Kazumi Yoshida & MANIMA’s New Afrofuturistic Collaboration
We are thrilled to announce our new collaboration with the artist Kazumi Yoshida which is set to push the boundaries of traditional art and textiles, creating an array of craft and colour for a series of stunning pieces that blur the lines between art, fashion and home décor.
Kazumi Yoshida was brought up in the small town of Tatsuno in Japan. While the rest of his family were doctors, Kazumi took up ink and brush painting as a child; by the young age of 6 he had painted his first mural. Growing up he was awestruck by Japanese Edo period artists Katsushika Hokusai and Ito Jakuncho. He studied at the Royal college of Art in London, before moving and settling down in Tribeca, New York.
In his first design for Clarence House, Paper’s Japonais, a collage of botanical drawings, he won the award for Best Printed Design by the American Society of Interior Designers in 1982. Lee Radziwill had her dining room walls upholstered in her Park Avenue penthouse in New York with this design, and it even featured on the cover of Architectural Digest in January 1982. His design is now part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Printed Textiles in Mulhouse, France.
His textile designs evoke imagery of rebirth, the giving of new life, inspired by Matisse, Cocteau, Dufy, Léger, Laurencin and Picasso. Yet he’s creatively inspired by more than just artists. Under the direction of Pascale Mussard, Hermès got him to design their Petit h collection, using discarded leather and suede. His leather-trimmed beach towel design for Hermès was used as the face for a unique chest of drawers. It was displayed in the window of Hermès’ flagship store on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris, and sold immediately.
Beyond his creations for Clarence House and Hermès, Kazumi has established a great working relationship with mills such as Ratti in Como, Italy, and Bicol in Lyon, France. Kazumi makes work look like play: he’s a true artist: passionate, hardworking and dedicated. His work encapsulates his joie de vivre, whether it be his textile designs or more traditional artwork. It was an absolute privilege to get an insight into his world.
Joining forces with Kazumi Yoshida to create a new era of art and embroidery
Destiny brought Kazumi and MANIMA together in Palermo, when Kazumi was exhibiting his work “UTOPIA”. Both were enamoured by each other’s artistic creations, and an intense exchange of ideas ensued which led to their first collaboration. Together they embarked on an Afrofuturistic odyssey, which showcases an unprecedented fusion of African colours and designs, reminiscent of Braque and Picasso’s styles, yet deeply intertwined with Kazumi’s exuberant paintings.
The collaboration focuses on the Zero G Chair (zero gravity), which represents the natural evolution of a rocking chair through its non-rigid structure, which allows everyone to find their own “equilibrium with comfort”.
The base is made without glue, metallic nails or screws, using a chestnut wood structure from Tuscany which has been seasoned for at least 5 years, which represents the shape of a tree. The stainless-steel 18/10 frame, soldered by hand, gives the chair a natural elasticity and strength.
The seating surface is a work of art made by artisanal hand-embroiders in Sicily, featuring Kazumi’s wonderful designs. It can be easily removed, cleaned and changed. The fabrics are superb heavy linens from Pierre Frey, France and Blooming, Italy.
Besides the chairs and precious cushions, hand-embroidered with Kazumi’s design on linen and raw silk, MANIMA is finishing the collection with other interior design objects, as well as fashion accessories.
by Will Scott