SVA Made in Yame returns with its June 2019 opportunity to study traditional Japanese crafts in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan and have a contemporary product design produced and distributed by MoMA Wholesale. SVA Made in Yame accepts applications from all interested participants—not just SVA community members.
The group of visiting designers were welcomed by the craftsmen in a traditional ceremony at a Shinto shrine
In October 2018, program director and industrial designer Sinclair Smith lead a group of designers on a tour of the region's remarkable concentration of traditional crafts, food and history. Sigi Moeslinger and Masamichi Udagawa of Antennae Design, Alexandra Dymowska, lead designer for brand strategy at Cadillac Design, General Motors, Ian Collings, product designer, sculptor and co-founder of Fort Standard, and product designer Panisa Khunprasert (MFA 2016 Products of Design) visited 10 craft studios and sketched new product designs using those tools and techniques. Prototypes are in development for consideration by MoMA's team of buyers.
Ian Collings observes the process of straightening bamboo for traditional arrow making
"Meeting the craftsmen of Yame was a humbling experience. … All of them have accumulated a depth of knowledge about a material or process that allows them to produce exquisite artifacts," says Sigi Moeslinger. "This is in such contrast to our fast-paced, low-cost, throw-away culture and an inspiration to take the long view on whatever we design and make."
And anyone can apply to these programs regardless of any affiliation with the school. But now SVA has added product design to its roster with Made in Yame: Traditional Craft and Contemporary Design in Japan.
Sigi Moeslinger observes the tight tolerances of wood details for a Butsudan home altar
Made in Yame will take designers to Yame City in rural Japan to learn over a dozen traditional Japanese crafts and guide them through a design process toward a contemporary product using those traditional tools and techniques. We have seen similar programs in the past, but what sets this one apart is its partnership with MoMA Wholesale.
Alexandra Dymowska presents her final sketches of contemporary designs to the Yame craftsmen
"We're in our fourth year of partnering with MoMA Wholesale and so far they have licensed and manufactured a dozen or so of our students' designs," says SVA MFA in Products of Design faculty member and Made in Yame program coordinator, Sinclair Smith. "It's exciting to extend that partnership and opportunity to participants in Made in Yame."
Alexandra Dymowska tries her hand at painting flowers on a silk lantern
According to the website, prototypes will be flown from Japan to MoMA where buyers will have the option to license and produce the designs for global distribution. So you get to see Japan and its traditions and you might get your product produced by one of the most reputable names in contemporary design. Learn more about SVA Made in Yame and how to apply at madeinyame.sva.edu. Read the FAQ here.