In its pursuit of beauty for over 1,200 years, with its distinctive structures and design, HOSOO’s Nishijin textiles have a rich history of pushing innovation by incorporating technology. This research project named Ambient Weaving aims to complement this by experimenting with the use of Nishijin textile as a medium for representing characteristics taken from the surrounding ambient environment. Thus, Ambient Weaving refers to creating new ways in which environments can be expressed and experienced by interweaving information from the surrounding atmosphere into textiles.
The history of textiles is as impressive as that of humankind. Looking back, textiles can be viewed as a creation from dialogues between humankind and the environment. Not only the threads used in textiles, but also plant dyeing uses natural materials such as plants and animal fibers. In Japan, motifs of beautiful Japanese nature have been extensively used in textiles. In today’s world, unspoiled nature is no longer common, and living in artificial environments is the norm. With significant human impact on the planet’s geology and ecosystems and the concept of “nature” itself continuing to be a point of discussion and review, what kind of new entity will ambient environments and textiles become? With this perspective as the foundation, this project presents the modern state of human beings and their relationship with the environment.
In this joint project, they have developed a series of prototypes of novel textiles based on Nishijin methods, materials, and aesthetics with artists, designers, engineers, and artisans. Each textile changes its appearance over different time frames, influenced by or interacting with environmental changes. Wave of Warmth dynamically changes colors as the temperature changes, Drifting Colors creates rewritable color pattern changes by allowing colored water to seep into each individual woven thread through capillary action like plants, Memories of Flow preserves the shapes of fabrics floating in water through the solidification of threads and displays them as art objects, and Woven Clouds and Woven Glow are electrically augmented textiles, which can be programmed to change transparency and emit light.
Hosoo Co., Ltd., Yasuaki Kakehi Lab, The University of Tokyo, ZOZO NEXT, Inc.
Hosoo Co., Ltd.: Masataka Hosoo, Hiroshi Kanaya, Kotaro Uchibe, Naotoku Yasuta
Yasuaki Kakehi Lab., The University of Tokyo: Yasuaki Kakehi, Yumi Nishihara, Hitomi Kuboki, Juri Fujii
ZOZO NEXT, Inc.: Satoshi Nakamaru, Kotaro Tajima
Curation: Kumiko ldaka, Historical research: Rurihiko Hara, Exhibit composition: Takashi Suo, Data visualization: Yugo Minomo
Hosoo Co., Ltd (JP) was founded in 1688 in the old city district of Nishijin in Kyoto, Japan. Since then, HOSOO has been in business both as a weaver and kimono curator. Masataka Hosoo (JP) is the President and CEO. Hiroshi Kanaya (JP), Kotaro Uchibe (JP), and Naotoku Yasuta (JP) are in charge of weaving textiles as artisans.
Yasuaki Kakehi Lab., The University of Tokyo (JP) is an interdisciplinary research group led by the artist and HCI researcher Professor Yasuaki Kakehi . The research group explores the possibilities of physical materials and computing to connect humans and the environment and creates advanced physical interfaces and media art works.
ZOZO NEXT, Inc. (JP) is a subsidiary of Japan’s largest fashion online commerce company, working primarily on projects in the field of research and development with the goal of pioneering the future of fashion. Satoshi Nakamaru (JP) works as a Material Scientist, and Kotaro Tajima(JP) leads the department.
What does it mean to be a long-established master in the field of traditional crafts? It is a bold attitude to remain on the cutting edge over time and have a willingness to undergo drastic changes. It is whether a master can also be a “meister” in value creation, incorporating the advanced technology of the times, reinventing the value it provides, and showing the future. The overwhelming beauty that is created as a result of these efforts will be a source of its timeless popularity. Nishijin brocade has a history of 1,200 years and represents the pinnacle of Japanese silk weaving. Hosoo is a long-established Nishijin textile workshop in Kyoto, founded in 1688. Hosoo has teamed up with Yasuaki Kakehi’s laboratory at the University of Tokyo and ZOZO NEXT, a startup that applies cutting-edge technology to the fashion industry. The three parties have their own strengths: Hosoo was responsible for weaving technology, the pursuit of beauty, and historical examination of cloth, while Professor Kakehi’s team was responsible for interaction design and information technology, and ZOZO NEXT was in charge of material science and business feasibility studies. The result is fabrics that change in real time as if they were breathing, interwoven with their surroundings. The fabric changes gently in response to light, temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, and other factors in the space, enabling people to wear a natural environment. There is no technological functionality to be seen; what there is, are magnificent fabrics that emanate a solemn aura. The collaboration of all three parties was essential and led to a level of perfection that no one had ever seen before. The future of traditional crafts, which will survive the next 100 years, was beautifully demonstrated.