No tour is done without a snap shot.
We always ask designers: Where do you find your inspiration? Sometimes the answer is: "everything around you"; sometimes it's from "travelling", but more often it is about visiting manufacturers and craftsmen, wherever they are. In the case of "A New Layer II", the source of this inspiration is Taiwan.
Now in its second year, A New Layer is a project and platform that aims to foster new partnerships between Taiwanese and international designers and craftspeople. In 2017, led by NTCRI (National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute) and curated by Lise Coirier, seven internationally-based designers across Asia and Europe travelled to Taiwan to work with some of the most talented local craftspeople on the island. They included Koji pottery, bamboo bending, lacquerware, ceramics, and indigo-dyeing. As part of the research phase of A New Layer, the designers visited sites of cultural or historical significance in Taiwan too.
A visit to the bamboo factory with craftsman Lin, Jian Cheng.
The final prototype of The Bamboo Chair, which will be indigo-dyed for the final product.
To date, the four design projects that have been completed include the Indigo-Dyed Bamboo Chair by Jin Kuramoto from Japan, working together with Jian Cheng Lin and Wen-Chun Tang. The chair design combined both the handmade bamboo bending process with the natural indigo-dyeing technique usually applied to textiles.
By combining both the handmade bamboo bending process with the natural indigo-dyed technique, Kuramoto has conceived a new kind of furniture typology. Employing bamboo bending, which is one of the highest quality techniques in Taiwan, he has tailored a new type of seating. The elegant and refined chair design also simplified the bamboo weaving and refreshed the traditional look of the typical Asian furniture style. It also reinforces the aesthetics and sustainability of the chair and introduces a sense of tactility and comfort.
Making of the Fruit Tower in one of Yingge's ceramic factory.
The prototype of The Fruit Tower, inspired by Taiwan's local juice shops!
The other two works that will be completed in the coming dates also included Korean designer Wonmin Park's Clay Table, where he collaborated with Wen-Yi Kung to create a design that will capture the nuances of light, colour and depth. He found a unique quality to start experimenting with large-scale pottery, which has good qualities in glazing and finishing. It's a new challenge for him to work with this new kind of material in a new way that fascinates him.
From the Netherlands-based, Israel- and Japan-born duo BCXSY, their concept of a Fruit Tower also utilises the ceramics that are available in the artistic town of Yingge. While exploring the vast collection of the National Palace Museum, Boaz Cohen and Sayaka Yamamoto were drawn to the numerous artefacts shaped as natural elements - from rocks to plants and animals. And with craftsman Jian-Fu Zhong, they're hoping to create functional objects that retain the surreal characteristics of fruits that they often observed in local juice shops.
Craftsmen hard at work making Wonmin's table.
Tables getting ready for the next phase.
Other completed works by Anton Alvarez (Sweden), Julie Richoz (Switzerland/France), and Sebastian Herkner (Germany) are already available for online viewing in the official website (here) and will be exhibited and promoted internationally this year. Watch this space.
All photos by Maciej Korbas (Poland) / Courtesy NTCRI & Taiwan Designers Web.
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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