New Japanese furniture brand Ariake presents first range inside crumbling Stockholm embassy
A dilapidated building, once used an embassy for Mexico, was the venue where new Japanese furniture producer Ariake showcased its inaugural collection during Stockholm Design Week 2018.
The exhibition, called A Quiet Reflection, was the brand's first show outside of Asia, following its launch at the IFFT trade show in Tokyo last November.
The building, which dates back to 1896, has mainly served as a home. However, in its latest incarnation it functioned as an embassy for Mexico.
Now with raw plaster walls and crumbling brickwork, the building is being turned back into a home.
In the middle of this transition, the empty space served as a backdrop for Ariake's furniture pieces, which were created during an intensive design workshop that took place in the small town of Morodomi in southern Japan in the autumn of 2017.
Organised by Singapore-based designer Gabriel Tan, the week-long workshop included Norm Architects from Denmark, Anderssen & Voll from Norway, Staffan Holm from Sweden, Keji Ashizawa and Shin Azumi from Japan, AnnerPerrin from Switzerland and Zoe Mowat from Canada.
Anderssen & Voll created a set of solid wood occasional tables and a dining table with circular table tops, as well as a chair and stool collection with oversized seats.
Keiji Ashiwaza's Sagoyo bench, desk and table can be divided into separate parts and shipped flat. Meanwhile the studio's Kadai trestle table can be paired with different types of top.
Shin Azumi made a sculptural wooden coat stand and Staffan Hom produced a chair, stool, two tables and a cabinet inspired by the traditional Japanese privacy screens used in restaurants.
Norm Architects produced a sofa with armrests made from braided paper cord, inspired by patterns found in classic bamboo constructions, and a chair inspired by an outline drawing.
Gabriel Tan made a versatile chair with a seat that can be made from machine-washable fabric, woven canvas, leather strap or paper cord. He also designed a chest for storing jewellery, a sideboard and media console inspired by traditional Japanese houses, a series of shelving units and a Shoji screen with hinges made from elastic canvas straps.
Canadian designer Zoe Mowat's Aiizome storage cabinet was painted using sumi ink, red dye and two shades of Japanese indigo, to create a Japanese colour palette, while her split mirror features a frame made up of two wooden halves.
Mowat said of the week-long workshop: "For me, the quieter moments of the workshop were just as significant as the active ones in the factory or at the conference table."
"My designs came out of those moments of observation and reflection, and I feel that we were able to translate a bit of the spirit of our surroundings and our time together in Saga – the sunsets, the wonderful food, the people we met, to the end result."
Ariake was founded by Legnatec and Hirata Chair, two factories from the furniture town of Morodomi in Japan's Saga Prefecture.
Named after the Ariake Sea in southern Japan, Ariake means "morning moon", or daybreak in Japanese. It was chosen to symbolise a new chapter for the two factories.
The show was curated by My Residence, a "bookazine" on interiors, with set design by Annaleena Interiors.
It also featured products by lighting manufacturer Wästberg, as well as pieces by a number of hand-picked Scandinavian artists, designers and galleries.
These included Studio Matti Carlson, Dry Studio, Nick Ross, Anton Alvarez, Jenny Nordberg, Emma Bernhardt, Frama, Ann Ringstrand, Perspective Studio, Arno Declercq, Erik Nordenhake and Alyssia Belloso, Berg Gallery and Christian Larsen Gallery.
Stockholm Design Week took place in the Swedish capital from 5 to 11 Feb 2018. Other popular exhibitions from the event included a showcase of furniture from new Norwegian brand Northern and a theatrical performance in the former home of Abba's manager.