atrk
press enter to search

'Into the Woods': Explores Japanese wood artistry

Marcel Thee
Marcel Thee

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Wed, November 7, 2018 | 08:35 am
'Into the Woods': Explores Japanese wood artistry

Play of color: These vases, created by designer MoonRounds, are among the pieces created to celebrate Japanese wood artistry that are on display at an exhibition at the dia.lo.gue art space in Kemang, South Jakarta, until Nov. 11. (Courtesy of Table Six/Door To Asia/-)

Focusing specifically on wood-builders from Nara Okuyamato in Japan, the exhibition “Into the Woods” is a collaborative effort between a few Indonesian design studios such as Table Six and Studio Dasar with Door to Asia, a Japanese-based designer residency program as part of Design Camp @ Okuyamato.

The program has been an ongoing one, with the aim of promoting local businesses around Nara Okuyamoto, which are known for their wood-based artistry.

The program invites designers from around Asia for a week-long homestay visit to Nara Okuyamoto, where they collaborate with the area’s designers to create products that are unique to the area but also commercially viable globally.

The exhibition, which is taking place at the dia.lo.gue art space in Kemang, South Jakarta, until Nov. 11, features the works of seven wood-makers and two wood companies — both of which utilize materials exclusively from Yoshino cedar and Yoshino cypress trees that can only be found in woods located in Yoshino district of Nara Okuyamato.

Handmade: An Apple Jack studio craftsman uses a lathe to form a piece of wood.Handmade: An Apple Jack studio craftsman uses a lathe to form a piece of wood. (Courtesy of Table Six/Door To Asia/-)

The wood designers were picked for the quality of their work that is reflective of Japan’s particular culture, craftsmanship, forest practices and respect toward nature. These wood makers are designers Ichi, studio Jig, Izuru, CH Style, Akari Kobo, Apple Jack and MoonRounds. The companies involved are HOUEI and Masuchu. The event also features a few Indonesian collaborators, including studios that have taken part in the homestay program. These are Table Six, Grrad, Studio Dasar and Athina Dinda.

Fandy Susanto from Table Six, who took part in the program, said the idea to promote the area’s wood-based products to a much wider market was a no-brainer, since everyone involved knew Nara Okuyamato had something unique to offer the world.

“When we visited the woods in Nara, we were astonished by their beauty. We talked with the local people, ate local foods, even stayed in their homes. I can still feel the energy. I suppose this exhibition is an attempt to share that feeling with visitors,” Fandy says.

“Not only will they be able to view and touch the products, but they will learn about the process behind its creation.”

Designer CH Style said the inspiration for his work came from “various things that exist in the natural world — clear air, the murmur of the stream in a pure river, the scent of a lush forest”, while Apple Jack says that it is only natural he uses natural materials as he lives near the woods.

Play of color: These vases, created by designer MoonRounds, are among the pieces created to celebrate Japanese wood artistry that are on display at an exhibition at the dia.lo.gue art space in Kemang, South Jakarta, until Nov. 11.Play of color: These vases, created by designer MoonRounds, are among the pieces created to celebrate Japanese wood artistry that are on display at an exhibition at the dia.lo.gue art space in Kemang, South Jakarta, until Nov. 11. (Courtesy of Table Six/Door To Asia/-)

“I feel really proud I can do my work while living in the greenery and hearing the nice sound of the river,” Jack says.

The concept behind the “Into the Woods” exhibition comes with the slogan: “Into the Process, Into the Home, Into the City, Into the Woods”. Visitors are expected to learn about the production and become inspired, to see how the products can be used practically at home, while also getting some insights about Nara Okuyamato.

Apart from products created by the seven designers, there is a wooden-house installation designed by Coji Katsuyama and presented by HOUEI Foresty.

A product created during the last homestay program — a collaborative furniture work by local designer Diaz Adisastomo and Japanese wood-maker Daisuke Sakamoto — is also featured at the exhibition.

Fandy recalled how integrated wood and nature was in the lives of the people in the area.

“The trees are central to the Nara Okuyamato way of life. People live surrounded by the trees. The trees give life to the people, providing them with jobs. As appreciation, the people take care of the woods. The mutual respect between nature and the people there has been ongoing for hundreds of years,” Fandy said.

He sees the designers as having a great amount of spiritual respect for the woods, inspiring and influencing their work.

He cited Ichi, one of the designers, as saying they need to “understand the wood before carving the wood”.

“That is why I’m not surprised to see the outcome be that ‘powerful’,” Fandy says.

Nara’s woods have a uniqueness that is theirs alone, said Fandy, with Japan’s four seasons creating different kinds of linings in the wood, with the lines from summer with bigger gaps and from winter with smaller ones.

“The woods are much more condensed and strong. People who take care of the woods would cut down the branches in order to make them grow straight,” said Fandy, adding that the wood materials also have a “nice smell”.

Like all the other collaborators and designers, Fandy hoped to share his inspired feelings with Indonesia.

“I hope Indonesians will see the romantic relationships the Japanese people, especially the Nara Okuyamato people, have between them and their professions and the woods. I hope visitors will feel the spirits of the woods.”

Comments