Born in Japan and raised in India, Bijin Davis completed her undergraduate diploma from Srishti Manipal Institute of Art, Design and Technology in 2015 and worked as a furniture designer for a few years before moving to Tokyo to study interior design at Musashino Art University. Her work includes minimalist-inspired furniture and lighting resulting from explorations of light, water, shadows, and natural phenomena. ‘We engage with furniture or products in the space the most apart from people, so how do we make it more interesting? Just envision the possibilities,’ she says.
‘For a Fleeting Moment’ mobile shelves by Bijin Davis
Davis’ graduate project, a series of ‘mobile shelves’, is the result of her desire to ‘create products with a sensorial or emotional experience, and not just static works’. She adds: ‘The experience and joy from interacting with products become the function of it, along with its given function.’
Her white bookcase (opens in new tab)’s minimalist design is brought to life through interaction between the elements, each shelf featuring a patch of neon pink or yellow at one edge, reflected on the surface below. This concept references what Bijin calls ‘the cultural desire for interaction’, as the project, she explains, was created as a result of life in isolation. “‘For a Fleeting Moment” tells the story of what life is like in isolation, but how it looks brighter in good company,’ says Davis.
The shelves are made of aluminium composite board and pipes and the manufacturing process includes welding, waterjet cutting and spray painting to achieve the distinctive neon hues. The vivid colours give the illusion of each shelf being fitted with light, but the resulting bright shadows come from reflection alone.
Bijin fitted the shelves with ball casters, to help the user push the product around easily. She wanted to make the user feel surprised by the gliding movement.
India to Japan: creating between cultures
Growing up between India and Japan definitely had an impact on Davis' approach to design, but it didn't immediately strike her as an opportunity. ‘Being brought up between my Indian father and Japanese mother in India definitely had me confused when I was young, I felt like I could not fit in perfectly. I saw myself as half of two cultures, never a whole,' she explains. ‘But my mother once told me, “You're not half, you’re double”. And that struck a chord with me.'
Working in design gave Davis the chance to explore both cultures and approaches to life and aesthetics through her work. ‘Growing up in India, it was a world full of colour and elaborate design: it influenced me to like shiny things, colourful prints, patterns, and handcrafted products,’ she notes. ‘In Japan, it was a world of simplicity and innovative designs: it made me pay attention to small details and prioritise the material and technique of the craft, exploring new materials or using familiar materials innovatively.’
Davis’ work bears signs of this duality, with hints of colour and attention to the craft aspect of her pieces. ‘I’ve learned the value of collectivism from India and innovativeness from Japan, which helped me find a balance to create “For a Fleeting Moment”.’
Dream collaborators: Sabine Marcelis, Nendo, We+, Raw-Edges, Nada Debs, Studio Olafur Eliasson, Hem, Ambientec, Hiroomi Tahara. Lastly, my amazing mentors Yamanaka Kazuhiro (Yamanaka Kazuhiro office) and Ito Shinichi.
Our Next Generation showcase of outstanding new talents appears in the January 2022 issue of Wallpaper* (W*273). Subscribe today (opens in new tab)!
Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.
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