In 2012, the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute (NTCRI), which has collaborated with such top talent as Konstantin Grcic, Nendo and Gijs Bakker, invited five designers from Sweden to experiment with lacquer. The 700-year-old resin, derived from tree sap, is prized in Asia for its decorative qualities, as well as its resistance to water, acid and high temperatures. Taiwan, an island situated at the geographical and cultural crossroads of China and Japan, and influenced by South East Asia and Polynesia, long ago innovated in this area by adding colour to the finish.
A New Layer, which opened this month at Östasiatiska, the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm, showcases the results of this two-year project between Taiwainese craftspeople and Sweden’s Gabriella Gustafson and Mattias Ståhlbom of the studio TAF, as well as Carina Seth Andersson, Matti Klenell and Stina Löfgren. The exhibition of approximately 35 pieces features a broad palette of materials, such as ceramics, wood, metal, fabric, pearl and stone, accompanied by lacquer work applied in various ways. The traditional yet contemporary works are functional and playful, with everyday items that range from bamboo baskets and shelving to clay tables and tea sets.
A New Layer runs until February 8 at Östasiatiska, the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, in Stockholm.