MDW 2022
"Life Cycle – A sustainable and regenerative future"
Event | Exhibition | Milan, Italy | 6 - 12 June 2022

On the occasion of Milano Design Week 2022, Green Wise proposes an exhibition which declines the theme of Life Cycle on various dimensions: the life cycle of flowers and plants, the new collection of products, and its business in general with its path towards a model of sustainable and regenerative business.

 

It is not a widespread notion that many of the flowers and greenery distributed worldwide are grown using chemical-based pesticides and fertilisers, causing environmental pollution of soil and water quality and human health hazards. That is because we, as consumers, demand flawless flowers and plants all year round and a garden without a single pest. And to meet such consumer demands, these products are chemically treated at all stages, from production to when they reach the shop shelves. Which also raises concerns about the consumer’s exposure to pesticide residues.

We hope that if people could appreciate the beauty of the plants’ entire life cycle, sprouting – budding – blooming – fruiting – wilting – withering, that would lead to less environmental pollution and health hazards than is currently the case.

We at Green Wise advocate an environmentally symbiotic way of living aligned with nature’s life cycle, calling it Slow Green.

As a first step, we are trying to provide traceability and evidence about where and how the plants we use are cultivated and transported. And about where and how products are sourced, processed and delivered.

To take responsibility not only for ourselves but also for our stakeholders (including not only people and society but also the natural environment, such as insects, plants and weather), we are involved in, and we guarantee, the whole business lifecycle: from production to planning, design, construction, management, operation and regeneration. One example is the introduction of IPM – Integrated Pest Management. And also, we have acquired international environmental certifications (SITES, LEED) to obtain objective evaluations.

Hereafter, we aim to build a business model that leads to the upcycling and reuse of services provided to customers and have started working on creating life cycle assessments that lead to environmental recovery.

We believe that, in the future, it will become more important for society to establish autonomous ‘life cycles’ based on community and face-to-face partners that can be managed and adjusted responsibly by ourselves.

Green Wise wants to connect with as many people as possible to realise this environmentally regenerative society.

We hope that together with you, we can reflect on what the most significant life cycle is.

 

※SITES (The Sustainable SITES Initiative) is an environmental certification that comprehensively assesses the sustainability of landscapes, certified by Green Business Certification Inc (GBCI) in the USA.

※LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) is an environmental certification that assesses the environmental performance of buildings and cities, also certified by GBCI in the USA.

The project expresses the sensitivity and attention of the company towards environmental issues through a collection of collaborations with artists and designers of Japanese origin who work with natural raw materials and artisanal methods.

Green Wise proposes a new showroom layout with a site-specific choral installation made of floral compositions, vases and other pieces made with organic materials and techniques of high Japanese craftsmanship.

Photo | Elisa Biagi

01.

Small flower arrangements sit side by side on longline vases of marble and wood: each one describes a phase of the transformations that the flower goes through during its life. From bud to withering, delicate architectures of stems represent all stages of their life cycle.

Made of wood and marble, respectively, in Japan and Italy, these two vases designed by Tsukasa Goto are also representative of the path of Green Wise, which connects Tokyo and Milan through the two locations of its activity.

Tsukasa Goto
Artist, visual designer and furniture designer
Based in Milan, Italy

Born in Tokyo in 1981, Tsukasa Goto studied Industrial Design at the Salesian Polytechnic of Tokyo and the University of Art and Design in Nagoya, Japan.
He moved to Milan in 2004, and during his subsequent 18 years of professional experience in Italy, he has worked on private projects involving art and visual, furniture and lighting design.
A child’s curiosity pushes him to investigate the materials’ intrinsic possibilities, experimenting with textures and chromaticity. And an active and concrete approach leads him to touch, feel, work and transform materials with his craftsmanship.
“facendo_Experimental Objects”, a research and development project he conducts, leads to unique and sculptural pieces that are references for the industrialized projects’ development.

02.

This metal mesh vase represents the origin of Green Wise’s reflection on Kukido floral compositions. The idea of placing each flower upright in one of the net holes emphasises its stem, freeing it from the barrier of a classic vase and highlighting its natural shape.

The piece is made by Toru Tsuji, from the Kanaami-Tsuji company, which specialises in wire mesh production. The artist’s idea is to translate the experience and original techniques of the past into modern and contemporary objects.

Toru Tsuji
Artisan
Based in Kyoto, Japan

Toru Tsuji is a second-generation wire net weaver of Kanaami Tsuji, a company that produces handmade tofu servers, tea strainers and other kitchen utensils. Different techniques, like Kiku-dashi and Kikko-ami, yield exquisite natural patterns, the former resembling chrysanthemum and the latter a tortoise shell.
It is said that the history of wire netting ware (Kanaami in Japanese) in Kyoto goes back more than ten centuries. Used as kitchen utensils in Kyoto cuisine, these tools have been cherished by chefs in the city through the ages.
At Kanaamitsuji, the concept is to use the wisdom and experience of the past to produce handmade utensils that also suit contemporary lifestyles.

