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On The Rise: Ayako Aratani & Embracing Imperfection


On The Rise: Ayako Aratani & Embracing Imperfection
Image courtesy of the designer

A Japanese furniture designer now based in Detroit, Ayako Aratani creates works that embrace imperfection. Her works embody both physical and visual comfort as she reimagines these functional products as playful individuals riddled with whimsy. Aratani seeks to find the value in irregulars and distortions and engages with these characteristics throughout her fabrication processes. The works Aratani produces are unique, to say the least, challenging viewers to see household objects in a new light. All at the same time, they invoke feelings of welcomeness, familiarity, and harmony wherever they are. 

As part of 'On The Rise', a new segment showcasing emerging creatives on The Artling Artzine, we get to know Aratani and her practice a little more, how she instills eccentricity into her designs, and the collection that inspires her designstyle to this day:


For those who don’t know you, could you tell us more about why you have chosen design as your mode of practice? 

I have chosen furniture design as my practice area as it comprises of art, craft as well as function. Furniture design also offers comfort to people physically and visually. I believe that handcrafted appearances can convey warmer feelings of the makers compared to that of industrially made products. The imperfections left along the way in handcrafted works is the main theme throughout my practice as a designer and furniture artisan. 


Click Clock L | Ice Gray with Black Hands


Click Clock L | White with Brass Hands

What do you find yourself drawn to when creating your works? 

I find importance in showcasing the irregularities in my handcrafted works. Their final result brings about intuitive excitements. 


Is there a work or series that you find yourself more attached to? What is it and why? 

'Soft' Collection by Dutch designer Kiki van Eijk is very important in explaining why I started to be interested in my design style. I was working for her as an intern in 2015 and helped to produce this one of a kind collection. She intentionally left the sewing lines on the result and they were so cute and attractive to me. 


Roommate Desk Lamp


Roommate Stand Lamp

Roommate Lamp by Ayako Aratani. Available on The Artling. 

What has been the most challenging part of being an artist/designer?

Because of my background and training in design, I find it challenging to think about work from an artistic perspective. When I feel a ‘design block’, I return back to my original sketches. It’s an awkward approach to go backward, but it makes me consider my initial concept and re-think my design all over again. 

My original sketch has the capacity to make me feel brave in achieving a more artful result, even if it is less concerned about construction and engineering. This is why I think taking the time to draw out ideas is so important. 


Name two artists or designers who you’d like to collaborate with

Aya Kawabata and Evan Fay

Hideaway Lounge by Ayako Aratani

What's your favorite museum to visit for inspiration?

The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.


What’s next for you as an artist/designer? Do you have any upcoming shows, or are you perhaps exploring other mediums, materials or themes? 

I am showing my work, 'Roommate Lamp' at Duke Hall Gallery in Virginia, USA opening on September 9th, 2019.


Take a look at Ayako Aratani’s works here, available on The Artling 

Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.

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