We have worked for the last two years in the Beijing neighborhood of Dashilar with a local craftsman, Zhou Gouli, who is an expert in making wire lanterns. While bamboo lanterns are popular in the south - metal is the material of the north and the archetypical red Chinese lanterns are often made with this technique. We are interested in weaving of all kinds but learning this technique allowed us to weave in three dimensions creating new objects in space. We were invited to work with Zhou as part of the Dashilar Craft Pilot - a part of a larger urban renewal project - that pairs designers with Dashilar-based artisans who possess knowledge of a variety of craft techniques. Since that initial collaboration our understanding and experimentation with this technique has grown into a body of knowledge and ideas. Each one of Zhou's pieces capture the idiosyncratic touch of the hand and look like small sketches hanging in space. Other than China, Japan has a tradition of working with this style of wire-weaving used for food utensils and a variety of other things, yet it is most often seen in China in the service lantern making. Learning from Zhou has enabled us to build wire-weaving into our repertoire of techniques to use in future design projects. We are currently developing a line of lighting based on this learning.
Check back soon for their release in 2016.