WA - The Essence of Japanese Design

WA: The Essence of Japanese Design

WA: The Essence of Japanese Design is a richly illustrated exploration of the beauty, impact, and essence of 300 key objects that exemplify Japanese design.

Opening with an essay that is a personal response to Japanese design by Kenya Hara, art director of Muji since 2001, WA spotlights objects that span many hundreds of years and range from everyday household items to couture fashion.

This volume is organized by material: wood, paper, metal, ceramics, synthetics, and fibers and textiles in order to emphasize the vital connection between design and material in Japan.

Each chapter is introduced by an essay that documents the roots and evolution of design in that particular material, followed by a selection of diverse objects.

Inspired pairings juxtapose traditional pieces with fine designer objects; ancient items with iconic contemporary works. In the chapter on paper, for example, traditional paper lanterns are paired with Isamu Nogushi's Akari A1 Lamp and in the chapter on wood, a rattan bustier designed by Issey Miyake echoes the lines of a simple bamboo and rattan flower basket.

From the most basic objects, such as the ubiquitous Kikkoman soy sauce dispenser, to fine designs from such important Japanese designers as Shiro Kurumata, Naoto Fukasawa, and Sori Yanagari, hundreds of superb photographs demonstrate their strong and enduring Japanese character.