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Brief Published: 27 Nov 2014

A New Layer: Updating Lacquerwork

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A New Layer at Östasiatiska, the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities

A new exhibition at Östasiatiska, the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm, showcases a range of contemporary objects made with traditional lacquerwork techniques from East Asia.

Five Swedish designers worked in collaboration with Taiwanese artisans to produce the items in the exhibition, which vary from furniture to tableware. Each design features lacquerwork, although this technique is mixed with a wide range of materials including ceramics, metal, wood and pearl.

The products on show are prototypes and include a grid shelving unit made from lacquered bamboo, white lacquered vessels with oversized bamboo handles, and a black mirror made from ultra-polished lacquer. As previously seen in Swedish furniture giant Ikea's Chinese-inspired collection, the designs merge Scandinavian and Asian design influences for a youthful range that, while unusual, has elements of the familiar.

As identified in Ancient Inspires Modern, designers are looking back to heritage craftsmanship for inspiration. This is seen particularly in the growing Asian design scene as the region's profile is raised through increased international attention, and the emergence of a new aesthetic that embraces yet updates traditional designs and techniques for a modern market. See Chinese Design: A Fresh Blend for more insight.

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