By Caisa Carlson
Japanese studio Nendo has contributed to a virtual design show organised by Vogue Italia, showing its Hyouri collection of reversible traditional paper lanterns that “seem to swallow parts of themselves”.
The event, which first took place in 2018, showcases works by six international designers and is held in a specially-designed digital space this year as the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect real-world events.
Vogue Italia invited the designers to create one room each inside a virtual replica of Condé Nast’s Milan headquarters at Piazza Cadorna 5.
The Kyoto lanterns that inform Nendo’s contribution usually have a structure made from a bamboo frame that consists of ring-shaped bamboo strips with ends fixed with washi paper.
For the Hyouri collection, rather than binding the ends tightly to each other, multiple bamboo strips were bound with washi paper but some slack was left to create joints, which enabled the lanterns to be turned inside out.
“A total of 10 designs were produced, including lanterns seeming to swallow parts of themselves, some triply nested, and some even reaching inward to peak through the other side,” Nendo said.
Instead of the thick washi paper normally used for the lanterns, the Hyouri collection is lined with translucent silk.
The lanterns were designed to be adaptable with the flexible bamboo joints allowing them to expand and contract.
“The final product is a light, multilayered lantern expressing the genes of the traditional Kyoto lantern as well as an aspect far from the latter’s unaffected solidness,” the studio said.
Nendo’s collection is on display at Life in Vogue’s “Enlightened graphic room”, where the virtual lanterns dangle from a timber structure.
“The digital space is based on the physical room for the Vogue editorial department’s graphic design team,” Nendo said. “The space was kept colourless so as to silhouette the Hyouri lanterns graphically, so to speak, enveloping them in the subdued light.”
Life in Vogue aims to create discussion and exchanges between the fashion and design industries and this year’s edition, “Love Letters to Milan,” also features designs by Anna Karlin, Luke Edward Hall, Vincent Darré, Marion Mailaender and Studiopepe.
“This digital version of the event allows visitors to overcome the limits of space and time imposed in previous editions by the Salone calendar, to experience exclusive contents and live events in a new and completely digital way on a virtual platform,” Vogue Italia said.
The lanterns will also be displayed at a Nendo exhibition in Japan next year. They are currently prototypes and will eventually be released in Nendo’s online store.
Other recent designs by the Japanese studio include paper soap dispensers that look like milk cartons and an overhaul of Japan Airlines’ in-flight amenities.
Photography is by Hiroshi Iwasaki.