A piece of furniture aids in our everyday life. Traditional crafts and furniture have become obsolete since the Industrial Revolution due to the breakthrough of technology. This modern production minimises manufacturing costs and maximises time efficiency. However, the overwhelmingness of mass production has recently caused the degradations of both the maker’s skill and the taste of consumers as well as environmental deterioration. Arts and Crafts movements such as the Japanese Mingei were established to resurrect conventional craftsmen and to preserve vernacular heritages and handcrafted practices.
Maintaining the tradition of handcraft has become a challenge because of the requirement of time and labour intensiveness. Nowadays, young designers have been dictated by digital technologies (3D printers and CNC machines). This dictation has resulted in the lack of product’s authenticity and originality. In order to seek the balance between tradition and progression, we should look bake to the past to anticipate future. Consequently, it would be beneficial to recover the equilibrium between crafts and technology with the regard of locality and culture.
Japan has a rich combination of skilful craftsmen, conventional joineries and modern technologies. Hence, inspirations were drawn from attributes of Japanese product designs such as Sori Yanagi’s Butterfly Stool. This exotic reference is blended with the archetypal forms of the endemic Singaporean Stag Beetles (Dorcus Reichei). The resultant of the furniture design is intended to suggest a harmonious pace between traditional heirlooms and technological advances.
This project aims to invite viewers and users to appreciate the synchronisation between handmade and mechanical production. By synchronising the vitality of natural materials and conventional joineries with the rapid pace of modern technology, the power of opposing elements is proposed to reunite and elicit the spirit of place (native materials or species), people (handcraftsmanship) and product (inheritable quality and uniqueness).
James Sua - Beetle Stool, 2016,
made of teak & maple, dim 51 x 40.5 x 40.5 cm,
URECA (NTU) with Chalit Kongsuwan, © jsky21.com