About the Collection

The Gifu Collection is the result of an on-going collaboration between Sebastian Conran’s London design studio and ten specialist artisan makers based within 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 craftsmanship with an original and contemporary international design ethos. Inspired by Gifu past and present, the collection spans across lighting, ceramics, stationery and kitchen tools using diverse and distinct fabrication methods. 

There are currently over fifty items made from traditional materials including hand-glazed ceramics, finger-jointed woods, hand-made papers and sharpened metals.

 
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Introduction by Sebastian Conran

Traditional methods of making things are becoming an endangered species across the globe; much of this may be down to the cost of human labour, and the value that consumers now place on handcrafted objects. 

I believe that handmade in Japan is potentially one of the strongest brands in the market place, competing against other luxury European alternatives. We have been closely collaborating with 10 chosen makers from the historic Gifu area to create a small collection of objects which all have contemporary global relevance, highlighting what can be done with traditional expertise in a contemporary context. 

This is one of the most exciting projects that I have undertaken in my career and I look forward to it being part of the renascence of Japanese craftsmanship, as well as the understanding of the true value of the artisanal object.

 

MESSAGE FROM HAJIME FURUTA
GOVERNOR OF GIFU PREFECTURE, JAPAN

“Gifts from Gifu, the Land of Clear Waters”

A 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, including the “craftsmanship of Hida” which was essential in the 7th century construction of the Horyu-ji and Todai-ji temples. Today, handmade Washi paper, with over 1,300 years of history, is used for art restoration at the Louvre Museum in Paris and the British Museum in London. The art of craftsmanship has been handed down for generations.

What sort of chemistry will occur if we combine the art of Japanese traditional craftsmanship and contemporary design by Mr. Sebastian Conran? With this curiosity, this collaboration effort was implemented two years ago, when we invited Mr. Conran to visit numerous local product makers in Gifu Prefecture. I am very delighted to hear that the experiences that he had with Gifu’s rich natural environment, history, culture and traditions, fostered by the clear waters, gave him great inspiration for his product design. 

With his inspiration, over 50 product items were collaboratively developed with ten of Gifu’s leading manufacturers and their traditional craftsmanship, based on the theme of his design ethos ‘Form Follows Fabrication’. These items are showcased at the 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. 

Gifu Prefecture has many tourist attractions to offer including the World Heritage Site Shirakawa-go, as well as a variety of good sake and delectable food such the famous Hida Beef and Ayu sweetfish. If you are enticed by Gifu, please come and visit us.

Finally, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Mr. Sebastian Conran, all at Sebastian Conran Associates and many others for their kind cooperation and support for our participation in MAISON&OBJET.

Please indulge yourself in Gifu!