For Megumi Shauna Arai, textiles are universal indicators of culture and identity. Like 19th-century crazy quilts or the lively blankets that emerged in the 20th century from the hands of women in Gee’s Bend, Alabama, her work incorporates salvaged fabric, but with a twist: Arai’s materials come from various countries and eras, and mingle with textiles dyed with natural pigments that the self-taught New York–based artist mixes herself. She layers the geometric scraps as one might pictures on a mood board, and displays the resulting bold, colorful tapestries in engaging ways—some hung in her interpretation of noren, traditional Japanese fabric dividers that are suspended in windows and doorways (seen in a Manhattan pop-up of Beverly’s Shop last year), and others laid flat, as was one particularly striking piece on a bed at the Eliot Noyes House in New Canaan, Connecticut, as part of the 2020 edition of the art and design fair Object & Thing—that invite viewers to consider the histories and techniques they represent.
Arai’s work is inspired, in part, by boro, the Japanese custom of mending and patching textiles, along with fabrics that represent other times and places. One type of traditional textile that regularly makes its way into her pieces features vibrant, roller-printed florals. “These fabrics were produced in small textile factory towns in Russia in the early to mid-twentieth century, but they were produced for the central Asian ‘market,’ which is so interesting to me,” Arai says of the cloth. “It’s this idea of two cultures meeting. One assuming what the other one likes, but also putting its own aesthetic leanings and perceptions into it.” This type of cross-cultural phenomena is a driving force behind her patchworked compositions, and for Arai, who grew up in Tokyo and the Pacific Northwest (her father is Japanese; her mother is Jewish-American), the idea of plurality feels especially resonant.
Initially drawn to textiles because of their tactility, Arai began focusing her artistic practice on fabric beginning in 2015, and cites the physical act of movement as a crucial element in her work. She begins each piece by making dyes using plant materials that she often forages herself, and then composes her work on the floor, arranging pieces of material until they achieve a sense of harmony. From there, she stitches the composition with a sewing machine or by hand. “The process of making work is so embodied for me,” she says. “It feels especially important now, in a world that wants to take us farther and farther away from that. It’s working in a way that lessens the hierarchy between mind and body.”
She’s currently preparing for multiple presentations. This spring, Arai, together with the ceramicist, gardener, and photographer Frances Palmer, will be part of a two-person Object & Thing exhibition at the Madoo Conservancy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the garden and structures created by artist, gardener, and writer Robert Dash in Sagaponack, New York. Titled “Object & Thing at Madoo: Megumi Shauna Arai and Frances Palmer” (May 27–June 25), a portion of its proceeds will benefit the property. In September, Arai will unveil 12 new works, each created using botanical dyes that represent the changing seasons, at a solo exhibition in New York with the Los Angeles gallery Tiwa Select at a to-be-announced location.
As Arai continues to refine her textured visual language, an emphasis on the composite nature of identity is key. “It’s tempting to read only one dimension of who someone is, because you can package or brand it more easily,” she says. “But we’re such multidimensional creatures. Each of us is a combination of unexpected things coming together.”
Designed in 1972, at a time when a luxury watch made of steel was still a radical concept, Audemars Piguet’s nautical-inGQ editor Bill Prince, author of the new book Royal Oak: From Iconoclast to Icon (Assouline), coming out October 12. “It’s one of those works of culture that has managed to cut through time, in the sebigger than the era.”
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Writer Hannah Lewis says she practically fell in love with Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki when she first read the 2007The Healing Power of Forests, which he co-authored with ecologist Elgene O. Box. The book introduced the Miyawaki method, a reforestation technique Compendium of Scientific and Practical Findings Supporting Eco-Restoration to Address Global Warming, a bi-annual, open-access compilation of scientific studies, industry and government reports, and journalistic investigwrite an article about the approach for The Guardian in 2020, and a just-released book of her own: Mini-Forest Revolution: Using the Miyawaki Method to Rapidly Rewild the World (Chelsea Green Publishing).
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In 1918, Dutch architect and furniture designer Gerrit Rietveld developed the first iteration of his influential Red Blue Chair. A member of the de Stijl art and architecture movement, which espoused the belief that a post-World War I Europe couldDer Aesthet, and to attach it under the seat: “When I sit, I do not want / to sit like my seat-flesh likes / but rather like my seabeyond the point of intersection. By magnifying these oft-hidden details, Rietveld forged a new transparency in design—and spoU-Joints: A Taxonomy of Connections, an independently-published compendium from architect Andrea Caputo and design professor Anniina Koivu, who served as e
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Last week, the Earth slid between the moon and sun, inciting a heady lunar eclipse that transformed our usual relationshManitoga, a stunning midcentury home turned design center that’s nestled between a granite quarry and a mossy slope in upstate NDesigning Nature” (through November 14). Fittingly, the first piece visitors encounter is the Eclipse Ceiling Lamp, designed by the contFormafantasma in 2016, which casts new, entrancing light on its surroundings.
