ABOUT THE COLLECTION
The Sebastian Conran Gifu Collection is the result of a unique and ongoing collaboration between Sebastian Conran’s London design studio and 14 traditional makers based in the beautiful, natural surroundings of Gifu, Japan.
The collection celebrates a rich and diverse craft heritage that dates back 1,300 years, combining traditional Japanese techniques with an original and contemporary international design ethos. Inspired by Gifu past and present, the collection features hand-glazed ceramics, finger-jointed woods, washi papers and sharpened steel.
The Sebastian Conran Gifu Collection concept launched to great acclaim at Maison et Objet Paris January 2017 with 10 makers and over 50 items, and attracted significant interest from international press and retailers. One year on and there are now over 100 products available produced by 14 makers spanning across lighting, furniture, ceramics, stationery and kitchen tools, all crafted using the diverse skills and exceptional techniques of the Gifu region.
INTRODUCTION BY SEBASTIAN CONRAN
In this increasingly disposable modern world where the latest digital gadget becomes redundant in a mere number of years, intelligent, sensitive humans will always be analogue, and will crave beautifully hand finished items that will last for generations whilst sustaining the endangered nature of artisanal craftsmanship.
Our aim is to establish ‘Made in Gifu’ as a universal brand that is considered around the world to represent outstanding quality of design, craftsmanship, ethics and sustainability, all of which are the core values of the Sebastian Conran Gifu Collection.
Since the concept launch in 2017 we have worked energetically with the outstanding Gifu makers, collaboratively designing and developing a total of over 100 beautiful and useful lifestyle designs for the home, all with compelling international appeal. These unique items all proudly demonstrate the traditional materials and skills that have evolved from Gifu’s unique geography and geology, and are a true celebration of its rich heritage and exceptional craftsmanship.
MESSAGE FROM HAJIME FURUTA
GOVERNOR OF GIFU PREFECTURE, JAPAN
“Gifts from Gifu, the Land of Clear Waters”
The Land of Clear Waters, the Gifu area of Japan is blessed with crystal clear water, flowing through lush forests. The blessings of these clear waters are deeply rooted in our lives, manifesting themselves in our local craftsmanship of woodworks, Mino Washi Japanese paper, cutlery and ceramics.
Traditional craftsmanship of Gifu’s 14 leading manufacturers combined with Mr. Sebastian Conran’s “functional design in everyday life” value produced over 70 product items. All items are proudly showcased at this year’s Sebastian Conran Gifu Collection booth.
I hope that you enjoy this fine collection; a great example of “Japanese spirit combined with contemporary flair” and truly “Gifts from Gifu, the Land of Clear Waters” born of a fusion between East and West.
LEGACY OF CRAFTS IN GIFU PREFECTURE
With forest occupying more than 80% of the land, Gifu’s abundant resources and wealth of unique craftsmanship has resulted in a variety of wood products being produced in the region.
Traditional techniques have been passed down through generations resulting in advanced carpentry skills that are used to make a wide range of wooden products today, from the finger-jointed masu boxes of Ogaki to the furniture of the Hida region.
With a history spanning over 1,300 years, Mino-Yaki is traditional Japanese pottery that originated in the Tono region of Gifu. Made using unique raw materials of exceptionally high quality, Mino Yaki’s tiles, plates and other items have been Japan’s leading ceramics export for many years and have a global reputation for both elegance and functionality.
The creation of Mino Washi paper is a traditional craft of Gifu with an impressive history of over 1,300 years. Made in the beautiful town of Mino, the paper is renowned for its softness, strength and beauty. Today it is still made using the same methods that have been passed down over centuries and in November 2014 the traditional papermaking craftsmanship of ‘Hon Mino Shi’ was added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
For almost 800 years Seki has been home to many of Japan’s most celebrated swordsmiths and the city prospered as a renowned centre for the production of katana swords which were highly valued by the samurai. Times may have changed, but the same principles and techniques are still applied today in order to produce high quality products for domestic use such as knives, scissors and nail clippers.
The Gifu textile industry began in the 19th century with the spinning of silk and cotton. Following the Second world war, the industry gathered in and around Gifu City, establishing itself as a hub for fabric production. The area is now renowned across Japan for the production of textiles and clothing, notably as specialists in spinning, twisting, sewing and dyeing.