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1 The Washi Exploratory exhibited at MONO Japan fair 2022 (photography by Yuta Sawamura)

2 Field trip photos: kozo field, paper sheets drying in the sun, boiling fibers, fibers soaking

Talk about handmade paper with Sekishu Washi artisan So Kubota, artist Annelinde de Jong and designer Jonas Althaus

3 Selection of samples (folding, embossing, weaving)

02. Washi Futurism



What associations does hand-made paper evoke today? The craft of Sekishu Washi is carried on by only four remaining workshops in the region of Shimane. Used for centuries in Japanese architecture and popular craft items, washi paper is strongly rooted in traditional applications.

But what happens when this special material is placed in contemporary or industrial contexts?
What new potentials are then revealed? Inspired by its high endurance, strength, and sustainable production method, the Washi Exploratory investigates the (im)material qualities of washi.

During a two-month field trip to research Sekishu Washi in a situated context, our design team worked with next generation papermakers So Kubota and Masaru Nishita in Misumi, Japan, to understand the entanglements of the craft within the region, and work on the communication of the craft in a way that goes beyond a nostalgic or exotic narrative of crafts.

In the shape of an interactive paper installation, different treatments of Sekishu Washi are displayed that communicate the paper’s unique properties and reflect on new perceptions of washi. Using a handheld washi light, visitors are invited to illuminate and freely explore the many facets and possibilities with this paper.



Collaboration with Satomi Minoshima and studio Cream on Chrome

Collaboration with So Kubota and Masaru Nishita

2023 Exhibited at Sekio Hall, Hamada, Japan

2022 Exhibited at MONO Japan fair, Amsterdam, the Netherlands


This project is supported by Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Japan