The result of fifteen designers working with twenty master craftsmen was on show in Milan last week in the Viale Alemagne in an exhibition called 'Yii'.
Meaning 'change and transformation' in the context of Taiwanese philosophy, Yii is an intriguing blend of traditional and contemporary dialogue between crafts artists and designers from Taiwan.
The concept for Yii was conceived by the Taiwan Craft Research Institute, who invited Gijs Bakker to be creative director. Bakker was fascinated by Taiwanese culture and gave it a central position in the project, consciously avoiding participation of any Western designers in Yii.
And this step was a positive one, pushing this venture beyond an 'East-meets-West' concept:
"The project was dynamic and challenging for all the participants. The designers, educated on Western principles, discovered a complicated and established world of their homeland's crafts. For the craft artists, deeply rooted in the centuries-old traditions, it was a mind-opening experience of stepping out of their protected shells towards modernity, experiment and different thinking."
There were forty five pieces in all, and three themes; "Inspired by Nature," "Cultivation" and “Sustainability,”
Among the incredible craftsmanship were some unusual material choices - designer Rock Wang combined a bamboo woven chair and the natural cocooning process of silkworms to create a sleek white sofa masterpiece, whilst driftwood took the form of brush strokes in Po-ching Liao's 'Calligraphy Cupboard'.
Here are our picks...