Kiji Arita revives forgotten ceramics in Japan

Sander Wassink & Yoriko Ishizawa discuss their latest collaboration


In a world overloaded with new products and design, Sander Wassink is a Dutch artist who finds value in what has been discarded. His work tends to explore the memories and histories of objects, looking to “reimagine what can be done with the already partially-formed.” This is the spirit that drives Kiji Arita, his most recent collaboration with Japanese designer and curator Yoriko Ishizawa. Described as “a revival of ceramic objects lost in time,” the project began with the discovery of great quantities of forgotten porcelain in Arita, Japan.


Unfinished but beautiful, these bisque-fired bowls, cups and plates had fallen out of fashion many years ago, and were found gathering dust in workshops and factories in the area. Many of the designs were created by local craftsmen working to meet the demands of evolving Japanese culinary culture. Through Kiji Arita, Sander and Yoriko offer new interpretations of these abandoned objects, and propel them into everyday use. Last month, the limited collection was launched at Shibaura House, a bustling cultural centre in Tokyo and partner of What Design Can Do in Japan. On the heels of the exhibition, we sent Sander and Yoriko a few questions about their collaboration, and their thoughtful approach to circular design. Keep reading for our full conversation.

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