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NAKAMURA inc./ Shin Nakamura × Ministry of Design /Colin Seah
A collaboration between the Noren manufacturer and dyer Shin Nakamura (president of the Nakamura company) and the famous Singaporean designer and architect Colin Seah (Ministry of Design).
Based on the theme of polychromatic "wasarasa" dyeing, this work offers a visual representation of the complex processes involved in this traditional dyeing technique.
This piece expresses the depth of the hues obtained by the "katazome" process, which showcases the mark of the hand by meticulously layering multiple colored dots over each other. Each base color is altered slightly when layered over by the next color, a phenomenon only possible when dyed by hand.
The dot is the minimum visual unit. As human movement is now restricted by the COVID-19 pandemic, communication is established through the visual. A similar evolution is taking place in traditional industries. Dot Dot paradoxically questions the future of craftsmanship and the borderline between real and virtual by presenting handmade dots in a traditional way.
Ministry of Design
Based in Singapore, Ministry of Design is an architectural and interior design firm. Its activities are based on the concept of: " question, disturb and redefine the spaces, forms and experiences that surround us in order to give meaning to the world".
It has been responsible for numerous projects all over the world, including the Vanke Triple V gallery, Vue Hotel Beijing, Macalister Mansion and New Majestic Hotel.
Dimensions: 33.3cm (height) x 45.5cm (width) x 3cm (depth)
Since its establishment in 1923, Nakamura has focused on noren (partitioning curtains), whose form and function has not changed greatly since the Edo period (1603-1867), proposing new ways of use and design through modern reinterpretation. Originally working as an intermediary that coordinated all processes involved in the making and repairing of kimono, Nakamura drew on the know-how and experience it accumulated through its many years of close interaction with artisians to begin producing noren for clients in Japan and overseas in 2014.
Noren are iconic items that have decorated the entrances of Japanese buildings for centuries. They are thought to have arisen in the Yayoi period (300 BCE-300 CE) as curtains used as sunshades and dust screens. Noren, often dyed with designs that feature distinguishing symbols such as store names, family crests and historical imagery, are considered a forerunner to Japanese outdoor advertising.
Nakamura undertakes the entire production of noren, from suggesting various materials and dyeing techniques to the comprehensive handling of all design elements including graphics, logos, and crests, to bring new life to traditional noren and create "the one and only noren" that perfectly meets the client's demands.
Faced with the demands for efficiency and mass production of modern society, it requires extraordinary effort to simply sustain the exquisite technique and know-how which were handed down by artisians over generations. In an age undergoing constant change, the ability to produce new value that is meaningful to society is the best way to preserve the work of the artisians . And in every age, that role is played by producers with creative ideas, such as Nakamura.