Cultured Magazine

Fall 2013

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Page 121 of 123

SAMPLING CERAMICS Nendo is the latest design practice to raid a historical archive. PHOTO BY AKIHIRO YOSHIDA BY DAVID SOKOL Ten years ago, acclaimed Dutch talent Hella Jongerius rummaged through Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg, choosing five animal figurines from the 1747 company's archive to redeploy as new dinnerware, Animal Bowls. A pairing of phenom and legend is happening again, this time in Japan. The design studio is Nendo, the 260-year-old ceramics company is Saga Prefecture's Gen-emon and the results are Umeplay and Karakusa-play. To make the new collections, Nendo borrowed Gen-emon's famous plum-blossom pattern ume komon and the traditional foliage scrollwork kara-kusa-e and updated them for contemporary consumption. Flowers and leaves were supersized, deconstructed, reconfigured, layered and otherwise rendered unrecognizable—were it not for the blue-and-white underglaze that bridges past and present ceramics. Will this case of transcontinental déjà vu fire up consumers and design aficionados once again? The Japanese retailer Seibu started finding out in late October, when it rolled out Ume-play and Karakusa-play to its 16 department stores. 120 CULTURED

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