Ryukobo’s Kumihimo has changed with an insatiable spirit of inquiry under the motto of ‘Iki elegance evolves’. What is this new world envisioned by the EDO TOKYO RETHINK exhibit?
The ‘Kumihimo’ braid has been loved for a long time as a symbol of connection and respect between individuals, as ‘making bonds’, or ‘connecting people’, as well as ‘usefulness’ and ‘beauty’. When one hears the word braid, one imagines the world of the Kimono. However, in this exhibit, contemporary artist Tatehana presented an entirely different worldview. What kind of future was being laid out for Ryukobo when I first came into contact with them?
A braid is made by putting together silk threads evenly using a round base.
The desire to give form to things never seen before as well as the search for new possibilities drive RETHINK
In this exhibit, heel-less shoes with Kumihimo by Ryu Kobo were presented as a joint project under the direc-tion of Mr. Tatehana. Taking a turn from the conventional concept of Kumihimo, this new, novel appearance is fascinating. Ryukobo’s Ryuta Fukuda speaks: “We had been testing new things, like making chairs with Kumihimo for completely different purposes, but I was surprised to hear they would be using it shoes. This effort will have a great emotional impact, if, for example, we come up with ways to simplify the fabric making process, as well as changing the ease of assembly according to location. What I once again realized is the true value of Kumihimo, which can respond to its application in a flexible way. I searched for a great deal of inspi-ration to create something no one could have imagined, as Mr. Tatehana has, and this feeling led me to RE-THINK.” There are some perspectives that can only be attained by doing the same kind of work for many years, and they are sometimes embodied in the concepts that accumulate over time. RETHINK requires arti-sans them to have courage to strive forward, but I also felt it would be exciting to envision new possibilities
Heel-less shoes, a masterpiece by Mr. Tatehana, merged with Ryukobo’s Kumihimo for a new appearance.
Braided cord tied on top of the obi reflect Ryukobo’s unique sense of balance.
Even while evolving, ‘usefulness’, ‘beauty’ and ‘technology’ are still necessary.
“In order to create new possibilities, it is necessary to respond flexibly to several factors, such as changes in materials, all in view of what we have inherited so far. Nowadays, we still acknowledge that the Kumihimo knot can be strong, but first we want to do what we like and the materials we want to use. And then we hope to use our work as a catalyst to create new value”, Ryuta Fukuda tells us. I find a new found energy in the atti-tude to challenge and courageously pursue everything in life. I will watch intently how Ryukobo’s work em-bodies ‘Kumihimo’ at RETHINK.