While at Maison Et Objet we had the amazing opportunity to witness the launch of the new Sebastian Conran collaboration with the Gifu prefecture Japan. Gifu, known as the heartland of Japan, is located on the central island of Honshu and boasts a rich heritage of traditional craftsmanship - encoumpassing everything from sword making to ceramics.
This newest collaboration from Sebastian Conran embraces the tactility of objects, and the permanence and value of the handmade. In a close collaboration with 10 chosen makers from Gifu, a small collection of purposeful objects has been created.
Ozeki (Aero Collection): Fabricated by hand from mulberry-wood Washi paper using traditional techniques that are native to the mountainous Gifu region, the Ozeki light pieces are inspired by the lightweight construction of hot air balloons and aeroplanes.
Hida Sangyo (Dining and home office furniture): This collection draws inspiration from the traditional architecture and woodworking native to the Hida-Takayama region; an area heavily influenced by cultures of Kyoto and Tokyo in the Edo period - an era of peace and prosperity and artistic enlightenment.
Jyusengama (Crystalline mugs): This collection is brought to life by the distinctive and colourful crystalline glazes, which provide the pottery surface with a delicate pattern reminiscent of blooming flowers. A challenging glaze requiring skill and patience, the crystalline glaze gives individuality to each item.
Kaminoshigoto (Oboeru Stationery): Writing and drawing is the legacy of thought and Oboeru is a Japanese word for memories. The collection features Mino Washi papers and screen-printed notebooks, combined with traditional binding techniques and gold leafing. The Japanese language itself is beautiful, even if you don’t understand the meaning, with its birdsong-like sounds often compared to Italian.
Kaneko Kohyo (Porcelain serveware): Designed for entertaining at the modern table, this collection of sculptural serveware has been created in western sizes for use with either traditional or modern food and drink.
Kai (Steel Collection): Food and its preparation is one of the many significant wonders of traditional and contemporary Japan. The twin grater takes inspiration from the form of traditional armour while the scissor set is inspired by a traditional Katana short sword and scabbard.
Ohashi Ryoki (Hinoki storage collection): Inspired by the history of the Japanese Masu finger-jointed box originally used as measuring cups for rice and other grains, the Hinoki Storage collection offers a flexible range of stackable storage solutions designed to be useful in everyday life. All pieces are handmade from fast growing, environmentally ethical Hinoki softwood.
Shizu Hamono (Kitchen knife collection): Japanese knives are prized by top chefs across the world and this collection is produced in the world-renowned Seki Region of Gifu. The blades are constructed from premium stainless steel, whilst the handles are carved from hardwood and feature a faceted ergonomic angled profile, inspired by the folded paper forms of origami.
Oda Pottery (Hikari collection): This collection of high quality white tableware plays with texture and shadow, creating natural translucent patterns across the surface of the pieces as the thickness of the pure porcelain varies. The pleated surface pattern is inspired by traditional folding paper fans and lanterns.
Asano Shoten (Kinka lanterns): The contemporary Kinka Lanterns are handmade from Washi - a Japanese paper made from mulberry wood. Creating a soft, atmospheric light indoors or out, these battery-operated LED lanterns are designed to provide a contemporary answer to a traditional need by incorporating digital technology that is safer, healthier and more convenient than the use of conventional candles.
Aside from being a stunning collection of objects, the collaboration universally celebrates the skills of the artisan makers of Gifu, while re-contextualising them for a modern environment.
Banner Image: Making of Ohashi Ryoki.