Jo Nagasaka’s ColoRing meets Artek classics

Jo Nagasaka’s ColoRing meets Artek classics

Stool 60 ColoRing Detail, red/turqouise_F

Launched on the occasion of the centennial of diplomatic relations between Finland and Japan, Jo Nagasaka’s collaboration with Artek is only the latest in the architect and designer’s series of experimentations.

The founder of Tokyo-based multi-disciplinary firm Schemata Architects, Nagasaka’s projects span architecture, large-scale installations, interactive interior environments and furniture design. ColoRing came to life in a workshop that investigated the age-old practices of Udukuri and Tsugaru-nuri, two Japanese traditional crafts.

ColoRing is the result of extensive experimenentation in combining traditional practices with modern design.
Photo: Schemata Achitects

Arriving at the finished process required experimentation. Nagasaka first visited a painting firm near his office where he was given some left-over water-based paint. Then, he tried to make a prototype, seeking a way to combine the traditional practices with modern design.

To create ColoRing, soft-grained pinewood is used as surface veneer. Nagasaka describes how he creates an uneven wood surface by removing softer parts with a hard-haired brush, accentuating the natural grain of the wood (Udukuri). Two layers of coloured lacquer are then added, only to be subsequently sanded away to partially unveil the layers beneath (Tsugaru-nuri). The results are striking, juxtaposing intriguing colour combinations with the natural beauty of the wood in unique patterns.

Early ColoRing prototypes by Jo Nagasaka.
Photo: Schemata Achitects

It is this ColoRing treatment that is applied to Artek classics Stool 60, Bench 153B and Tea Trolley 901 and forms Nagasaka’s contribution to the FIN/JPN Friendship Collection. Using Artek’s production expertise, Nagasaka’s fully-manual techniques were translated into a semi-industrial process, allowing the collection to be brought to a wider audience. The designer says, “I have learned so much about Finland from working on this project. We can learn a lucid way of thinking from them.”

Asked to comment on the secret of the unique relationship between Japan and Finland, Nagasaka says, “We both have a gentle character. We love nature, wood, and traditional things and these are closely related to our daily life. I guess we have common sensibility about the value of nature and tradition.

TEA TROLLEY 901 ColoRing_close_up_2

Artek products available in ColoRing