Jin Kuramoto is playing the drum - or he's making drum sounds by hitting the surface of what seems to be a coloured glass table. But how can that be? Curious to know more, we ventured into the new facade of the Tokyo-based company: AGC Asahi Glass.
Curious objects in the TOUCH presentation...
AGC Asahi Glass is no stranger to the design world. The company has been making its annual appearance at Milan Design Week since 2015. This year, basing on the concept of Touch, AGC's new collaboration with young designers like Kuramoto and London-based Raw-Edges has conjured up a series of works that encourage visitors to touch their glass surfaces - a practice that is all so common now - but on a larger scale.
"Glass has always been a familiar part of our daily lives," explained the company. "Whether in our homes, our cars, on high-rise buildings in our city; we are surrounded by countless types of glass. And with the advance of smartphones, we spend increasing amounts of time touching glass screens on our devices. Through the development of technologies such as anti-fingerprint coatings and glass strengthening, we have been able to adapt this material, which is traditionally not meant to be touched, to meet our evolving needs. "
And so with their advanced glass processing technologies, the top of Kuramoto's drum is actually made out of a 1.0mm chemical tempered glass that's usually used for smartphone covers. "It's very thin," he pointed out, "but so strong that we can't even break it with our hands."
Drums by Jin Kuramoto
Seesaw by Jin Kuramoto
The same goes for his other creation: the Seesaw. This nerve-wracking looking yet safe design is made out of figured glass that's laminated in green. The material used, as Kuramoto explained further, is a decorative glass with patterns on its surface. And by giving it a wood grain look, not only was the end result child-friendly but also stood out visually like an art piece. Kuramoto has indeed provided designs that express the essence of things in an easy to understand manner.
Alongside Kuramoto's creation, there's the Glass Spinner from Raw-Edges. "The idea came after a friend gave us some markers to draw on her shop's window," explained Shay Alkalay, one part of the design duo. "As we are so used to drawing on much rougher surfaces such as paper or blackboard there was something about the smoothness of the glass that creates a completely new sensation, which made us continue drawing."
Raw-Edges with their Glass Spinner design
Demonstrator drawing on the Glass Spinner
Imagine the spinner like a glass version of a pottery wheel, but only vertical and spins in between a Y-shape structure. Not only will this structure allow visitors to draw on it but also let a simple stroke of a line become a perfect flower. And much like pottery, there's no right or wrong way to create. As long as you're working with temporary markers, the possibility will certainly be endless!
On the other hand, they've also played with the subtlety of the wire glass - a very common design to prevent it from shattering in cases of fire. "We were surprised to see that although the usage of wire glass is so very common, there are only a few patterns that are in use all over the world."
So after playing with the grid in a way that would create an optical illusion and maybe even confusion, they came out with a very vivid looking curtain design. "These illusions will lure the visitors to approach the glass, touching to verify the nature of the surface," said the designers.
Wire Glass by Raw-Edges
Whether it's a drum or a seesaw, a drawing board or a decorative element, these works of design, which explored new aspects of glass production such as special coating and unique methods of expression, will hopefully inspire a new approach toward glass and open the door to exciting possibilities for this versatile material in our everyday lives.
We can't wait for what Asahi Glass has to offer in their next presentation...
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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