KYOTO Design Lab Series II: Exploring Tango Chirimen – Surface

KYOTO Design Lab シリーズ:丹後ちりめん – 表面

Kangan Arora WIP 5 1000x543

As part of the series of events held in collaboration with KYOTO Design Lab (D-lab), an incubator for innovation in the fields of architecture and design founded by Kyoto Institute of Technology, Japan House London continues to delve into the contemporary take on chirimen, a type of silk crêpe made of flat-woven silk originating in the northernmost region of Kyoto Prefecture known as Tango.

The second event focussing on ‘Surface’ hosts textile designers Okamoto Shioka in Japan and Kangan Arora in London to present their innovative projects investigating the possibilities offered by chirimen as a printing surface. Okamoto’s work Sensory Pleasure proposes an alternative way of processing the plain fabric into a three-dimensional surface, while Arora’s Deconstructed Geometry is a response to the Chirimen archive at the Textile Research Centre in Kyōtango and Japanese colour as illustrated in the Dictionary of Colour Combinations by artist and costume designer Wada Sanzō, who helped establish the Japan Standard Colour Association in the early 1920s.

Both artists were featured in the exhibition Alternative Futures - contemporary design responses to the Tango chirimen tradition held from October to February 2021 in Tokyo, Kyoto and Kyōtango itself and they will be joined in conversation by Julia Cassim, Professor at KYOTO Design Lab, Kyoto Institute of Technology, and curator of the Alternative Futures exhibition.

There is an opportunity for registered guests to ask questions to the speakers during this live, online event.

This series complements our latest exhibition MAKING NUNO Japanese Textile Innovation from Sudō Reiko and the Tango chirimen display in The Shop on the Ground Floor at Japan House London.

About KYOTO Design Lab

KYOTO Design Lab (D-lab) is a platform for collaborations, founded by Kyoto Institute of Technology as a cross-disciplinary education and research base in the fields of architecture and design.

About the Speakers
Okamoto Shioka

Okamoto Shioka is a textile designer. She completed an MA in Textile design at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2016, received her Graduate Diploma for Interior design at Chelsea College of Arts in 2014 and a Bachelor of Arts from Tama Art University in Tokyo. Her main research topic is textile design in spatial context, working on printing and dyeing textiles. She started taking part in exhibitions in 2000s and has been showing works internationally since then. In her latest solo exhibition ‘Process: play with the site’ (2020, Okayama Cultural Center in Japan), she proposed a series of textile designs inspired by existing modernist architecture with the support of a grant from Wesco Foundation. Her sustainable textile design ‘Sensory Pleasure’ (supported by the silk weaving mill Usui Orimono) has won the Red Dot Award Design Concept 2020, and has been showcased at Red Dot Museum in Singapore. The work has been featured in the touring exhibition ‘Alternative Futures’ from 2020 to 2021. She started her academic career in 2017, and is currently working full-time as Assistant Professor at Okayama Prefectural University teaching textile design.

Kangan Arora

Kangan Arora is a textile designer specialising in print and pattern. Born in India and now based in London, her work explores bold colour, geometry, abstraction, and playful pattern application with a specific interest in a variety of colour languages and processes.

With a signature style that takes assimilated shapes and unexpected juxtapositions, she brings them to life through screen-printing, weave, digital applications, large scale installations and a range of other mediums. She has collaborated on projects with the likes of IKEA, Heal's and Floor_Story across a range of products including soft furnishings, rugs, acoustic panels and more. Kangan trained at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design where she is currently a Lecturer in Textile and Jewellery Design.

About the Chair
Julia Cassim, Professor, Kyoto Design Lab, Kyoto Institute of Technology

Julia studied Fine Art in the UK and Japan and is an international authority on inclusive design. As arts columnist of The Japan Times from 1984-99, she curated and designed award-winning exhibitions for audiences with visual impairments founding a non-profit organisation to increasing cognitive and physical access to museum collections.

In 2000, she initiated the pioneering Challenge Workshops programme at the Royal College of Art which brought professional designers with disabled and older people in an inclusive co-design process. It was the subject of an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2010.

In 2014, she became Professor at the Kyoto Institute of Technology, charged with setting up KYOTO Design Lab, as a centre for interdisciplinary design and innovation. Julia was included in Design Week’s Hot 50 list of people who had most influenced the design world in 2010.