The Sebastian Conran x Gifu collection proves that a marriage of differences often breeds beauty. Since the 1980s, the London-based Conran has produced sleek, modern designs celebrated for their mechanical innovation. The work of Gifu’s craftsmen, on the other hand, is steeped in tradition; for more than a millennium, artisans from the Japanese city have handcrafted designs reflecting traditional values and timeless aesthetics. This year’s Maison et Objet show saw the debut from this unlikely collaboration, and the display proved to be as enthralling as it was surprising.

Lighting, by Ozeki

The project began two years ago, when Sebastian Conran's studio joined ten specialist artisans based in Gifu to create more than 50 new household items. The end result is a collection that includes lighting, ceramics, stationery and kitchen tools made from classic Japanese materials like cypress wood, porcelain and handmade paper. Items like the Kai cutlery use ancient swordsmithing techniques to design stainless-steel scissor blades and cheese graters that would look sharp in any modern kitchen. Similarly, Kaneko Kohyo ceramics evoke the delicate look of paper lanterns while maintaining their function as durable pitchers and nut bowls.

Scissors and cheese graters, by Kai

Each item in the Gifu collection evidences a striking mix of old and new, East and West, orthodox and unconventional. The traditional methods of Gifu’s craftsmen, combined with Conran’s contemporary edge, have created a remarkable new collection that is sure to please with its timeless look, and satisfy with its everyday utility.

RELATED TOPICS: PRODUCT DESIGN, MAISON ET OBJET