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Native & Co Combine Craft and Design to Promote Japanese and Taiwanese Culture

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Native & Co Combine Craft and Design to Promote Japanese and Taiwanese Culture Native & Co Combine Craft and Design to Promote Japanese and Taiwanese Culture

Native & Co Combine Craft and Design to Promote Japanese and Taiwanese Culture

In our series profiling designers based in the UK and Europe, we talk to London-based designers and curators Native & Co.

In the second of our new monthly series, profiling designers based in the UK and Europe, our Editor at Large Katie Treggiden talks to London-based designers and curators Native & Co.

British-Japanese Chris Yoshiro Green and Taiwan-born Sharon Jo-Yun Hung met while studying on the art foundation course at London?s Chelsea College of Art. They both went on to study product design at Central Saint Martins and bonded over their shared love of cultural projects that were perhaps more conceptual than commercial ? Sharon?s graduate project focused on the social identity of Taiwan?s indigenous tribes, while Chris explored the rituals of Japanese funeral ceremonies. ?Looking back, I think our tutors noticed that we were a team, but were a bit perplexed by our ideas,? laughs Sharon.

As products of a course that, at that time at least, was more focused on training designers for industry, their path since graduation hasn?t been typical either. They divide their time between designing and sourcing homeware made by craftspeople in Japan and Taiwan for their Notting Hill shop Native & Co and collaborating with governmental bodies in Taiwan and Japan to promote their respective cultures, cultivating the ?soft power? of the two nations through craft. ?We are product designers who focus on Japanese and Taiwanese tableware,? explains Chris. ?Our key drive is the origin of things and keeping craft alive through good design.?
Chris, whose mother is Japanese, was born in London, and grew up in Paris. ?Although I see the UK as my home, not being raised in Japan has disengaged me from my mothers’ ancestry, which is one of my callings for Native & Co,? he says. ?Being half-Japanese has its advantages, I can see Japanese culture with fresh eyes, but with a deeper understanding. I’m not overly bound by Japanese values, so it is easier for me to reinterpret them.?

Despite growing up in Taiwan, Sharon feels she has lived in the UK for long enough to gain the same fresh perspective on her own culture. ?Although I don?t come from a mixed background like Chris, I?ve spent enough time outside Taiwan to observe it with the eyes of an outsider,? she says. ?Taiwan has great potential but lacks a consistent image. In the past, it has been described as the ‘melting pot of Asia,? and historically this is quite accurate, but with Taiwan’s complex political status, it creates an unclear cultural message. One of our aims is to develop a stronger soft power for Taiwan through design.?

Using the phrase “subtle design, made with purity” to describe the products they design and source to sell in their shop, Chris and Sharon have developed a trademark aesthetic that is understated and restrained in a way that?s true to their Japanese and Taiwanese roots, whilst also capturing a certain zeitge...

Source of news: Design Milk
Source of publication: 15-06-2017 16:08
visto: 29

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