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Lighting Art and Green Craft Meet at Craft Fashion-Yii

Exhibition casts a traditional art in a brand new light, bringing craft art to daily life

Oct 04, 2013 | By Michelle Hsu

The National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute (NTCRDI), located in Nantou County of central Taiwan, is a government-sponsored organization under the Ministry of Culture which was reorganized from its predecessor, the Council for Cultural Affairs (CCA). The Institute supports development of craft and cultural aesthetics in daily life.

In recent years, the NTCRDI has defined "green craft" as a main theme for future development of Taiwanese craft art, aimed at encouraging people to develop simple and environment-friendly lifestyles enriched by green creative and culturally rich craft works.

In 2008, the NTCRDI launched "Yii" as a national craft brand name. "Yii" is the Chinese pronouncement of "art" or "simplicity," symbolizing a combination of craft art and simple lifestyle. The brand also emphasizes craft items made with local materials and talent in Taiwan.

The NTCRDI began holding the "Craft Fashion-Yii" exhibition earlier this year under the theme of "Green Craft." The exhibition, which will continue to the end of this year, displays pieces produced mainly by local designers and senior craftsman working together to infuse new life into traditional techniques that have been passed down through generations.

Almost all of exhibited pieces are hand-made and embody a deep respect for humanity, culture, and the living environment. Among them are lighting fixtures that have been featured at international shows and earned high recognition in the international community. "Through the exhibition, local designers and craftsmen share their achievements with the visitors and present Taiwan's lighting design talent to the world," said the institute. Some impressive items displayed at the exhibition are introduced below:

1. Butterfly Lamp
Designer: Weng Chun-chieh
Craftsman: Li Chun-ren
The Butterfly Lamp has a delicate, thin porcelain lampshade etched with patterns of fluttering butterflies, plant stems and leaves. When the light is on, the soft gleam of light interweaves with the butterfly images, evoking a touching Chinese love story from ancient times and embodying the inherent culture of Chinese craft.

2. Meow Lamp
Designer: Lo Yu-fen
Craftsman: Su Su-ren
The Meow Lamp is a luminous cushion that resembles a cat curled up comfortably. The light through the woven bamboo shell suggests the gazing eyes of a cat, adding a whimsical and warm feeling to a room.

3. Tertial Lamp—IKEA Plus Series
Designer: Wu Hsiao-ru
Craftsman: Su Chien-an
The Tertial Lamp is one of the 5-pc IKEA Plus Series of handmade furniture and lighting products. The Tertial lampshade features two dragons scrambling for a ball—the energy-saving bulb at the center of the inner lampshade. The carved patterns on the inner side of the lampshade present a layered lighting effect when the lamp is on. The bustling scene of the lampshade imparts a dynamic feeling to the lamp and makes it well suited for use at temples or events. The lamp follows the basic IKEA design principle—making a difference through simple design.


4. Explosion
Designer: Lin Huan-ming
Craftsman: Yeh Chi-hsiang
The "firecracker" pendent lamp features the image of "firecracker," which is often used at celebration events. It speaks to the Taiwanese people's passion for folk traditions, such as firecrackers, which are being gradually replaced by electronic devices due to environmental concerns. In this "firecracker" pendent lamp, the designer draws on modern design to reawaken the imagination to traditional customs.

5. Harvest Light
Designer: Lo Yu-feng
Craftsman: Wang Hung-yu
The design concept behind the "Harvest Light" was a collaborative product of the designer and craftsman. The lampshade is shaped like a bowl and decorated with rice patterns on the surface, evoking the spirit of the harvest season, which was the most anticipated time of the year for people in ancient times. The rice pattern illuminates when the light comes through the rice-shaped pinholes from the bulb inside the fixture, conveying an image of satisfaction and abundance, as well as the hope and feeling of the people toward the "Harvest." In its spirit of blessing and reminiscence, the lamp typifies the "Yii" brand. The lamp tempts viewers to hold the lamp like a bowl and feel its satisfying warmth.

6. Minimalist Light
Designer: Weng Chun-chieh
Craftsman: Wang Hung-yu
"Minimalist Light" is an eggshell porcelain shade made with advanced craft techniques. When the light is on, it looks like the paper-cut flower patterns are attached to the lamp. As the light dims, the delicate craftsmanship used in forming the flower patterns becomes visible; and when the light is turned brighter, the flowers seem to awaken and bloom. This masterpiece presents a range of aesthetic views of the same item through different lighting effects.

7. Bamboo Lampshade
Designer: Ho Chung-tang
Craftsman: Chen Kao-ming
The "Bamboo Lampshade" presents the beauty of the bamboo veins. In order to cope with the shape of the thin and long bamboo stem, a fluorescent tube is used as the lighting source. The intangibility of the light complements the beauty of the substantial material, weaving an aesthetic combining "firmness" and "softness." The fixture also faithfully evokes the original sense of the bamboo in its simple, single-tube shape.

8. Appearance
Designer: Wang Li-hsin
Craftsman: Li Ping-kuei
"Appearance" is a lamp that transforms the wooden carvings of temples or historic buildings into geometric patterns, giving new breath to this old craft and creating a unique ambiance. The designer has given new interpretation and value to found objects, while skillfully reducing the lamp's lighting function with an accentuated stress on its role of an adornment, forming a symbiotic relationship between lighting effect and adornments. This item is mainly made to highlight the beauty of crafts and designer's aesthetic sensibility.

9. Cocoon Plan: Light
Designer: Wang Chun-long (Rock Wang)
Craftsman: Chen Kao-ming
"Cocoon Plan" is a collaborative product of designer Rock Wang and woven bamboo artist Chen kao-ming. The lamp subtly combines bamboo and silk into a cocoon shape. The lampshade is covered by real silk spun by silkworms on the bamboo frame. When it is turned on, light seeps through the silk and gives shape to the shade. The design combines a lighting fixture with the life of a natural being, highlighting the green spirit of the Yii brand.

10. Rush Hour Light
Designer: Liao Po-ching
Craftsman: Liao Sheng-wen
"Rush Hour Light" is a headlight designed for motorcycles. The lamp is made of glass fiber fixture and illuminated by LED bulbs. Taiwan has the highest density of motorcyclists on the planet. To the theme of the streetscape everywhere in Taiwan, the "Rush Hour Light" uses modern intelligent lighting technology to present smart and flashing lighting effect on the street. The lighting color changes during the ride, reflecting Taiwan's colorful motorcycle culture. The lacquered fixture also adds a sophisticated finish to complement the quality lighting effect.


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