The 20th century can be described as the century of consistency, especially in the world of design. It speaks to the progress that has been made that we are able to get the same products at the same quality anywhere in the world nowadays. But I do sometimes wonder, when the world is full of the mass-produced and the ubiquitous, what kind of objects will people still hold on to a century from now? I find the answer in materials and techniques which continue to change over time, and which renew and adjust their beauty as the years pass.
The hibi-nuri, or cracked lacquer, techniques were founded in the Edo period, when they were used to decorate the scabbards of Japanese swords. An encounter with an artisan who has mastered this technique of applying lacquer upon metallic foil has brought me an opportunity to make a design I had long held in my mind come to life. I wanted to make something entirely new, using a blend of contemporary, durable base materials, and the uncontrollable power of nature. This combination of the changing and the unchanging leaves a powerful impression and can add a one-and-only allure to an object.
Keita Suzuki [PRODUCT DESIGN CENTER Inc.]
Product designer, born in 1982. Influenced by his grandfather, he has gained big interests in the beauty of Japanese and Asian art and crafts since his childhood. Founded Product Design Center in 2012, he deals with product design as well as planning and engineering with both domestic and international companies. He held a solo exhibition at Yanagi Sori Memorial Design Center, as the first designer to exhibit at the place apart from Yanagi himself. Train and product designs for Sagami Railway 20000 series brought Laurel Prize 2019.