Nendo Kyoto exhibition on view at Friedman Benda, New York

Nendo’s collaborations with Kyoto artisans go on view in New York

‘Nendo sees Kyoto’ is on view at Friedman Benda (till 15 October 2022), showcasing the design studio’s collaboration with six artisans specialised in historical Japanese crafts

The Japanese design studio Nendo is likely to be greatest recognized for its up to date and forward-thinking inventive undertakings, however amongst its most up-to-date initiatives this yr is a collaboration with a few of Kyoto’s most venerable grasp craftspeople and ateliers. Appropriately titled ‘Nendo sees Kyoto’, an exhibition at New York’s Friedman Benda (till 15 October 2022) showcases the pioneering design studio’s collaboration with six artisans, every specialised in an historical Japanese craft custom, to create new artworks. The fruits of this undertaking have been first introduced throughout World Heritage Websites in Kyoto in the beginning of 2022, and made their American debut this September. 

Nendo experiments with Kyoto craft

Images: Daniel Kukla

Nendo’s effort to meld Japan’s inventive previous with its current is a gorgeous tribute to the nation’s wealthy historical past of conventional strategies and use of supplies. The undertaking’s collaborators embody a Sixteenth-generation knowledgeable in making ironware kettles used within the conventional tea ceremony, an atelier that has produced paper lanterns in Kyoto for the reason that center of the Edo interval (1603-1868), makers of lacquered wood tea caddies – one in every of ten households serving the three remaining colleges of Japanese tea in Kyoto – and a Twelfth-generation conventional gardener and panorama designer whose atelier has serviced Kyoto’s landscapes for nearly 250 years. Every craftsperson collaborated with Nendo, utilising trendy strategies akin to 3D-printing, laser-cutting and different design and building strategies, to create new, extremely individualised items of labor.

‘Originally of the undertaking, I didn’t have a transparent imaginative and prescient of the result,’ says Nendo’s founder Oki Sato. ‘It was a strategy of repeating analysis, visiting and observing workshops, and discovering concepts via numerous dialogues with the craftspeople. With some collaborators, we might see the path naturally via conversations as if we have been brainstorming, whereas with others, we couldn’t appear to click on irrespective of what number of occasions we current our proposals. There isn’t a doubt that each have been fascinating experiences.’

Images: Daniel Kukla

‘The undertaking didn’t begin from the start with a set variety of collaborators,’ he  provides. ‘We have been launched to different workshops and craftspeople within the strategy of speaking with one craftsman, and the variety of collaborators regularly elevated. We have been additionally capable of meet the Iemoto [grand master] of the Urasenke College, and from there we have been capable of make contact with a gaggle of craftsmen generally known as the ‘Ten Craftsmen of the Senke College’. This was additionally necessary for making a range of supplies and strategies [featured], together with woodworking, pottery, stone, lacquer, steel, and Japanese paper.’

The result’s a provocative and galvanizing physique of labor. Onishi Seiwemon’s iron items have been 3D-printed utilizing titanium powder to create a U-shaped vessel that may be both used as a sake pitcher or a vase, for instance. Kojima Shouten’s conventional washi paper and bamboo lanterns have been reimagined in ten new shapes and kinds, showcasing their energy and suppleness in a single poetic gesture. Miyazaki Furnishings, a woodworking atelier based in 1856, has produced a duo of wood screens within the Sashimono custom (with out using glue or joinery instruments) that articulate one in every of Nendo’s most recognisable visible signatures, whereas the Ogawa Jihei gardeners have sought to carry the backyard indoors by putting in drawers inside 3D-printed boulders to rework a historically ornamental backyard function right into a useful object. In Sato’s view, this undertaking was particularly difficult to grasp.

Images: Daniel Kukla

‘When it comes to strategies and processes, I feel “Ishidansu” confronted essentially the most challenges,’ he says of the undertaking. ‘It was realised by placing collectively completely different supplies with cutting-edge expertise and manufacturing, the place every course of was fraught with rigidity. Maybe essentially the most stunning factor was the truth that woodworkers even bought and used precision drills devoted for dental technicians to complete the surfaces with the very best precision.’ §

Images: Daniel Kukla

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