Japanese glass artist Baku Takahashi teams up with Trueing to create colourful lamp designs

Switched-on lighting and uplifting objects from New York studio Trueing and Japanese glass artist Baku Takahashi

Lighting design by Baku Takahashi and Trueing
Howdy, Neighbor is a collaboration between New York's Trueing Studio and Japanese glass artist Baku Takahashi. The ‘Little World’ chandelier, pictured, is ‘a reference to the impetus for Takahashi’s shapely sculptures – soft, otherworldly forms that populate the landscape of his imagination’, say Trueing’s team
(Image credit: Lauren Coleman)

When the founders of the New York (opens in new tab) lighting studio Trueing visited Japan (opens in new tab) back in 2016, they stumbled upon an unexpected source of inspiration, spotting and falling for the sculptures of the glass artist Baku Takahashi. However, language barriers prevented Joshua Metersky and Aidan Bowman from uncovering Takahashi’s identity then and there. It was only back in the United States (and after a couple months of Instagram and internet research) that they managed to locate Takahashi. When they planned their next trip to Japan a couple of years later, they decided to get in touch.

‘We decided to reach out ahead of time, over a cold email, to see if Baku might be interested in discussing some kind of collaboration,’ Bowman recalls. ‘He responded positively and we made plans to visit him in Munakata, which is just a bit north of Fukuoka on Kyushu in southern Japan. Everything coalesced from there. We traded prototypes back and forth, discussed technical details and produced test pieces to make sure our concept would work.’

Glass design by Baku Takahashi and Trueing

A detail of the playful glass shapes created by Takahashi for his collaboration with Trueing Studio

(Image credit: Lauren Coleman)

Following a year and a half of long-distance collaboration, ‘Howdy, Neighbor' is a new collection of lighting (opens in new tab) and objects that showcases the talents of both parties. An exploration into the many capabilities of glass, yet composed with a sense of humour and intimacy that subverts the medium, the collection is a humanistic array of editioned pieces, ranging from chandeliers to pendants and vases, that exude a bright and playful optimism – ideal for these times.

Colour plays a strong role in the collection, with both sides being highly specific with their choices. Metersky says, ‘Colour really links our two practices, and our reference points – while culturally different – are rooted in the same stylistic notions. Baku often cites manga culture (specifically Dragon Ball) and nature as sources of early inspiration. And I would say ours come out of similar or concurrent cultural waves, shaped by our own experiences. It’s not uncommon that we’d reference something like the bright, acidic hues of the early iMac, or the palette of vintage glass from the 1930s. So while we don’t share a language, there is this common desire to utilise colour vis-a-vis glass to tell a story and delight the viewer.’

Glass design by Baku Takahashi and Trueing

The glass details created by Takahashi for the ’Howdy’ floor lamp

(Image credit: Lauren Coleman)

Takahashi’s tactile, exquisitely proportioned forms are fused onto Trueing’s signature designs to bring out a new character from within. Takahashi fabricated his sculptures in his Munakata workshop, before shipping them to Trueing Studio in Long Island City in Queens, where the pieces were completed. United in the goal to create what Takahashi describes as something that is ‘fresh’ and previously unseen, the joint effort is as much about duality as it celebrates commonality.

‘Even though we both practise in glass, Baku's sculptures are rooted in the tradition of glass art, with clear evidence of the artist's tools and craft latent in the works,’ says Metersky. ‘Trueing's pieces originate from technical glasswork – adjacent, but different – and appear very perfect without giving up any indication of how they were made. However, the meeting point lies in the details. Glass is an incredibly technical medium and as Howdy, Neighbor came to life, it was clear that melding the works as a visual portmanteau would honour each of our backgrounds.’

Lighting design by Baku Takahashi and Trueing

The ‘Hare’ chandelier, part of the lighting collection by Baku Takahashi and Trueing Studio. Featuring a composition of brass with sculpted, lathed and blown glass, the piece is a study in colour and form inspired by Japanese manga culture and natural shapes. The glass sculptures, the designers explain, ‘resemble stylised rabbit ears, ready to hop off into the distance’

(Image credit: Lauren Coleman)

Lighting design by Baku Takahashi and Trueing

Titled ‘Looking Glass’, this pair of hanging lamps are defined by the contrast between clear glass and rough textures

(Image credit: Lauren Coleman)

Vase by Baku Takahashi and Trueing

The collection also includes a series of sculptural vases, featuring glass and brass shapes. Each vase, the designers note, ‘is an expression of the precise, yet joyful aesthetic shared between Trueing and Takahashi – forms and colours melding to create succinct motifs on a theme’

(Image credit: Lauren Coleman)

Lighting design by Baku Takahashi and Trueing

The playful ‘Totem’ table Lamp (available in an edition of two), features a composition of colourful forms typical of Takahashi's work 

(Image credit: Lauren Coleman)

Lighting design by Baku Takahashi and Trueing

‘Howdy’ floor lamp (bottom) and ‘Puff’ chandelier, both unique pieces from the lighting collection by Baku Takahashi and Trueing Studio

(Image credit: Lauren Coleman)

INFORMATION

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Pei-Ru Keh is the US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru has held various titles at Wallpaper* since she joined in 2007. She currently reports on design, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru has taken a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars and actively seeks out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.

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