pattern for a scarf. For this project a procedural algorithm commonly used to digitally generate patterns of the natural world was sampled in a bespoke application. The Generative Scarves app, with its set of modifiable parameters enables the user to customise colours and patterns and create a unique print for a personalised scarf.
Craft Industrialism really makes you question what we buy and drives a desire to understand more about the story behind a certain product. This could be the story of the trend it aspires to create or the story of it’s history. For retailers and manufacturers this concept is a great way to market product, allow conscientious consumers to understand the process, design and development that leads to the end creation. There is a growing interest in ‘real’ products and knowing everything about where it initiated so don’t just sell the product; tell it’s story to your consumers.
For more information on how you can achieve this contact us today.
Let’s take it right back to what’s essential, practical and authentic.
Let’s find contentment, pleasure and beauty in simplicity.
Let’s explore repurposing, recycling and waste materials.
Let’s appreciate craftsmanship, honesty and plainness.
Let’s value comfort, natural materials and modesty.
Let’s begin today.
ABOVE are my pick of beautifully made products that address our proposition at the top of this posting:
1. Worn armchair featuring untreated leather pads & goose feather back cushions by Samuel Wilkinson for Italian brand Casamania 2. FELT armchair in American Walnut veneer & gray felt upholstery by Merve Kahraman 3. Indoor Green dining table/study desk by MANOTECA made from vintage Italian exterior doors (the hinges & latch are still in place) with hand sewn pockets of recycled leather 4. Structured leather trim dress & cape by Colcci (Fall 2015 collection) 5. iPad mini sleeve handmade in vegetable tanned leather & Merino wool-felt (including a back-to-basics pencil & notepad) by Paris-based Etsy seller OSTFØLD 6. Zeus cushion (laser burnt cowhide – sourced as a natural byproduct, suedette & canvas) made by leather artisans at Art Hide