In FUTURE CRAFT Japan+Thailand, the 11th annual Pacific Rim collaboration between ArtCenter College of Design in California and Tama Art University in Tokyo, Japan, students and faculty from both schools collaborate to envision new opportunities for design to create social impact with artisans in Northern Thailand, in partnership with the Lanna Culture & Crafts Association and the Thai Ministry of Industry.
How can design extend Northern Thai “Lanna” craft traditions to global markets? How might handcraft & digital technology intersect? How can we embrace natural materials innovation? Cross-cultural student teams design contemporary home goods—small-scale furnishings, lighting, tableware & soft goods—driven by new applications of eco-fiber and Lanna craft techniques. A two week field research trip to experience Northern Thailand’s rich craft heritage—including weaving, metal, lantern-making, natural fiber & wood artisans—lays the foundation for fresh design.
The group had a magical jam-packed first day in Tokyo, from an archi-tour of aoyama, to Meiji jingu shrine, to the intensity of harajuku and shibuya, to a mind-blowing interactive exhibit by Team.Lab
The group experienced Asakusa temples, Roppongi design and museums (including a Mori tower Studio Ghibli exhibit!
The whole Tama+ACCD group arrived safely in Chiang Mai after an incredible kick-off workshop at Tama’s retreat house near Mt Fuji.
ACCD students got a sneak preview of the Tama campus & a warm welcome from the Tama students, then we headed off together into the mountains. The first afternoon was all about getting to connect with fun team-building exercises lead by Wada & Judit.
The students kicked off the FutureCraft theme with a lecture, and excellent rapid-fire student presentations of pre-homework. In the afternoon, students were excited to learn who their partner for the term would be — and each team even received ceremonial Shinto good wishes from Ogata-San. Then each team headed off hiking thru the woods on a TextureHunt, which they documented in sketchbook collages.