Project / 2016/ (c)

16 designers
Tomás Alonso, Scholten & Baijings, BIG-GAME, Kueng Caputo, Pauline Deltour, Saskia Diez, Stefan Diez, Shigeki Fujishiro, Christian Haas, Christien Meindertsma, Kirstie van Noort, Ingegerd Râman, Leon Ransmeier, Studio Wieki Somers, TAF, Teruhiro Yanagihara

+ 10 potteries + 4 centuries in Arita, Japan = 2016/


About Arita


The small town of Arita can be found in Saga Prefecture on Kyushu Island in southern Japan. It was here, in the early 17th century, that the art of porcelain making was introduced to Japan for the very first time by a Korean craftsman; Yi Sam-pyeong. The special stone required to make porcelain was found, a quarry was built and Arita quickly became the epicenter for porcelain production and knowledge in Japan. The year of this remarkable beginning was 1616. Aritaware (or Aritayaki or Imariware; the pottery from this region is known by many names) flourished over several centuries and the town of Arita became synonymous with the industry of porcelain making. In most recent times however that industry has suffered substantially. Today, almost exactly four hundred years on, Arita remains an important center for Japanese porcelain production. Despite severe problems, a small community of local craftsmen and manufacturing companies continue to make exceptionally high quality products using materials and processes that are unique to Aritaware. Currently there are 150 potteries of various size in a small mountainous area of Arita.



The pottery made in Arita earnt a prestigious reputation both at home and abroad because of its fine quality and the exceptional skills of the Arita craftsmen. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries the porcelain producing workshops and factories of Arita continued to grow and innovate and Aritaware was successfully exported throughout the world. The Dutch East India Company (VOC) was the main exporter of Aritaware to the west during this period. As they brought business to Arita they also dictated the style of porcelain that was made, meaning Aritaware successfully adapted and developed in style and form to meet the tastes of its western clients. Trouble struck in the late 20th century with a perfect storm of problems: Recession affected the Japanese economy and a previously buoyant domestic market for porcelain faltered; Low price ceramic products from abroad became more widely available and increasingly popular to the home (and global) buyer; The traditional Aritaware products no longer appealed to the modern consumer and demand suffered as a consequence. Factories and workshops closed, the city’s population shrunk and production of Aritaware is currently a fifth of what it was in the early 1990’s. Not only is a community in jeopardy but centuries-old craft skills and traditions are threatened with extinction.


The 2016/ project is an exciting new initiative intent on reviving the production of Aritaware and preserving the profound skills of the Arita craftsmen and women. By combining four centuries of exceptional craft knowledge and ability with contemporary design, 2016/ will inject new vitality into the industry. 2016/ intends to demonstrate the artistry of this special craft to a new audience and to make Aritaware relevant and desirable once again. International designers will collaborate with local companies to produce a collection of extraordinary objects for everyday use. The porcelain will make use of the qualities of traditional Aritaware whilst appealing to a new global market of design savvy consumers. The influence of this group of foreign talents will provide Arita, once again, with a valuable outside perspective just as it had during the important years of collaboration with the Dutch East India Company. The birth of 2016/ marks the beginning of a new generation of Aritaware porcelain.


About 2016/ project



2016/ is a new brand producing contemporary porcelain objects for the home. 2016/ puts together the porcelain making skills of potteries in Arita, Japan, with the talents of 16 international designers. The project is a collaboration between Saga Prefecture in Japan and The Netherlands. In past centuries The Netherlands has been

a significant importer of Arita porcelain. Today, this unique and longstanding relationship has provided an important inspiration for reviving Aritaware. Together creative directors Teruhiro Yanagihara and Scholten & Baijings are leading a venture that incorporates the efforts of ten potteries from Arita with 16 international designers. Combining the ingenuity and experience of some of the best international design talents with the skill of traditional makers is the key to the 2016/ project. The international designers will bring a purposefully fresh perspective to Aritaware. Through their vision, the qualities of Arita porcelain will be reexamined and reworked for a contemporary audience.
The creative directors will pair designer with manufacturer and oversee the design and production process of each product. The complete 2016/ collection will be launched in the spring of 2016, on the four hundred year anniversary of Arita porcelain’s birth.



The 2016/ project builds on the success of a previous endeavor; 1616 / arita japan. It was here, in 2012, that the combination of contemporary design talent and local Arita manufacturers was first tested. The resulting porcelain collections: Standard by Tenuhiro Yanagihara and Colour Porcelain by Scholten & Baijings were produced for the Arita manufacturer Momota Touen. Both collections received international acclaim and proved commercially successful. 2016/ galvanises that momentum with a bolder, more ambitious program. 2016/ hopes to fully revive the endangered industry of porcelain production in Arita and in doing so preserve a precious craft. 2016/ also hopes to inspire further local companies to use the same model of innovation, ensuring the renaissance of Aritaware is sustained.


2016/ will offer 16 different works and collections (one from each designer) that are divided into two series: the standard and edition series. The standard series will include accessible, functional porcelain items for everyday use. Standard designs make use of the most efficient and economical methods of making and subsequently the collection is affordable, bringing Aritaware to a wide and new market. The edition collection demonstrates the finest, most skillful techniques and processes of Aritaware. 2016/ editions are collectable items, designed to celeberate the substantial qualities of this centuries-old craft.

All 2016/ products stand for high quality, original, innovative porcelain production. They combine tradition with contemporary design – this is a local brand with global appeal.


Designer’s residency 2014


All 16 designers visited Arita in 2014. During their stay, the designers visited the kilns, cast-makers and porcelain clay houses, the Saga Ceramics Research Laboratory and other related cultural centers as well as local retailers and other facilities related to Aritaware in a thorough study of the techniques, history and culture of this special craft. During their immersive stay the designers took up residence in traditional homes within the town.

In an exchange of ideas, each designer gave a presentation to the potteries in order to help them better understand their individual ways of thinking and their practice characteristics. The designers and people of the Arita potteries shared meals and socialised at the local hot springs together – engaging in a rich and beneficial process of communication as they prepared to begin the process of creating a new brand together.