the Artek FIN/JPN friendship collection - MDW2019
As Vivian mentioned in an earlier post, last week we visited the Milan Design week with a part of the April and May team. Because we knew that we had to organize our time properly, we made a small planning in advance and it soon became clear that we all wanted to visit the Artek exhibition in the heart of the Design District Brera, where they launched their new FIN/JPN friendship collection.
In collaboration with leading Japanese and Finnish designers, architects and craftsmen, the collection offers interventions on classic Artek products and contemporary designs to mark the 100 year anniversary of diplomatic relations between Finland and Japan. Despite their geographical separation the countries share a deep kinship; both pursue the essence of a simple life, possess an affinity with nature, a love of silence, a reduced visual language and a respect for craftsmanship. The collection is comprised of products that offer thoughtful takes on the similarities and differences between Finland and Japan.
The designs by Aino and Alvar Aalto, Akira Minagawa, BUAISOU, COMPANY, Jo Nagasaka and Koichi Futatsumata were presented in a beautiful installation by Finnish designer Linda Bergroth.
Around 1933 Aino and Alvar Aalto made the acquaintance of Hikotaro Ichikawa, Japanese ambassador to Finland, and his wife Kayoko. Madame Ichikawa gave Aino Aalto a gift of silk fabric with a cherry blossom – “Kirsikankukka” in Finnish - motif. Delighted and inspired, Aino created the Kirsikankukka pattern, evoking spring cherry blossoms, as an homage to Japanese textile art and design. In celebration of the friendship between Finland and Japan, Artek re-introduces a cotton textile with Kirsikankukka pattern. The fabric is printed in Kyoto, at a family owned print-house that specialised in vibrant kimono prints. The pattern is meticulously printed by hand, the silkscreens being placed manually to create a seamless, continuous pattern. This process is known as “Tenasen” and creates slight irregularities, resulting in a pattern that looks beautifully alive.
Artek has a longstanding friendship with Japanese fashion and textile designer Akira Minagawa. The first collaboration between the Finland aficionado Minagawa, founder of Japan-based fashion company minä perhonen, and Artek goes back to 2008, when he transformed the seat of Alvar Aalto’s Stool 60 into a labyrinth. Creating this new collection without his contribution would have been unthinkable for Artek. The result is a book that juxtaposes Minagawa’s drawings with images that inspired them. He moved away from the abstract quality typical of his textile designs, toward a visual dialogue between the world of the Aaltos’ and Minagawa’s own fertile imagination; a beautiful conversation between Minagawa and his heroes Alvar and Aino Aalto. Minagawa. You can admire and read all about the FIN/JPN collection here - Elvera -