a new layer: a meeting of minds melds taiwanese craft with contemporary design

a new layer: a meeting of minds melds taiwanese craft with contemporary design

‘a new layer’ — led by the national taiwan craft research and development institute (NTCRI) — is an ongoing project and platform that seeks to foster new relationships between taiwanese and international designers. now in its second phase, with research and development wrapping up this month, ‘a new layer II: crafting identities / design stories from taiwan’ is born. ‘the cross-cultural dialogue that has taken place between taiwanese craftsmen and international designers during the course of a new layer has enlightened and challenged both,’ says NTCRI director keng-hsiu, hsu. ‘we are really pleased to see that all the participants in the project enjoyed the process, with the designers bringing a contemporary mindset to high-quality taiwanese craftsmanship.’

new layer taiwan
japanese designer jin kuramoto worked together with craftsmen lin, jian cheng and tang, wen-chun



the NTCRI invited belgium-based curator lise coirier to art direct seven designers hailing from france, germany, israel, japan, south korea, sweden, and switzerland to taiwan. these creative forces traveled throughout taiwan for several weeks before teaming up to work with some of the most talented craftspeople on the island. specializing in koji pottery, bamboo bending, lacquerware, ceramics, and indigo dying, the taiwanese craftsmen each partnered with a designer or team to develop contemporary objects and furniture based on traditional methodologies.

new layer taiwan
‘a new layer’ is an ongoing project and platform that seeks to foster new design relationships



the design works presented as part of ‘a new layer II’ are available for online viewing, where visitors can explore the final products as well as the creative process behind the project. ‘the overseas designers and taiwanese craftspeople worked together to conceive, materialize, and finalize their design,’ coirier describes, ‘with the craftspeople revealing in the numerous challenges and new visions presented to them in their craft by the designers.’

new layer taiwan
kuramoto’s chair blends the handcrafted bamboo bending process with indigo-dying techniques



of the seven designers who have explored various facets of taiwanese craftsmanship, two have focused on the tradition of bamboo bending. this environmental friendly medium has been explored through an artistic lens by applying heat to slender pieces, then gluing, assembling and nailing them together to create artisanal furniture and objects.

new layer taiwan
the refined chair expresses a sense of tactility and comfort



designer sebastian herkner and craftsman wu, ming-an worked together on the ‘bridge bamboo bench’. herkner, inspired by the country’s many bridges, translated the idea of connecting people and cultures through a seat that defies the typical structural qualities of the medium. the challenge of the design aims to replace the ‘closed loop’ effect with an arched form sourced from the architectural qualities of bridges.

new layer taiwan
sebastian herkner and craftsman wu, ming-an worked together on the ‘bridge bamboo bench’



also working with bamboo is japanese designer jin kuramoto, together with craftsman lin, jian cheng and tang, wen-chun. the ‘indigo-dyed bamboo chair’ blends both the handcrafted bamboo bending process with an indigo-dying technique normally applied to textiles to create a new kind of seating. the refined chair expresses a sense of tactility and comfort through the use of two-meter-long bamboo pieces that are carefully bent and assembled by hand.

new layer taiwan
herkner was inspired by the country’s many bridges



other participating projects presented as part of ‘a new layer II’ include the ‘koji pottery’ collection by anton alvarez in collaboration with zhong-zheng chen and chi-li hsiao, which revisits the classical forms presented in traditional pottery; the ‘cong’ lacquerware collection by julie richoz with chin-mei huang (taiwan), inspired by a cong vase in the collection of the national palace museum; the ‘clay table’ by wonmin park and wen-yi kung; and the ‘fruit tower’ by BCXSY — sayaka yamamoto and boaz cohen — and craftsman jian-fu zhong.

new layer taiwan
the idea of connecting people and cultures is expressed in the furniture



‘a new layer has not only pushed the boundaries of both craft and design in taiwan, but also created tangible objects and furniture that the general public can engage with,’ director keng-hsiu, hsu surmises. discover the collection online, here.

new layer taiwan
the seat defies the typical structural qualities of the medium of bamboo

new layer taiwan
a woven arched form is sourced from the architectural qualities of bridges

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