Eastern promise: a timeline of Japanese design on show at Manchester Art Gallery
In the first exhibition since its reopening, Manchester Art Gallery’s newly restored Design Gallery has been filled with over a hundred pieces of modern Japanese costume, furniture and crafts collections. Formerly a 19th century Athenaeum theatre space, the Grade II listed building is currently playing host to over 100 pieces by 32 designers drawn from the gallery’s own sizeable collections.
The pieces, which span fashion, furniture, lighting, ceramics, glass, metalwork and jewellery serve as an overview of the past 50 years of Japanese design as well as an insight into the influence of Buddhism on Japanese aesthetic principles such as minimalism, deconstruction and wabi-sabi.
Highlights include two dramatic head pieces crafted by recent Royal College of Art graduate Maiko Takeda, who has previously created headdresses for Björk’s Biophilia tour and now works for Issey Miyake in Japan; fashion by Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto; furniture and lighting by Masanori Umeda and Shiro Kuramata; and crafts by Takahiro Yede and Yasuko Sakura. As well as the work of Japanese designers, the showcase also looks further afield with the inclusion of works by leading UK artists and makers such as star ceramicist Edmund de Waal.