After last weeks feature with designer Masanori Oji, it seemed right to highlight another inspiring Japanese creative in the form of industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa. Although more mainstream, I have numerous books on his works and I’m especially inspired by his collaboration with Jasper Morrison on the Super Normal project. If you’re not familiar with Super Normal, it’s basically the pair discussing the idea of an object being so normal that it becomes exceptional. An interesting concept to say the least, and something that has fascinated me over the years.
Naoto Fukasawa designs these wonderful accessories and bags under the name SIWA for Japanese Washi paper maker ONAO. Located in Ichikawamisato, Yamanashi ONAO have a history spanning 1000’s of years. Over the centuries the company have perfected the art of washi paper, enabling them to create a material that is both water and tear proof whilst being able to harness heavy loads with ease. Soft Naoron is a paper developed by wood pulp and polyolefin utilising the washi-suki paper manufacturing method. The name SIWA actually derived from scrambling the word washi and a word meaning “crinkle” in Japanese. Similar to a leather item, these washi products are individually crafted, built to last and ever embracing of the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi.
We recently had arrival in the shop of a new series designed by Naoto Fukasawa titled ‘bi-colour’, alongside some other simple accessories new for 2013. The ‘bi-color’ series features two separate colours, one for the top and another for the bottom half. An item that already seems like a hit in the store is the Vertical Bag in Gray/Dark Blue, also the Cushioned Case in Gray/Dark Blue for iPad. But I have personally used in my own working life one of the Pen Cases (featured in the photos below) to carry my pencils and pens inside, they’re superbly functional and perfect as a gift. Hopefully you enjoy our new range and will head over to the shop to view the rest sometime this weekend.