Takasuke Yamada
Okurayama Studio representative
Based in Ohari Marumori, Japan

Born in 1980 in Miyagi Prefecture, Takasuke Yamada graduated from Tamagawa University, Faculty of Letters, Department of English and American Literature, and moved to the UK, where he graduated from Central Saint Martins with a degree in graphic design.
He joined Okurayama Studio in 2008, and is now its president since 2017.
Since then, he has been involved in a wide range of projects, including collaborations with national and international creators and the management of cultural projects. His work includes the design of furniture and fixtures for accommodation facilities, in-house product design, stone gardens, spatial design and sculpture.

Takahiro Kondo
Artist
Based in Kyoto, Japan

Takahiro Kondo lives and works in Kyoto in what was his grandfather’s original studio in the hills of Yamashina. His grandfather, Yuzo Kondo, was named a Living National Treasure in 1977 for his work in sometsuke or underglaze cobalt blue decoration. Despite his weighty heritage, Kondo did not start working in ceramics until 1986. His early ceramics followed a more traditional path, but he soon established his own independent artistic identity creating dynamic modern work, using simple slabbed forms and experimenting with other media such as metals and cast glass.

03.

The origin of these two very different products is the same: mount Okura.

The stone vase is made from a rough block of Date Kan stone, which was quarried and processed by the staff of Okurayama Studio, represented by Takasuke Yamada. Founded in 1887, in recent years, the studio researched the many materials that the mountain naturally offers besides the lava stone.

Takahiro Kondo used the mountain’s soil among these to create his vase. The ceramist opted for a simple slab, leaving the material as unaltered as possible compared to its original state.

04.

ForestBank™️, which covers the front facade of the plant pots, is an innovative material developed by the designer Yuma Kano, made from forest waste products: branches, foliage, bark, seeds, soil, and other items considered worthless for construction or furniture.  These products are mixed with an eco-sustainable water-based and solvent-free acrylic resin. And the difference in season, land and other conditions at the time of harvest generate different patterns.
For these unique and unrepeatable pots specifically, the waste materials are from a local farm, a collaborator of Green Wise.

Yuma Kano
Creative Director, designer and material designer
Based in Tokyo, Japan

Born in Japan in 1988. Graduated from Tokyo Zokei University, Department of Design, majoring in interior architecture. After working as an assistant to artist Yasuhiro Suzuki, he established his design office, STUDIO YUMAKANO, in 2012.
Based in Tokyo, from a single screw to product design, interior planning, brand direction and material research, he combines an experimental approach with a prototyping-oriented process to design a wide range of things.
In recent years, he has been actively exhibiting in Milan, Paris and other cities in Japan. Received major awards including; Good Design Award, M&O Rising Talents Award, German Design Award.

05.

Shuji Hataishi, the author of the vases, is the fifth generation in the leadership of the Hataman Touen company, which since 1926 has preserved and handed down the techniques of manufacturing Imari Nabeshima ceramics.
While carefully protecting and nurturing the inherited techniques, the artist is also actively engaged in developing new products that break the mould of tradition. For Green Wise, he contributed to designing one of the first vases specially designed for the Kukido compositions, the Slow Vase, continuing to propose various variations throughout the collaboration.

Shuji Hataishi
Artisan
Based in Imari, Japan

While continuing Hata Man Toen, the family business with a history longer than 80 years, he works as an individual artist.
After studying sculpture at Tokyo Zokei University, he carved stone using black granite. He then returned to his home town and studied ceramics at the Arita Ceramic College.
His unique black-coloured forms, which he named ‘Rin’, and the emotions they evoke have been highly acclaimed at public exhibitions, receiving recognition for his willingness to take on new possibilities while using traditional techniques.
Delicate rims made as thin as possible, or on the other hand, powerful jagged cut ones, add unique changes to the vessels and confront the grand theme of ‘what can be left for the modern age while carrying on the tradition’.

06.

Nanasa Ito is an illustrator who portrays plants in her pen drawings, trying to capture their shifting expressions, which seem to change from moment to moment.
The artist’s works are strongly inspired by and communicative of the subtlety of nature. And in the case of this collection of delicate illustrations, she depicted plants chosen from the rooftop garden of Green Wise’s headquarters in Tokyo, following each of the selected subjects through the seasons and their different phases of life.

Nanasa Ito
Illustrator
Based in Tokyo, Japan

Born in Chiba, Japan in 1996. When she was a student in Sweden, she often took walks in the forest. Since then, it became a daily habit to make pen drawings of plants that she meets.

07.

The black porcelain vases are by the well-known contemporary ceramist Naoto Yano, one of the few artists who still uses the techniques of ancient Karatsu ware. His interpretation of the raw materials, techniques and methods of the potters of over 400 years ago is applied here to create a new and modern design.

The simple and pure shape of these pieces lets us admire the depth and nuances of the glaze, made, together with the clay, from sandstone that the artist digs and collects in Karatsu.

Naoto Yano
Artisan
Based in Karatsu, Japan

Born 1976 in Karatsu City, Saga Prefecture.
He started making ceramics at her father’s Donsan kiln in 2004.
He studied Old Karatsu, and while learning from his seniors, he now does everything by himself, from making clay to glazing. His works all have a strong sense of pursuit of their origins. And in 2012, he was selected as the only one in his 30s between the ’12 Karatsu Pottery Artists’ ranking.