Matthew Hilton Studio

Washi Paper in Gifu

Heals approached us with a project to help promote crafts in the Gifu province of Japan. The area is famous for beautiful hand made paper, it is where Isamu Noguchi developed his famous Akari lampshades.

In July 2018 we visited the factory that would be producing the lanterns to learn more about this centuries-old process.
As with every product we design we needed to understand the intricacies and limitations of the production methods and meet the people who would be hand-producing the lanterns.

The concept of glowing form inside another shape was key to this project and represented some challenges which were welcomed by the crafts people.

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Trials with different papers to investigate light effects.

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Workshops in Gifu have been producing paper shades for centuries.

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The shades are made on collapsing formers.

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A prototype of the shade.

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Renders of the final designs.

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The finished shades in Heal's, Tottenham Court Road.