Bonsai is a traditional Japanese art form that uses cultivation techniques to produce small plants in pots that mimic the shape and proportions of full-size trees.Bonsai artists shape their landscapes by bending and pruning branches as well as adding stones and moss to complete their desired appearance. Works of bonsai masters are considered to be artistic marvels and sold for extremely high prices. Despite the Bonsai’s prestige and increasing popularity around the world, it is still very rare to find them outside of Japan due to agricultural import restrictions. The Bonsai’s maintenance requires sunlight exposure and constant watering, which presents a challenge for retailers. Additionally, proper care of a Bonsai tree entails a substantial amount of professional expertise. These factors and others have been a hindrance to the prevalence of Bonsai-growing among young people and overseas.

The grid-bonsai tackles these challenges and creates a solution in the form of an interactive puzzle-like object. The 3D-printed object can be easily trimmed using a pair of Bonsai scissors, just like a natural plant. There are seven types of objects, referencing the well known Bonsai tree species, each can be customized from simple extruded form into a smooth rounded form. The objects are user friendly, even for beginners, and as they are non-living, there are no import and maintenance restrictions, making over the counter sales easy both domestically and abroad.

Japan Botanical Culture
Arata Nishikawa (product)
Sherry Huang (product)
Shimpei Mitani (moving image)
Akihiro Yoshida