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Milan Design Week 2018 ‘Shaping Beauty’

This year, Japanese design studio Sfera launch a new collection of products by the brand’s creative director, Shigeo Mashiro. The range includes exclusive containers in copper, ceramic and wood, and a side table with two corresponding seats. As always with Mashiro, tactile objects, natural materials and traditional craftsmanship are the starting points for the designs. The new products explore the designer’s vision for how nature, craft and interior accessories can communicate in a single expression. Each design is handmade by Japanese craftsmen to create a unique object. Practical, functional and utterly timeless, the new products showcase the beauty of natural materials as they add a craft signature to contemporary designs.


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Torques collection

The Torques collection is an expression of abstract shapes, natural forms and tactile materials. At first, Torques may appear to be a collection of functional items, but the series was conceived as an exploration of familiar shapes and intimate spaces. Each item explores the classic geometric shapes used to create architectural space and recreates them on a smaller scale. Light fills the spaces inside them, which also provide containers for flowers, greenery and other treasures from the natural world.

The collection is comprised of eight handcrafted ceramics and seven hammered metal designs made in brass, copper and aluminium. Two of the designs combine copper and brass, one design combines copper and aluminium and the remaining four are made exclusively in copper.

Designer: Shigeo Mashiro, Kyoto, Japan
Ceramicist: Taichi Abe, Shimane, Japan
Metalwork artist: Chikako Ueda, Kyoto, Japan


Luca series

Crafted in Japanese ash wood and enhanced with vertical strips of lustrous metal, the Luca series resembles minimalistic architecture more than interior accessories. These designs let the beauty of wood grain speak for itself, creating a rich visual texture that makes each surface unique. Open, upright, and characterised by subtle seams of copper and brass, the Luca series can complement contemporary interiors with accents of naturalistic design. Made in three different sizes, each design makes room for flowers and plants, or provides a holder for small objects.

The products in the series are made in three different sizes. Each is crafted from a solid block of wood carved to create a hollow core.

Designer: Shigeo Mashiro, Kyoto, Japan

Gravity and Grace side table and seating

This pair of seats and corresponding side table are an original concept that brings Minimalist style to any type of setting. The seats’ streamlined shapes and low-rise profiles give them a sleek appearance, while their generous proportions make them comfortable to sit on. All three designs are crafted with top surfaces made in birch or chestnut wood, and each is supported by smooth legs crafted from black magnolia. The seats are padded in smooth cowhide leather in a choice of patterns and colours. Whether placed alongside contemporary designs or paired with furniture from previous decades, Gravity and Grace will add low-key elegance to their surroundings.

The series includes two seats and a side table. The large seat is upholstered in natural cowhide and the smaller version is upholstered in black cowhide.

Designer: Shigeo Mashiro, Kyoto, Japan


Planter series

Designed by Shigeo Mashiro exclusively for Japanese horticultural expert Green Wise, this series of metal planters brings nature indoors. The right angles, parallel lines and subtle symmetries shaping the planters signal a new direction in Mashiro’s work, which typically explores organic shapes, spontaneous forms and curving lines. The planters are characterised by clean lines, sharp angles and crisp corners. Several can be grouped together to form a compelling display or create an attractive divider to separate space. The forms can nest into corners or wrap around interior walls to create a decorative feature. Their streamlined shapes and smooth surfaces suit any type of commercial interior, covered courtyard, shaded terrace or indoor urban setting.

The series consists of eight designs. Each design is available in two surface treatments: natural copper sheen, or grey-black weathered patina.

Designer: Shigeo Mashiro, Kyoto, Japan Handcrafted by artisans in Kyoto, Japan

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Exhibition details

‘Shaping Beauty’
Dates : Tuesday 17 – Sunday 22 April 2018
Venue : ‘Antichità San Marco’ via San Marco 26, 20121 Milano
Exhibition direction by Shigeo Mashiro (Sfera, creative director)
Co-exhibitors : Green Wise / The Plant

Photography: Valentina Sommariva

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