Last month’s Salone del Mobile Milano, also known as Milan Design Week, had a particularly good turnout of innovative Japanese designers.
Big names pulled out all the stops, with On: Design favorite Nendo not only holding a solo exhibition of more than 100 works at Museo della Permanente, but also showcasing various new collaborations and picking up an Elle Deco International Design Award for its Peg Bed design for Cappellini. Other familiar names included artist Tokujin Yoshioka, architect Kengo Kuma and Karimoku New Standard, which held its own show in the Brera district.
The Salone Satellite exhibition of young designers had an impressive array of newcomers, too, including Design For Industry and 3x-Design, but this week’s column focuses on one of the design week’s less publicized Japanese exhibitions — Experimental Creations. Originally exhibited in Tokyo late last year, most of the works displayed here are still in the prototype stage, but they are impressive none the less. Here’s a few that caught the eye.
Concrete designs at Salon del Mobile Milano
First up are Tsukasa Goto’s Cement Dressing vessels.
Goto uses nature to bring to life possibly one of the most uninteresting construction materials around. Colorful petals, seeds and leaves are sprinkled into cement before the mixture is set into large bowl and vase shapes. Admittedly, a lot of the natural color is lost in the process, but what is produced is a curious crumbled texture interspersed with flecks of muted shades of pink, brown and yellow.
Cement Dressing isn’t on sale yet, but Goto hopes to market it in the near future.
So — what’s the big deal about 3-D printing?
For Jun Murakoshi, those distinctive groove lines left behind by 3-D printing make for a happy design accident. By printing his So vase shapes from the bottom upward, he found that the concentric lines of 3-D printing are reminiscent of the lines visible on wheel-thrown pottery.
This use of high-tech machinery to evoke traditional craftsmanship reminds us that embracing the mechanical future of production doesn’t necessarily mean the loss of traditional aesthetic values.
So are available to buy on the Experimental Creations website, but customers will need to line the works with rubber themselves if they plan to use them with water.
Pore over this
Concerned about the amount of food that humans waste, Kaori Akiyama of Studio Color has been researching ways to recycle fruit and vegetable peel into a decorative form.
After much experimentation, she discovered that boiling floatstone with grape, carrot or orange waste would dye the calcareous rock into attractive soft colors.
Available to buy now, the resulting Stone Compote line of porous soap dishes (¥1,600) and pumices (¥1,300) comes in purple, orange, yellow and green.
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