semi-wrinkle washi

  • 2013.10
for Taniguchi Aoya Washi by | n meister

Taniguchi Aoya Washi, a traditional Japanese paper company located in Tottori Prefecture in western Japan, is the country’s only domestic producer of three-dimensional washi. Washi is made by passing fine screens through a bath of plant pulp and water to collect the pulp, then by drying the screens and peeling off the new paper sheets. Rather than pasting sheets of washi together to create forms, the company uses the same process to create beautiful seamless forms that are three-dimensional from the start. However, the results are similar and even enough that the company’s paper forms can be confused with white glass or plastic. Adding devils tongue (konnyaku) to the mixture creates wrinkles that bring out the special characteristics of paper, but this process also conceals the fact that the forms are made with the traditional technique. After running into this problem, we decided to take the best of both worlds: to create lighting fixtures that are only half-formed with the wrinkle process. The wrinkles can be applied gradually so that the two different effects come together seamlessly. The wrinkles shrink the fixtures’ overall size, so we calculated backwards from the desired final size to create the starting form and size. This hybrid process created a new face for paper, one that combines the softness and tensility that only three-dimensional washi can display.

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photos by Hiroshi Iwasaki