Tohoku Project presents Craft x Tech during Design Miami/Basel

Craft x Tech, promoted by Hideki Yoshimoto, founder of the engineering design studio Tangent, and curated by Maria Cristina Didero, showcases the transformative power of collaborative craftsmanship and cutting-edge art and design bringing together six craft districts from Japan’s Tohoku region with internationally renowned creators

Design Miami/Basel: Monday 10 – Sunday 16 June 2024

Basel, 3 June 2024: Craft x Tech is a pioneering initiative promoted by Hideki Yoshimoto, founder of the engineering design studio Tangent, and curated by independent design curator and author Maria Cristina Didero. The project, which launched its inaugural exhibition in Tokyo ten days ago and will be on show for the first time in Europe during Design Miami/Basel (10 – 16 June), aims to bridge cultural divides and redefine the boundaries of creativity. 


Craft x Tech features collaborations with renowned designers from around the world such as Dutch designer Sabine Marcelis who works with Akita artisans and presents Yōkana series of two tables with a voluminous design and a wall-mounted piece, all lacquered in Kawatsura Shikki’s style. Inspired by the interplay of light and materiality, the three distinct objects were crafted, each intersected with a singular gesture that manipulates the light captured on its surface, inviting viewers to explore from every angle. Stripped down to the essentials and punctuated with a single twist or inverted slice, attention is solely drawn to the lacquerware itself.

Yōkan by Sabine Marcelis x Kawatsura-Shikki (left), Rain by Hideki Yoshimoto x Aizu-Hongo-Yaki (right)

Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves of Studio SWINE instead blend tradition and modernity in Miyagi’s cabinet-making.  Metropolis. I reinterprets the traditional and stately Sendai-Tansu, originally crafted as a samurai or merchant’s chest combining a graphical, flat pattern inspired by Ukiyo-e prints. Inspired by the dynamic graphic geometry and flatness of Japanese woodblock prints and 1960’s Metabolism, this new Tansu design playfully combines the traditional crafts and the radical architectural movements of Japan in a systematic ‘functional decoration’.

Designer Ini Archibong celebrates Tsugaru-Nuri lacquerware with a unique sound emitting sculpture titled Artifact #VII. The world’s “oldest sound emitting organic technology created using ancient alien skills handed down to the people of Aomori commissioned by a high priest on behalf of the children of the diaspora”, as described by Archibong.

Yoichi Ochiai from Japan explores the Oitama-Tsumugi textile tradition from Yamagata, transforming textiles into architectural environments with Null-Beni-An / Nouvelle Néant, a tea room featuring a Tensegrity structure that balances thread tension, using Oitama Tsumugi silk. At its centre, four types of natural wood sourced from the surrounding areas of Yamagata are placed, serving as an element in place of a kake-jiku (hanging scroll) in the tea room. This natural wood is also connected by strings, playing a central role in the tensegrity structure. The beautifully crimson tea room, dyed with safflower unique to the region, can be folded into a compact size and travel around the world.

Hong Kong-based designer Michael Young, partners with Iwate’s Nambu-Tekki artisans, revitalising ancient ironware techniques with his distinctive modular pieces. Blossom Links combines identical iron modules through precise calculations creating tables of various sizes and wall-mounted pieces. Its structural system was developed when the designer revisited modularity studies he conducted decades ago, approaching them with fresh eyes and exploring the functional structure within mathematical limitations. The modules are adorned with traditional cherry blossoms and unique geometric patterns, realized with 3D printing technology.

Metropolis. I by Studio SWINE x Sendai-Tansu

Finally, Hideki Yoshimoto, the Founder of Tangent, pushes pottery boundaries with Aizu-Hongoyaki’s lighting design skills presenting Rain, a floor lamp incorporating Aizu-Hongo-Yaki, the oldest pottery in Tohoku,  embedded into a monolithic structure. The large ceramic slate was fired with a unique glaze that evokes the appearance of falling rain. To combine the handmade ceramics, which shrink and warp during firing, with different materials, the fired slate was scanned and converted into digital data. This data was then used to precisely cut resin and metal materials, achieving the final composition.

“Craft x Tech shines a new light on Japanese craftsmanship. By inviting international designers to reimagine cherished traditions, their reverence for heritage and artisans nurtured a collaboration that transcended geographical limitations. This amalgamation of cultures and forward-looking concepts yielded timeless objects.” Maria Cristina Didero, Curator of Craft x Tech

“We believe that Craft x Tech is not just an exhibition, but a celebration of cultural harmony and collaborative ingenuity,” added Yoshimoto. “Through this platform, we aim to demonstrate the adaptability of Japanese crafts to the global landscape and inspire future collaborations.”

The Craft x Tech installation showcases the unique creations resulting from these collaborations, highlighting the intricate craftsmanship and visionary design that emerge when tradition meets modernity.

Craft x Tech at DesignMiami/Basel

Monday 10 – Sunday 16 June 2024

PREVIEW DAY (By Invitation Only)

Monday 10 June

Collectors Preview: 12pm – 6pm

See Also

VIP Preview: 6pm – 8pm


Tuesday 11 June & Wednesday 12 June:: 10am – 7pm

Thursday 13 June — Saturday 15 June: 11am – 7pm

Sunday 16 June: 11am-6pm


Hall 1 Süd, Booth C02, Messe Basel, Switzerland

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