SIWA by Onao & Naoto Fukasawa
”Washi tape” is a popular craft item, but what does “washi” mean? It means traditional Japanese paper that is made of specific plants with long fiber. It also uses plant-based glue to set the fiber. Traditional paper making a very time-consuming, labor-intensive process, but the output is beautiful and sturdy. In case of washi tape, washi has realized multi-faceted quality that is thin (almost opaque), sturdy, sticky but peels off easily and cut with fingers.
But because it’s a very physically requiring work, less and less people chose to make paper, and the traditional industry was declining rapidly. There have been many efforts to re-imagine traditional paper so that it’s more widely accepted in today’s market. Renowned industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa teamed up with a paper making company Onao in Yamanashi, Japan and designed various items leveraging Onao’s original paper “naoron.” Naoron is made of pulp and polyolefin and finished using traditional paper technique. It’s soft and tensile, yet sturdy and water resistant.
As you may have noticed, the word “siwa” was made by flipping “shi” and “wa” of “washi,” but it also means wrinkles. Fukasawa like the nuance of “naoron” when it was wrinkled.