The exhibition presents the eco-friendly accomplishments in contemporary craftsmanship, and sheds light on the philosophy and implementation of eco design. Hope for bringing further discussions on the relationships of craft design, traditional culture and social economy.
Timing, terroir, material and skills create great works.
-Zhou li.Kao Gong Ji
Traditional designs focus on human needs, and work within customer requests and cost ranges. Green designs, on the other hand, prioritize ecological efficiency. Core values include Reuse, Reduce and Recycle. From materials, functions, structures, aesthetics, packaging, logistics, distribution, recycle, reuse, to disposal, the whole process aim to enhance compatibility between products and environment.
Material is the main component in every product, so it’s crucial to choose proper materials in craft production. Initially, humans produced objects with natural materials. They observed climates and seasonal patterns, followed lifecycles, and sourced materials in appropriate time and quantity, in order to coexist well with nature. Craft productions mostly choose natural materials. These products return to nature at disposal. Compared to artificial materials, such as plastics and chemical fibers, they consume less power and create fewer impacts to users during production and usage.
This section presents developments and applications with nature-friendly materials in craft design. Creators adapt to natural lifecycles, understand material qualities, and aspire to green, balanced and sustainable practices. Reputed as “new green energy”, bamboos grow to their heights in one year, and can be used within three to five years. Regenerating faster in nature, it’s strong, pliable and usable as whole. Taiwan designers and creaters such as Chou Yu-Jui, Chiu Chin-Tuan, Lin Chun-Han and Gridesign Studio all choose bamboo in their design works. Aboriginals in Taiwan also use lightweight and strong sheath from betel trees in products. Other materials in this section include rush (soft, flexible, absorbent, fragrant), shell ginger (soft, insulating, ventilating, humidity tolerant), rattan, shell, driftwood, palm leaves, recycled wood, coconut, bark, cotton fabrics, silk, recycled paper dust, among others. They are used to produce furniture and in-house decorations.
Knowledgable people create objects. Great people describe them and keep them alive. All different works are done by wise men. They smelt metals into tools, mold clay into vessels, build carts for roads, and build boats for waterways. These are all done by wise men.
-Zhou li.Kao Gong Ji
Besides materials, product forms, functions and usage are also influenced by production techniques. These methods transform materials into objects. When we follow natural rhythms, take advantage of the best qualities in each material, and produce objects in the most energy-effective way, we not only reduce resource consumption on earth, but also inherit wisdom from ancestors.
Traditional craft developments are closely connected with local cultures and folk traditions. Wisdoms and experiences are passed on over generations. Productions are mostly handworks and labor-intensive. Products offer convenience, aesthetics, cultural images and values. These techniques are also suitable for modern societies to minimize carbon footprints. Many designers worldwide now adopt local crafts and traditional techniques, and integrate traditional cultures and aesthetics into new designs. These efforts create modern, practical, cultural and valuable crafts.
Lilianna Manahan uses traditional wooden hand-driven weaving machines in northern Philippines to produce thick fabrics for stools with colorful and geometric patterns. It reminds people about traditions. Chen Shu-Yen and tribal artist Tuwak·Tuyaw use mixed media, including bamboo, rattan, bark, plant dye, and the technique of making fish traps from Kavalan people in eastern Taiwan to create works. "Banquet Series" transforms tables and chairs in Taiwanese traditional banquets. Folding feature and ancestral spirits are kept to create contemporary furniture with collective cultural memories. Wrap Art & Design designer Gunjan Gupta appropriates dhobi or washerman image common on Indian streets into visual elements, and uses Indian fabrics to produce Potli Chair. Cushion on the back demonstrates traditional crafts and local cultures.
The Earth does not belong to us. We belong to the Earth.
- Marlee Matlin
Since industrial revolution, we have gone through mechanization and electrification. We have enjoyed technologies and their benefits over the years, but we've also started to experience deteriorating environments and natural disasters. Besides cultural aesthetics and user engagements, new designs also need to take sustainable development into consideration, and exercise social, moral and ethical responsibilities and values.
Contemporary craft designs adopt local materials, inherit craft techniques, and sustain traditional cultures. These works underline close connections among craft designers, society, industry and economies. Taiwanese designers collaborate with experienced tribal craftsmen, and produce handmade Kamaro'an series with umbrella plants. This series increases local job opportunities, and encourages younger generations to return. It invites everyone to understand tribal crafts and culture in lifestyle. Design brand PATAPiAN hires traditional craftsmen in Thailand with reasonable wages, and creates income sources for communities. In return, these craftsmen can stay in their hometowns to inherit cultures and techniques. Grown in fishing villages in Thailand, Korakot Aromdee creates Polka Dot Bamboo Love Seat. It utilizes kite production techniques from his grandfather, and traditional fishnet weaving methods. He teaches young local craftsmen to generate more job opportunities, and passes on grandfather's skills. He also discovers new inspirations from interaction. Most importantly, he facilitates sustainable development in Thai traditional crafts.
Going Green-Trends exhibits environment-friendly trends in craft design. Many designers and producers are increasingly aware of environmental issues. We look forward how ethical consumers will respond.