For LOEWE’s fifth and most ambitious Salone presentation yet, the Spanish luxury house has invited both artists and artisans to participate. At the center of the presentation is the craft of weaving, and several artists, including Japan’s ARKO—who traditionally works in straw—were asked to explore the material of leather.
ARKO: “I work with straw for my creations, and define myself as a straw artist. I only use rice straw. The Japanese have a very long history with rice.
Rice straw is a by-product of rice, and has been situated in the center of Japanese life for a long time. Until fifty or sixty years ago, rice straw was used in practical goods such as raincoats, sandals, bags, and so on. But now we don’t see any straw products in our home, so I started to make some new straw objects, with the purpose of looking back to our Japanese origins. Making these utility goods I mentioned above seemed to have no meaning for me. As no one uses such goods in contemporary times, and straw is already not functional, they are just decorative objects.
If that’s the case, I thought I should make new straw objects as a reminder of our roots or to stir our identity. So my work is just a symbol that makes us think about our relationship between our predecessors, both human and in nature, existing in our high-industrialized society.”