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Monthly Archives: August 2011

What I enjoy about Keiji is his understatement. He and his designs are considered: they are effective yet thoughtful with warmth and a calm voice. As an architect his interior and architectural projects such as 11 boxes, 1/4 Vault, and 506 resonate this calm and natural simplicity. He has worked with Peter Stutchbury, the distinguished Australian Architect, and reaffirmed a special connection with him on projects such as The Wall House, Japan.

“The gently warping twisted shingled roof, the ordered plan, the simple palette of timber and stone, the calm of water and the restrained, consistent detailing combine to produce a house of rare beauty and serenity.” 1

His furniture, lighting and products are exquisite and a joy to experience, touch and use. Slybox, Pipeknot, and Gravity Light #PP are content; they speak to me directly of his balance, deep thought and personal process. It is little wonder that he has exhibited at Milano Salone Satellite several times, had work published in Wallpaper Magazine and been approached by Ikea to become a guest designer to work on a series of simple honest furniture pieces for small spaces.

L >R: Slybox, Pipe Knot and Gravity Light #PP. Images Courtesy of Keiji Ashizawa Design website.

Keiji is both generous with his time and generous with his commitment. He spoke of the work he has undertaken to assist the communities impacted by the tsunami in Fukushima Prefecture. Working with Shop A high school students, simple benches have been made and distributed to affected areas. For people who have been left with nothing the benches offer a place to sit, to gather and reconnect. Keiji affirms that they probably would not work anywhere else, but the benches work here and they are used and moved around as needed. Keiji has also leased one of the many shops now vacant in the area and equipped it with tools for people to gather, learn skills and rebuild.

Humbled by our meeting, I head off with Keiji to experience Bunkyo-ku, the inner ward of Tokyo where his office Keiji Ashizawa Design is located.

Keiji Ashigawa Design, Bunkyo-ku Tokyo.

Thank you Keiji for your time and unique insight. Thank you too, Heidi Dokuli from Parcel and the Australian Design Unit (ADU), for connecting us.

1. Excerpt from Project Decription for Wall House, 2010 Japan. Link to Source

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August 25, 2011, Shinjuku-ku,Tokyo!

‘Never never never never give up.’ A misquote from Winston Churchill address to Harrow School England October 29, 1941.

I stepped out for the first time into Shinjuku’s streets. It was hot and the cicadas’ chants  deafened. A young girl on a bicycle whizzed past me. She was wearing a bright yellow T-Shirt with large red writing ‘NEVER GIVE UP’. And so my day begins. The girl disappeared before I could snap a photo.

Japan is so resilient. People have not given up even in the wake of the tsunami that destroyed many lives and much of the city of Minamisoma, in Fukushima prefecture. There is much work that still needs to be done in Fukushima prefecture and assistance greatly needed from the world; at so many levels!

With this in my mind I headed to Bunkyo-ku, to meet with Designer and Architect; Keiji Ashizawa, from Keiji Ashizawa Design.

Correct Quote:

‘Never give in — never, never, never, never — nothing great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. …’

It’s been a fast paced few months. Prior to departing Sydney from Brisbane, to undertake my Winston Churchill Fellowship, there was a long list of things to do:

Visit my parents and see how the Burnett River stood up to Queensland’s recent floods that occurred late 2010 to early 2011.

The water came to the top of the trees above where my Dad is standing (central image).

Fabricate, photograph (with Jon Linkins)  and install ‘Taking Flight‘ for Aurecon’s Brisbane Office at Santos Place.

Sometimes the hardest task is completing things, especially if it's a little complicated.

Fly to Canberra to see my Lift Seat + The Bloom Series + ‘Taking Flight‘ sample  in the ‘Australian Chair Survey‘ exhibition at The Gallery of Australian Design (GAD) including chairs by Jon Goulder (WA), Darcy Clarke (NSW), Ross Diddier (VIC), Chis Hardy (ACT), Justin Vecchio (VIC)  and Laura McCusker (TAS). It was great to meet every one!

Australian Chair Survey at GAD, Commonwealth Place in the Parliamentary Triangle, Canberra ACT.

Plan, pack, visa, meetings…

< Samorn holding Eastern Weft textiles. The front and reverse of their handiwork. Brilliant colours! >

On Saturday I had the pleasure of having a Surry Hills’ cuppa with Samorn Sanixay from Eastern Weft. Eastern Weft is a weaving house located in Vientiane, Laos, founded by Samorn Sanixay and Kaisy Sophabmixay. Their cooperative creates beautiful hand-woven textiles, and in doing so provides sustainable livelihoods for skilled young weavers from Laos’ diverse range of ethnic minorities.

Each weaver brings unique experience, skills, techniques and motifs to the textiles. Simply inspirational from origin, intention, making and experiencing. Samorn’s modest presence, perspective and dedication is beautiful and inspiring.

Please view Eastern Weft’s textiles and commitment at www.easternweft.com.au especially ‘weave’ that shows their care and craft; from silk worms to natural locally sourced dyes and the integration of Laos’ diverse textile heritage. Very special!

Taking Flight 2011

Taking Flight 2011 (Folded Aluminium wall relief commissioned by Aurecon). Photograph Jon Linkins.

I am an Australian Artist, Designer and Maker about to embark on a Winston Churchill Traveling Fellowship. My Fellowship looks at the origins of patterns and their connection to traditional craft, design and architecture.

I will be traveling to Japan, China and Turkey meeting artisans and designers: also visiting Museums and amazing historical temples that show their craft. I can’t wait to experience the space within the patterns of these cultures. So stay tuned to be inspired!!!