Style & Design | ON: DESIGN

For fine dining a la mode, Issey Miyake and kilns in Arita are putting Japanese aesthetics on the menu.

Table dressing with Issey Miyake

It’s definitely a good year for Issey Miyake fans. On March 16, a major exhibition of the designer’s work opens at the National Art Center, Tokyo, while in April, Taschen plans to release a monumental definitive book charting his entire career.

A prelude to this visual flood of fashion and design is the Iittala × Issey Miyake Homeware Collection, which launched globally in February.

Like a homeware capsule of his most iconic works, every piece — which includes tableware, cushion covers and tote bags — is unmistakably Issey Miyake. The textiles for table mats, runners and decorative “table flowers” are based on the original pleating and folding techniques used for the designer’s well-known clothing lines, while cups and plates echo the brand’s use of geometric shapes.

This 30-piece collection was four years in the making, and like all of the Finnish brand Iittala’s homeware goods, every item not only has an unembellished timeless aesthetic, it has also been designed to be durable — principles that perfectly match Miyake’s own philosophy that clothing should last a lifetime.

Items come in dusty pinks, charcoal grays, deep greens and minimalist whites, with prices ranging from ¥3,800 for a cup to ¥25,000 for a table runner.

Going potty over Arita ware’s 400-year anniversary

Arita in Saga Prefecture is celebrating the 400th anniversary of its ceramics industry, and as home to Imari ware, Japan’s oldest style of porcelain, many of its kilns have been working on an array of new contemporary designs.

Last year, the prefecture’s Arita 400 Years of Porcelain project introduced some of these ideas via various initiatives, the most anticipated of which — the 2016/ collaborations with 16 international designers — officially launches next month at the Milan Salone. In the meantime, here are a couple of the kilns that showcased their work at the Arita 400project at the January Maison et Objet trade fair in Paris.

Kihara has followed up its 2014 Arita Icon porcelain plate, which sported 16 tool and landscape icons of the town, glazed in the traditional cobalt blue on white, with an entire Tokyo Icon series featuring 69 motifs. Created by graphic designer Chie Nakao, the Tokyo icons are clean line drawings that cover everything from Edo Period rickshaws and traditional architectural landmarks to the futuristic Tokyo Big Sight convention center and Skytree tower. Some of the more unusual illustrations include the gateway sign of red-light district Kabukicho and leaves of komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach).

The collection comprises individual-motif fridge magnets (¥540) and small plates (¥1,620), plus a cup (¥2,160) and large plate (¥3,780) featuring all 69 designs.

224 Porcelain is based in Ureshino but uses the same Arita ware techniques to produce items that focus on texture and relief to as functional parts of design. Take its cute Onigiri (Rice Ball) plate, for example. Designed by Akira Mabuchi, the Onigiri has a little indented square, which when filled with soy sauce makes the dish look like a seaweed-wrapped rice ball.

For the Arita 400project, 224 Porcelain presented the Comotto pot and cup, designed by Kazuhiko Tomita. Both spherical and smooth to the touch, these have concave indents to be used as grips instead of handles. Deceptively simple in design, they are aesthetically clean but invitingly tactile. The set is not available to purchase yet, so here’s hoping it will be released soon.

Kihara: 224 Porcelain:

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