2 Manufacturing

The primitive appeal of soil is anything but straightforward. For the countless industrial products that exist today, homogeneity and efficiency are fundamental. However, the unique traits of soil, a product of nature, don’t necessarily align with this conventional approach to manufacturing. Developing designs tailored to natural clay as a material and making use of its unpredictable expressions, requires not only an understanding of production, but a flexible application of knowledge. As an attempt to re-think conventional production methods, Mino Soil also draws inspiration from Italian designer Enzo Mari’s semi-industrial ceramics, produced during the 1970s without the use of molds or potter’s wheels, but assembled by hand from machine-made parts, according to the designers instructions. This process appears to stand in contrast to the development of the ceramics industry in the Mino region. Yet within some sectors of the industry, a “low-tech” wisdom and creativity with historical links remain well and truly alive. 

Seven designers were invited to the project: Lina Ghotmeh, Shigeki Fujishiro, Kueng Caputo, Jo Nagasaka and Mino-based soil expert Kaneri Toryo, who took the alternative semi-industrial approach and Dimitri Baehler and Wang&Soderstrom that worked with a conventional production method.  

The first prototypes made in Mino through trial and error by the instructions of the seven designers, are presented at the exhibition Vol.02 “Transfiguration of Clay (Becoming Form)” in Tokyo, April 2022, curated by Creative director David Glaettli.