With the aim of launching TAJIMI CUSTOM TILES in Europe, we initiated a collaboration with designers Kwangho Lee (KR) and Max Lamb (UK) for the creation of two experimental installations to be presented at Milan Design Week 2020.
For this project, Kwangho was inspired by one of the typical production methods in Tajimi – the clay extrusion. He created a module with a section in the form of a looped line, that can be extruded in different lengths in order to assume different functions. The modules can be stacked horizontally or vertically to form various basic objects, like walls or benches. When the modules are aligned, the repeated loop with its almost hand-drawn quality, creates patterns reminiscent of knitted fabric. “Knitting” has been an important theme in Lee’s work, which he often used in different materials and on diverse scales. With tiles, this creates references to the varying states of clay, from very soft in the making to very hard in the finished piece.
Kwangho Lee (born, 1981) completed his studies in Metal Art & Design in 2007, before establishing his own design studio in Seoul. Since childhood, Kwangho greatly enjoyed making things by hand - a passion he inherited from his grandfather, a farmer, who crafted daily household goods from natural materials found nearby. This experience formed Kwangho’s perspective and way of working. Always trying to discover, revise and reinterpret the ordinary to give new meaning and function to everyday objects, with a particular interest in the physicality of materials and the joints uniting them. He works with artificial as well as natural materials, such as styrofoam, PVC, marble, copper, enamel, steel and ceramic clay. He was nominated for Jury's Selection of Designer at the Future at Design Miami/Basel, 2009, and was selected as Artist of The Year in 2011 by the Korean Ministry of Culture, also Young Craftsperson of The Year by Yeol-a Society for Korean Cultural Heritage, 2013. His works has been shown at Commissaires, Johnson Trading Gallery, Victor Hunt, Karena Schuessler, Clear Gallery & Edition and Gallery Seomi, along with group projects and international exhibitions such as Design Miami/Basel, and Design Days Dubai. His work is in the permanent collection of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, while a number of features of his work have been released in major design publications worldwide.
With this project, Max intends to showcase what makes Tajimi the unique manufacturing location and that TCT hopes to realise. He designed a set of modular, 3-dimensional tiles that can create countless shapes, with objects assuming functions from vases, to sofas, tables, benches or partition walls. He uses typical clays with characteristic earthy materiality, and special glazes with ambiguous colours derived from classic Japanese tiles. His production method is local pressure moulding which allows highly-precise 3-dimensional shapes and patterns.
A modern-day craftsperson, Max Lamb is a furniture designer with a design sensibility informed by extensive knowledge of manufacturing techniques, respect for materials and skills as a maker. A native of Cornwall, Max has been tinkering with objects and engaging with the physical landscapes since he was a small boy. After earning a degree in three-dimensional design from Northumbria University in 2003, he went on to obtain a Master's degree in product design from the Royal College of Art. By 2008 he had started his own practice. Max explores both traditional and unconventional materials and processes, blending experimentation and rationale to create furniture and products that are both honest and intelligible. His work has earned him the Hettich International Design Award (2004) and the Peter Walker Award for Innovation in Furniture Design (2003), as well as collaborations with companies such as Deadgood and Sight Unseen. Max’s designs are exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide, such as the Design Museum and Gallery FUMI in London, the Johnson Trading Gallery in New York, the Wolfsonian Museum in Miami, and the Melbourne, Australia-based Broached Commissions. Max teaches Design Products at the Royal College of Art and runs regular design workshops for companies and institutions around the world.