Nestled in a cozy pocket of Newburgh, in New York’s Hudson Valley, is an architectural gem designed in 1949 by Philip Jograppling with how to address Johnson’s legacy in the aftermath of his fascist views becoming more widely known—the property was purchased and restored by Jiminie Ha,With Projects, and art director Jeremy Parker. Determined to establish the residence as a symbol of inclusivity, the two have reimagiWolfhouse, a community-focused cultural space and incubator with public programming centered around art, architecture, and design
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A Digital Museum Tells Time-Honored Stories of the Indian Subcontinent Through Everyday Objects and Family Heirlooms
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Those who have come to embrace CBD—short for cannabidiol, a chemical abundant in the cannabis plant that, unlike its sibEpidiolex, to treat rare seizure disorders; the majority of scientific studies on the chemical have been conducted on animals.) T$16 billion by 2025, fueled by users who report relief from afflictions including anxiety, depression, and stress. So it seems only natural
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A Fashion Designer Transforms Deadstock Textiles and Upcycled Sleeping Bags Into Wearable Life-Saving Shelters
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According to a 2016 report by the World Economic Forum, a full garbage truck’s worth of plastic flows into our oceans almost every minute. While e
The ingenuity of the Parentesi lamp, first released by the Italian lighting brand Flos in 1971, is most evident when it’s handled: Slide the nickel-plated
Elyn Zimmerman Created a Memorial to the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing—Then It Was Destroyed on 9/11
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“There should be as many clothing repair shops as there are gas stations,” says Satchel B. Moore, founder of the Saint PScience and Kindness. “After all, there are more pairs of pants in the world than there are cars.” Moore started the initiative, which he ru
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“This is a new world,” says Cyrille Vigneron, president and CEO of Cartier, during a gala dinner he recently hosted on tSixième Sens (“Sixth Sense”), the luxury house’s newest collection. He continues, “High jewelry belongs to the world of sensory stim
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Earlier this month, a stately structure covered in angled white bricks opened its doors in the East Williamsburg area ofAmant Foundation, a nonprofit arts organization that values a slow, focused approach in making and viewing art. (It has a sister locatio
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The archeologist-turned-goldsmith Loren Teetelli spent more than 100 hours hand-forging a single 22-karat gold cuff for Loren Nicole, in 2016. Jean Prounis is another millennial who’s mastered the time-honored craft of goldsmithing. The New York–based designer begins her pro
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One year ago, entrepreneur Jaé Joseph and creative director Brianna Wise released a survey that doubled as an applicatioBlack Apothecary Office (BAO): a three-month-long accelerator program designed to help Black- and Latinx-owned beauty and wellness start-ups reBAO Universe, a digital marketplace offering goods such as velvety face oils, silky moisturizers, and hydrating shampoo from some of
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Since ancient times, people have looked to the sun, moon, and stars to create a sense of rhythm and order in their livesLittle Lange 1 Moon Phase watch elevates the poetic movement with a copper-flecked, midnight-blue silver dial that shimmers like the night sky, a
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Vietnamese-American Stylist Beverly Nguyen Pays Tribute to Her Family and Friends With a New Pop-Up Shop
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When a loved one passes, the typical death care options are both limited and harmful to the planet. Conventional burial Recompose, an NOR funeral home located in a Seattle suburb and designed by local architectural firm Olson Kundig (whose principalEp. 37 of our Time Sensitive podcast). Last year, two other NOR companies were formed in the region, signaling that the practice isn’t a pipe dream, but a r
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East Fork imbues traditional clay tableware with a sense of delight, resulting in pieces that are instantly recognizable. The commonth)—while its expansion into the lifestyle realm, with online recipes and carefully culled pantry items, such as black gar Your products often immediately sell out. A few months ago, an article in the New York Post called your passionate fans the “new potheads.” What makes East Fork’s pieces so covetable?
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Hand-wringing and hand-washing seem to be defining this time warp of a pandemic. When it comes to the latter, we’re partSlowdown hand-wash set from the New York upstart Dally Goods—not just for its name (which, to be clear, we’re not connected to), but its ethosExperts say fantasy can provide a way through difficult times; if harmless daydreaming can get us through this moment, we’ll happily indulge in a bit of wanderlust where we can find
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Wood boxes are something of a national treasure in Japan, where Buddhist monks began tucking stoles, prayer beads, and okiribako—boxes handcrafted from paulownia, a native tree with lightweight, durable, water-resistant timber—into the mainstream. Masuda Kiribako, which has been skillfully producing traditional receptacles since 1929.
Three years ago, French furniture and object designer Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance—whose clients include Baccarat, Bernhardt Made in Situ that champions the traditional crafts, techniques, and materials of the region through objects he designs and makes witsoenga. How did the idea for Made in Situ come about?
Imagine shopping a trove of objects that are at once elegant and ethically made—no post-purchase consumer guilt necessarGoodee, an online marketplace of homewares and clothing that make a positive impact on people and the planet. Founded by Montrundulating Pakurigo baskets handwoven by artisans in Ghana from locally sourced vetiver grass, vegan seaweed soap that cleverly uses coriander seeds and peppercorns as exfoliants, and the sought-after Goodee Hoodie, recently released in three new colors (dusty rose, Egyptian blue, and alabaster) and made from Egyptian cotton by the Kotn. There’s also a handsome German Douglas pine daybed from Danish B Corp Skagerak, topped with Kvadrat upholstery, and a Japanese windmill palm fiber “corner brush” designed to dust the undustable. Feel like decking the halls? Try these multihued Jipi Baubles tree ornaments, handmade from Jipijapa palm tree leaves by Colombian artisans in the Andes. For those on our gift lists, including the
That we’ve all likely considered relocating to another planet at some point this year may be no bad thing, according to In a recent study published in the journal PLOS One, the group describes their experiments with the organic polymer chitin that demonstrate its viability as a building matEp. 16 of our Time Sensitive podcast)—with a mineral equivalent to Martian soil. They used it to successfully construct an array of objects, including a worProject Olympus, a research initiative looking to develop structures that can be 3D-printed out of lunar dust. Working with the Austin-he recently told Fast Company. “It’s actually going to make construction on Earth even faster, even cheaper.”
Fashion brand Kilomet109, headquartered in Vietnam’s capital of Hanoi, is reviving the country’s textile traditions with each piece in its men’s
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“Many people think play is just for children,” says London-based designer Michelle Rinow. “But it’s necessary through alTransforming Touch, a series of knitted lights that encourage users of every age to engage in a bout of old-fashioned fun. Rinow cleverly